Artists Interview

We hope you have enjoyed our recent artists interviews, we are now on week five with Ruth Issett.

Ruth Issett


Are the ideas or themes for this project on going or are they new ?
The ideas that are used in my chapter are a small part of an on going conversation that I am having with myself about the quality of colour that I make and how I use it. Individual colours on their own or in their raw state, maybe as dyes, have distinct characteristics. For instance, differences in yellows are very visible as they quickly migrate towards light greens or a deeper yellowy orange. When selecting a blue palette, there are countless distinct blues to choose from such as turquoise, cobalt, indigo or ultramarine. The application of a wet colour is visually different to the dry colour but as your eye becomes trained, your memory recalls the variations in the different hue. Changes in surface will give further variations, using different papers, various media and type of application.  Once the ingredients, papers and fabrics are coloured, further visual challenges present themselves. The actual quality of these materials whether robust, delicate, transparent or opaque is important and become an important part of careful selection. The combining of differing surfaces as well as proportion and process add even more challenges. So there is plenty to keep exploring, it is enthralling and invigorating.

What is your favourite part of the creative process?
The sampling is the undoubtedly the most absorbing aspect of working with textiles and colour. As I tend to create my colour by using a variety of dyeing, painting and printing techniques, where fibres and weaves play an important aspect of the final colour and surface. I am fascinated by exploring specific areas of colour either with dye or with printed colour. I make collections of fabrics by dyeing and printing, selecting fabrics for their specific qualities and acceptance of the dye. I select colour combinations carefully, studying the strength of each colour and the proportional mixtures.  I also spend time painting small trials of colour mixtures on papers, to understand the character of each colour and how they combine together. I explore and evaluate how the colour responds to the different surfaces, fibres and weaves. All these explorations become the ingredients for various series of work, where combinations are explored, proportions altered, and surfaces worked in different manners. The use of constructional methods, either by layering fabrics or the addition of surface stitch is a completely different activity.  Compared with the use of liquid colour, where processes tend to demand an element of speed, combining and arranging surfaces is a much slower and a more contemplative process. Specific combinations are selected, different fabric surfaces from rough coarse linen layered with fine silk organza or soft muted chiffon or crisp cotton organdie, create mouth watering colour sensations. Observing the differing strengths of these particular coloured fabrics is an important ingredient, but once laid in position, the edges, the density and surface become important as well.  To see how the light will change it, how it will alter once placed next to contrasting colour, or when surrounded by that colour is yet another consideration. This research and sampling is endless, exciting and very enriching.

Studio with a view

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