Fiona Rutherford, Textile Artist

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botanic gardens sydney

April 15, 2008






The Botanic Gardens Sydney


There isn’t necessarily an order to my writing. But this continues the theme of landscape that has fascinated me since I arrived.

So much has been happening that I haven’t kept a chronological account of my travels on line. I have to admit that I’m still happier with pen and paper where my thoughts tend to run out more freely.

I visited Sydney before and my trip to Uluru and spent most of the day with sketchbook in hand absorbed by the plant life of the Botanic Gardens. This lush green expanse filled with the weird and wonderful starts in the centre of Sydney and spreads down to the glittering water front where athletic locals do their work outs.

I am happy drawing plant life. The abstract shapes and colours of nature lend themselves to the patterns and marks I use in my tapestry designs. It’s the close up detail and textures that are intriguing. Some of the giant cacti resembled enormous caterpillars with pale leathery skins contorting into the sky. These are exotic but tough plants forged out of their landscape.



uluru – kata tjuta

April 14, 2008



Journeying into the Heart of Australia


Australia is a all about landscape and vast space.

My first site of Australia was from the plane window as a spectacular dawn split the vast horizon of a new continent. Most of Australia is uninhabited and you feel that sense of living on the edge of a vast interior. There is room to spread. You want to be outside all the time. Coming from the grey skies of Northern Europe the light is the first thing that strikes you. I arrived almost blinking into the sunlight. 

I took a three day trip to see the desert Aboriginal heartland at Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park. This is a landscape that I’ve never encountered before. I felt quite emotional arriving by plane from Sydney into this ancient, red arid land. I felt like an intruder.

The National Park is a world heritage site and is managed jointly by Anangu traditional owners and the Director of National Parks. I don’t think my photographs can capture the magnificence and scale of this place. It has immense cultural significance for Aboriginal people. Every stone, crevice and cave holds a story that tells of the lives of the people who have inhabited this place for thousands of years.

On my last morning I walked at dawn though the Valley of the Winds at Kata Tjuta. There was no-one else around but me in this vast landscape that looked out on to what seemed like the infinite horizon of Western Australia. A unique experience in a landscape that demands respect.

My sketch book has started to fill up. I can now understand the colours of Aboriginal art – the black,terracotta, sand and white are the colours of this unforgiving land.

the textile department at A.N.U.




The Textile Department

The Art Department at A.N. U. is a very fine old white art deco building ( as you can see from the photograph). It has a very relaxed atmosphere and the interior courtyards are lined with trees providing dappled shade where students can work, rest and play. It’s the holiday break now so it is particularly peaceful. The sun is shining and it’s one of those days when I’m feeling very content that I chose the creative path.

In spite of the absence of students the Textile Department is working hard in preparation for the Symposium at the end of the month. The Foyer Gallery (see above) is filled with beautiful Lao textiles that Valerie has brought back from her travels. It’s lovely to see this shimmering display spilling out from the Textile Dept. and through the corridors. There will be a catalogue available on  the Lao textiles – “Lao Tapestry: Weaving Dreams and Aspirations” at the Symposium.

The Textile Dept. is very welcoming of visiting artists. Maggie Henton spent a six week residency here. She is currently back in Australia about to start another residency – can’t remember where. I’l come back on that one. She has work in a group exhibition currently showing at the Art Gallery of New South Wales Research Library – “Searching for Asphodels”.
www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au

The giant crochet covering one of the outside walls is by Sophie Henton another visiting British textile artists. Like a giant string vest the bright colours are joyful and witty bending around the outside wall of the Art School.



  


uluru – kata tjuta

April 13, 2008



Journeying into the Heart of Australia


Australia is a all about landscape and vast space.

My first site of Australia was from the plane window as a spectacular dawn split the vast horizon of a new continent. Most of Australia is uninhabited and you feel that sense of living on the edge of a vast interior. There is room to spread. You want to be outside all the time. Coming from the grey skies of Northern Europe the light is the first thing that strikes you. I arrived almost blinking into the sunlight. 

I took a three day trip to see the desert Aboriginal heartland at Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park. This is a landscape that I’ve never encountered before. I felt quite emotional arriving by plane from Sydney into this ancient, red arid land. I felt like an intruder.

The National Park is a world heritage site and is managed jointly by Anangu traditional owners and the Director of National Parks. I don’t think my photographs can capture the magnificence and scale of this place. It has immense cultural significance for Aboriginal people. Every stone, crevice and cave holds a story that tells of the lives of the people who have inhabited this place for thousands of years.

On my last morning I walked at dawn though the Valley of the Winds at Kata Tjuta. There was no-one else around but me in this vast landscape that looked out on to what seemed like the infinite horizon of Western Australia. A unique experience in a landscape that demands respect.

My sketch book has started to fill up. I can now understand the colours of Aboriginal art – the black,terracotta, sand and white are the colours of this unforgiving land.

the textile department at A.N.U.




The Textile Department

The Art Department at A.N. U. is a very fine old white art deco building ( as you can see from the photograph). It has a very relaxed atmosphere and the interior courtyards are lined with trees providing dappled shade where students can work, rest and play. It’s the holiday break now so it is particularly peaceful. The sun is shining and it’s one of those days when I’m feeling very content that I chose the creative path.

In spite of the absence of students the Textile Department is working hard in preparation for the Symposium at the end of the month. The Foyer Gallery (see above) is filled with beautiful Lao textiles that Valerie has brought back from her travels. It’s lovely to see this shimmering display spilling out from the Textile Dept. and through the corridors. There will be a catalogue available on  the Lao textiles – “Lao Tapestry: Weaving Dreams and Aspirations” at the Symposium.

The Textile Dept. is very welcoming of visiting artists. Maggie Henton spent a six week residency here. She is currently back in Australia about to start another residency – can’t remember where. I’l come back on that one. She has work in a group exhibition currently showing at the Art Gallery of New South Wales Research Library – “Searching for Asphodels”.
www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au

The giant crochet covering one of the outside walls is by Sophie Henton another visiting British textile artists. Like a giant string vest the bright colours are joyful and witty bending around the outside wall of the Art School.