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Bird Life

Textile Works of Chloë Mortar
Virtual Tour
Apr 26, 2023

Artizan Gallery

May 20, 2023

Bird Life

Bird Life

Studies in Stitch

Intricate Detail

I’ve always been a birdwatcher. The theme of bird study is an ongoing obsession for me and my experiences within nature always influence my life and work. I love the everyday garden birds and their behaviour. Doves are also a frequent muse – beautiful shape and subtle colouring. Walking in the Devon countryside I listen to the bird song and have learned to separate different species, so I have an idea of what is always surrounding me. These are the birds I always come back to. Obsessing over detailed depictions of birds in stitch help me to feel almost spiritually connected to individual species. I work from photos and sketches in quite a clinical way, breaking the design down to every small, detailed element – thinking about how it will translate in stitch on the embroidery machine and with more depth and detail added later with free-motion stitch on the sewing machine. The repetitive process of stitch is a very mindful one. While my hands are working, my mind can wander on its own meditations. I love this solitary aspect of the process. I add many layers of thread – I like the beautiful, tactile sheen of rayon silks and sometimes a more matte effect from cotton.

The collage element is an unplanned, intuitive, and playful response to the embroidery. I am surrounded by baskets of old fabric, coloured silks, and lace in various grades of size down to the smallest fragments. In some of my work there is the suggestion of a natural background -but decorative and idealised. I continue to stitch into the loosely laid down collage, using the sewing machine for a sketchy effect and bedding down the surface – blending these different textured, patterned, and coloured pieces together. Sometimes I’ve included printed or stitched words and phrases from poets and nature writers and in many of these pieces I have striven to achieve a look of timeless careworn age - a kind of faded glory in muted colours- ensuring my bird stands out in distinct contrast as the star in its realm.

Chloë will be joined by fellow artist and painter Kerry Johnstone.

Exhibiting Artists