Lichen wrap 2009
Lichen wrap detail
Morphology - the study of the form or shape of an organism or part thereof
It is amazing how much fungi and lichen decorates our world, even in the city and suburbs. Wildly coloured bracket fungi, tiny and large mushrooms, strangely textured balls and foul-smelling projections are the more exotic examples, but it is the humble everyday lichen that covers trees, rocks and buildings in our every day world that are some of the most fascinating. Sometimes there are only one or two, sometimes a tree branch or rock may be entirely cloaked in them, appearing almost consumed by lichen. Zooming in on them reveals an amazing miniature landscape of strange cup-like shapes, little balls, spikes, beautiful ruffles and frills. It is these last qualities that drove the transition to wearable forms / sculptures.
Felt offered the perfect medium for this purpose – I could control the thickness to what was required in each piece, add in extra textural elements, dye, mould and shape as desired. Silk organza also features, as it is also able to hold stitched or steamed shape. This exhibition has been a journey of discovery for me, as I have experimented with different shibori techniques, resist methods in felting, new dye processes, new equipment and new designs, and have enjoyed the problem-solving that comes with each. It has been an exciting exploration, moving forward from my free-motion embroidery beginnings.
To have had the freedom to just play, with no real restrictions of function or purpose had been truly valuable. It has allowed me to let my imagination run free, and it has run into some pretty wild corners. I now face the challenge of coaxing it back for a spell in order to channel what has been learned into new directions. Fungi and lichen, however, will remain a rich source of inspiration for my work.