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Canberra Region Feltmakers

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Keynote speakers

Sense of Place – Helen MacRitchie

Helen MacRitchie is a textile artist based in the United Kingdom and exhibiting in the United Kingdom and Sydney, Australia.

Helen’s work focusses upon the detail found in nature and science. Her abstract designs often employ motif creation that develops from drawing and mark making. She generally bases her work on wet felted wool, adding other fibres with free machine embroidery to create layered textural surfaces. Natural dyeing of the fibres gives a sense of personal time and place to her work.

Recurrent themes are personal interactions with nature, both present and ancestral links to the landscape and local culture, and nature’s links to drug therapy of medical conditions. Her examination of home, belonging and sense of place was the subject of her recent solo exhibition Topophilia at Gallery76, Sydney.

Helen graduated originally as a pharmacist, working in industrial research in the UK and completing a PhD in pharmaceutics. Relocation abroad in 2000 led her down a different career path and into textiles. While in Switzerland and Australia, she studied for a London City and Guilds Diploma in Embroidery by correspondence. Finding her passion in this field, Helen has developed her practice in both the UK and Australia over the last 15 years.

In addition to her solo presentations, Helen currently exhibits with Untethered Fibre Artists in Australia, and in the UK with Prism Textiles and seam Collective.

See more information about Helen MacRitchie.

Image: Wrapped Felt (photo provided by Helen MacRitchie)

Thinking Through Making - Sharon Peoples

Sharon Peoples has worked as an artist in Canberra for over 20 years. In the last fifteen years she has been constructing machine embroidered textiles using soluble fabric to make lace-like structures. These structures are the vehicle for the narratives of life’s complexities.

Sharon exhibits nationally and internationally as well as taking on commissioned work. She has had 10 solo exhibitions since 2010, the most recent was Messenger From the Garden (Timeless Textiles, Newcastle). She has also participated in over 20 group exhibitions – the highlights being Surface and Depth (at the Palazzo Velli Expo Rome 2021) and Stitched Art is Art with SEW (Society for Embroidered Work) at the Clerkenwell Gallery, London (2019); as well as the Art Textiles Biennale (2021) at East Gippsland Art Gallery.

Sharon’s work has been collected by national (National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia and Parliament House Collection) and state institutions. In 2020 and again in 2021 Sharon was featured as one of the top 100 international contemporary textile artists by the art textiles social media expert The TextileCurator.

As well as sharing her extraordinary work, at Convergence Sharon will be discussing strategies for thinking creatively that can be applied to every felt maker’s work.

See more information about Sharon Peoples.

Image: photo provided by Sharon Peoples

Designing With Nature – Julie Ryder

Julie Ryder is a Canberra-based textile designer who has gained international recognition for her work. Her hybrid practice combines her knowledge of science with her love of textiles, including use of natural materials for dyes, printing and inspiration. She uses nature as both muse and co-collaborator.

Julie has taught in tertiary institutions, community organizations and workshops for nearly 30 years and has been the recipient of many awards, grants, commissions and residencies.  Her work is included in the collections of the NGA, NGV, NMA, MAAS, AGSA, BRAG, CSIRO, ANBG, Tamworth Regional Gallery, Megalo Archives, RMIT Archives.

See more information about Julie Ryder.

Images: Aranda (left), Scarf (right). Photos provided by Julie Ryder.

Canberra Region Feltmakers Inc

Meetings:  Scout Hall, Kett Street Kambah, ACT

(next door to The Burns Club)

Post:  PO Box 455 Curtin ACT 2605

ABN: 16 718 242 055

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