Aerial (Charcoal)Aerial (Charcoal)
The Aerial series of which this work forms part is inspired by the Avalon Marshes in Somerset, England, where the artist spent time observing the starling murmurations that occur swirling above the reed beds. These new textile artworks are also inspired by the movement of the birds themselves and the shapes formed by the clusters of reed beds that permeate the landscape.
In this piece the artist explores how material and texture can be engaged in abstract art. The texture stimulates the viewer to move in towards the piece to discover its more detailed qualities. The result is an intriguing and unexpected combination of three dimensional form, visual and textural language.
Anna Gravelle is perhaps best known for taking the traditional craft of tufting (usually associated with rug making and candlewick bedspreads) and using its potential for adding a tactile and three-dimensional character not just to fabrics but as a medium for realising artworks. She has drawn on this tradition, more often associated with creating hardy wool rugs, and made it relevant for a contemporary audience, using luxury materials – the finest wool cloth and silky threads – making it decliate andworking the technique like exquisite embroidery. The result intrigues the viewer and draws them irresistibly to touch.
Anna works on a customised tufting machine, the technique requiring her to work the fabric in reverse so she is almost ‘blind’ and having to use her skill and experience to develop her pattern. When the work is complete and Anna turns the fabric over there is a moment of revelation to see the embroidered texture beneath.
Her work therefore goes beyond intriguing textural form and engages us in the sheer skill of the maker.