material matters

December 12, 2018

I’m quite drawn to the work of Aussie artist, Sally Blake –– mostly because I find her creations so strange and ethereal. There are baskets woven from copper wire, pomegranate dyed wool, silk and hemp and beautiful wall hangings constructed from copper and aluminium wire. Some of her processes sound painstaking; “The Fire Drawings combine marks made from the ash of eucalyptus destroyed by fire with patiently delivered burns that penetrate the picture surface. The ash represents the aspect of fire that is uncontrollable which reduces everything in its path, and the burns suggest the aspect of fire which can be contained. Images are created as the paper is destroyed, revealing the tension between fire’s destructive capacity and its potential for creating the conditions for renewal.” What I find impressive is how many techniques –– dyeing, basketry, weaving, stitching and piecing –– Blake combines in her work. And the way the artist mixes natural materials with man made ones to achieve both balance and tension.

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