I have really been drawn to the work of Bobby Britnell for quite a long time. I was lucky to go to a lecture Bobby gave at the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show in 2015. I love her drawing works and the way she uses negative and positive space in her textile work. Her use of mixed media is also interesting(e.g.gesso) and her machine stitching (free form zigzag) approach in some pieces.
Bobby is a member of the Textile Study Group and the exhibiting group Through our Hands. I noted that in an interview with the Textile Artist (www.textileartist.org/bobby-britnell-explorations-bark-cloth) she indicated that she uses sketchbooks and finds them invaluable as a means of sorting out thought processes, investigating technique and testing ideas. She also comments that she does not mind if the pages are messy or unfinished. Her latest work seems more centred on bark cloth from Uganda and she has made some beautiful works with the rather thickish textured cloth. (I bought a small piece after her Lecture).
Bobby listed her major influences in the interview with Textile Artist as Cecily Sash a South Africa, David Tress’ expressive landscapes and I found a reference to the inspiration she gains from the work of artist Ben Nicholson. She maintains that as textile artists we should be looking at other forms of art. I agree we should look widely at other art and have been attending art galleries and using the internet to find painters, sculptors and basket makers. I find this broadens my horizon and encourages me to look closely at colour, textures, lines and shapes in these other art forms.
As an aside Barkcloth is called different names in the Pacific and SE Asia including Tapa Cloth in the Pacific and there are some wonderful art pieces made by various Pacific peoples. I have seen tapa cloth used to make fantastic dresses with machine embroidery on display in Wellington NZ some years ago.
I have not tried to reproduce photographs of Bobby Britnell’s work but have a Pinterest page.
Pinterest: Bobby Britnell https://au.pinterest.com/chocflower/bobby-britnell/
References: Bobby Britnell, 2013, Stitched Textiles: Flowers, Search Press Ltd, Kent