Joy Harvey

Textiles

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Although art was a passion throughout my school years in New Zealand, I did not pursue developing those skills further until I was in my late 20’s! Enrolment in an Access course with Plymouth School of Art (Devon, UK) introduced me to textiles as a medium, and in due course, Contemporary Reverse Applique as a technique. The first year of an Open College of The Arts course followed, as did pregnancy, baby and an international relocation!

Artistic endeavours were kept on hold until my mid 30’s when I enrolled in a week long course organised by The Australian Forum for Textile Arts. Under the tutelage of Susan Schapira I rekindled a fascination with Contemporary Reverse Applique technique. Although I have learnt other textile art techniques, through a variety of courses, I have chosen to focus on Contemporary Reverse Applique as the one in which I want to work and explore more fully.

Contemporary Reverse Applique involves the process of sandwiching a number of fabrics together using a sewn design. Individual layers are then cut away to reveal the desired fabric choice for each section of the design. The topmost layer provides the overall outline. Embellishing with beads, embroidery, braids & the manipulating of the fabric itself, further enhance the overall effect.

This is a variant of the technique used by the Cuna Indians of San Blas, South America, where, under oppression by invading forces, they kept their history & their stories alive, by sewing illustrative designs onto the bodices of their clothing. Whilst they handstitch their Reverse Applique, I use a machine stitched outline for my designs.

The choice to pursue textiles as a medium has been inspired by travels in Europe, and in particular the wall hangings, banners and tapestries lining the walls of ancient homes and castles. I am enamoured with the idea of clothing walls in textile art!

I like to work to a theme, with inspiration coming from a range of sources. I also aim for each piece to connect with some meaning, symbol or story. My current work is inspired by the city in which I live; Adelaide! It is a truth that we take our familiar surroundings for granted & seek out the ‘exotic’ elsewhere, without really LOOKING at the beauty we are surrounded by. I seek to address this issue, by producing work that is intriguing, impacting & ‘exotic’, yet inspired by everyday life here in Adelaide! Architecture & windows have been a regular source of inspiration & when I need a little dabble in nature…the Botanic Gardens are always generous with ideas!

Now in my late 40’s (!), I am a current member of the Tarts Collective, Fibre Artists Network and The Royal Society of Arts. I am honoured to have my work currently clothing walls in England, USA, Hong Kong, Denmark, New Zealand and Australia.

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