The glorious uncertainty of making
November 12 2014
Those who engage in craft practice, serve a long apprenticeship, not only to process and technique but also to materials. Actually it’s an apprenticeship that never ends as makers embark on a continuing journey of exploration and in many cases, a supreme dedication to a particular medium such as glass, wood or clay.
Nicola Brown’s commitment is to textiles and her wraps, scarves, cushions and other wearable and home wear pieces use a variety of materials including felt, silk and wool. In creating her work, Nicola employs natural printing techniques which sees her not only engage with textiles, but also with the myriad of leaves, skins, petals and other materials used to create her wonderfully rich palate of colours. I recently visited her studio in Co Carlow and had the opportunity to experience part of the making process, as new wraps and scarves emerged from their steaming cauldron. Just like a potter opening a kiln, these naturally printed textiles were unwrapped and the maker learned something new about a material or a process and so the apprenticeship and learning curve continues. As the years go by, valuable information is recorded and skills are honed but there always remains that little element of chance and surprise, which, for me, is part of what makes this work so special.