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Spirits in the Sky: Nicola Henry

January 27, 2017
Timeless Textiles - Centre of fibre artisans

'Spirits in the Sky' exhibition: Nicola Henley



Gull Vortex



You're invited to: Spirits of the Sky soar in new exhibition

The movement of birds in the environment is hauntingly captured in Spirits of the Sky, a new exhibition opening at Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles Gallery in February.

Artist Nicola Henley drew inspiration for the soaring images in her Spirits of the Sky exhibition from studying birds and their flight, with particular reference to the sky, air currents and changing light in different locations.

Many of the exhibition pieces derive from time she spent at an artists’ retreat, Cill Rialaig in County Kerry, Ireland. The converted crofters’ cottages are perched on the edge of a rocky, heather-covered peninsular, which juts out into the Atlantic sea, offering unique artists’ studios where sky and sea meet.


Crows Blow

“This wild setting offered me time to sketch the ever-present gulls, soaring over a wide stretch of the Atlantic, backed by the rugged landscape,” Nicola said. “The area has a humbling and majestic beauty. When I’m there I reflect on the spiritual life of the ancient monks who spent periods in the early centuries, living in extreme, isolated conditions on the nearby Skellig Islands, which dominate the horizon as they rise dramatically out of the sea, eight miles off shore.”

The works in Spirits of the Sky were also influenced by Nicola’s visits to Dublin’s National Gallery, to study William Turner’s watercolours.

Curlews in the Mist 11


“His mastery of colour and brush marks, suggesting the changing light over seascapes and mountains, fill me with inspiration,” she said. “Attempting to create these textures with dyes and pigments on fabric is a challenge!”

Nicola has effectively captured Turner’s sense of scale and freedom with hints of detail by repeatedly printing, painting and stitching the surface, washing, steaming and ironing, to build multiple subtle layers, representing birds moving in their natural environment…like Spirits of the Sky.

Spirits of the Sky exhibitions runs from 15 February until 12 March, with the opening at 6-8pm on 16 February 2017.


Discover the joy of working with colour through the medium of screen-print and improve your design eye by finding out what works and why in terms of colour and composition. Inspiration from nature will be our source, we will explore the use of screen-print as a means of self-expression and develop your style with some really useful guidelines to help you create beautiful fabrics as

artworks or for functional use.
 There will also be an
option to use embroidery or stitch for anyone wishing to do so.

Dates: 9.30 am – 4.30 pm 18/19/20 February 2017

Cost: $460 (GST inclusive) including a delicious morning tea and lunch

Venue: Timeless Textiles Gallery

Estimated material fee ($40) payable to the artist





Coth Inc. A Thin Line...

January 26, 2017

Cloth Inc. A Thin Line

East Gippsland Art Gallery is proud to present A Thin Line, on show from 2nd February until 4th March. Featuring the works of four artists Melanie Hill, Deb McArdle, Glenys Mann and Nonie Sutcliffe. Collectively known as Cloth Inc, these four women work with fabric and stitch.

Although having known each other for around 15 years through workshops and forums, it wasn’t until 2015 whilst travelling in a car to a fibre textile show in Wangaratta that they decided to form an exhibition group called Cloth Inc.

Glenys Mann, is described affectionately by fellow exhibitor Nonie Sutcliffe as ‘the glue that binds Cloth Inc. together’. She is regarded as a pioneer of fibre art in Australia and founded Fibre Arts Australia which she has run for 25 years. Running several textile conferences a year in Ballarat and Sale, bringing international artists to the Australian fibre art community.

Although all women are geographically distanced from one another (Melbourne, Callignee, and Ballarat) the bond between them is unique and strong. They hold regular get-togethers which they call gatherings, and when together they always stitch. Nonie Sutcliffe sits and works on her 4 metre long ‘Listening Cloth’. She enjoys the conversation, the repetitive nature of stitch and the use of line in her work. All four women have a passion for textiles, particularly the use of pre-loved fabric. Deb McArdle uses antique lace and vintage damask table cloths as a canvas for her meditative stitch. Melanie Hill embroiders vintage Sanderson fabric and re-purposes antique furniture into works of art. And Glenys Mann uses Boro cloth, old Japanese fabric that has been mended and re-mended.

Glenys Mann explains that all four women ‘have a need to make’. The artists don’t sit at sewing machines, instead choosing to hand stitch. Embracing the fabric, the needle and the thread. They call it Lap Work and Glenys describes this process as ‘meditative’. ‘It is the softest and most giving technique any artist could want. It brings you into yourself. It’s like an Opera’.

Glenys, Nonie, Melanie and Deb have an enthusiasm and love for their work that is profound. Artist’s who will never tire of the medium they work in. This is an exhibition not to be missed.

A Thin Line runs from 2 February until 4 March with the opening reception on Saturday 4th 12pm – 2pm at the East Gippsland Art Gallery, Bairnsdale. All are welcome and entry is free


Glenys Mann Boro: Red Mend(detail)

Deb McArdle Linear 1

Nonie Sutcliffe Listening cloth (detail)

Time for a blog.....or is it a Magazine?

January 2, 2017

Seems that when Nonie and I get together the juices flow as to what else we can bring to the Fibre Arts arena.

A Blog!!!

Well not just any kind of blog but a type of "magazine"!

These blogs will tell the stories of the fibre/textile artists that are a part of our Fibre Arts world or simply stories about what exhibitions will be coming up. the coming year there will be random stories and events coming your way from the Fibre Arts Blog...well let's call it a 'magazine', shall we?


 Claire Wellesley-Smith...Slow Stitching


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