Barbara Pritchard

habitat

While studying for the Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts in 2017, I realised that a great deal of my heart in artwork was embedded in textiles.

barbarapritchard.com
'Habitat 4' eco dyed silk textiles. 90cm x 90cm

In the 1970’s I spun, dyed wool with natural dyes, knitted, crocheted, and wove on looms, garments and wall hangings. But it was the natural dyes that totally fascinated me.

The seemingly magical transformation of colour with purely natural materials, leaves, bark, and flowers that attracted the artist within me.  Raw fleece was easy to source, and Spinners and Weaver groups were popping up in townships everywhere in Australia. My love of wool fibre stemmed from an early childhood memory of a short stay on a sheep station in Lara where at 7 years of age I came across raw greasy wool and remember washing it and wanting desperately to make something out of it. Some distant DNA memory stirred perhaps.

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'Habitat 3' eco printed silk textiles. 65cm x 80cm

When I happened to hear an interview on the ABC with India Flint, an Australian artist, poet, and adventurer as well as the “mother of the eco print”, it awakened again the longing to work with natural fibre and materials once more.

The results were a body of work focussed on using upcycled eco printed silk scraps from garments I had made over the years through my business Alchemy of Colour. The material is woven, tied, dyed, stiffened, and framed with various traditional and contemporary methods some of which are reminiscent of the Japanese aesthetic of Shibui, that of simple, subtle, unobtrusive beauty.

Habitat 5. ecoprinted silk 90cm x 90cm
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'Habitat 2' eco printed, stiffened silk textiles 55cm x 55 cm x 20cm
Habitat 6 Ecoprinted stiffened silk 90cm x 90cm

‘I continue to expand and develop and explore further dynamic methods into the initial concept of ‘Habitat’ being mindful of the need for a continued respect of the ethos of recycle, upcycle, and limiting the use of precious resources.’

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We honour our First Nations people by fostering a shared sense of belonging for all Australians and we acknowledge the traditional custodians, Elders and knowledge Keepers of the land on which we live and work.

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