the fabric of life meet the artists

The Fabric of Life is a group exhibition of makers and creatives who express themselves artistically through tapestry, weaving, basketry, beading, sewing, embroidery, felting, knitting and constructing new forms from natural materials. Artists who use traditional craft and art skills, often passed down through family generations to create fresh shapes, dimensions and textures reflecting beauty, functionality, diversity, history and cultural creativity. These female makers are from varied cultural backgrounds and celebrate the potential for textiles to bring cultural diversity to the forefront in the contemporary art space.

Friday May 31st to Sunday June 23rd, 2019


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Soraya Abidin is a bi-cultural textile artist born in Australia whose work is born from a love of the primitive and spiritual practices within her Malay heritage. Self-taught techniques of quilting and embroidery are used to create oversized appliqués using vintage Asian silks collected from Malaysia and antique, estate and bequeathed quilting sources in Australia. Her art has a strong link to her bi-cultural identity and is inspired by the primitive nature of Malay cultural crafts which has evolved into raw raffia hand embroidery in her work, paired with British quilt and vintage Asian materials to create the oversized wall appliqués.


Suzanne Davey focuses on materiality and the sense of touch to explore the way humans interact with the spaces they inhabit, especially the natural world. Her creative practice explores mixed media installation and sculpture, with fragility at the core of her art. The imperfections of being human are central to Davey’s creative process.

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Tracey Trinder is a Sydney based artist and ceramicist who has always loved textiles. Having collected thousands of men’s ties, Tracey Trinder has given these masculine symbols of corporate life a new start as stunning, earth friendly, feminine fashion pieces. Growing up with an incredibly creative mother and grandmother, Tracey started out with needles and thread, a big biscuit tin full of buttons and all the lace and trimmings she wanted. Tracey says her work is designed to be truly unique and make the wearer feel special. Pieces that say “this is who I am” or “this is how I'm feeling”.


Gill Brooks is a fibre artist and felt-maker who runs her own studio, Feltwilde. Brooks creates her pieces using Australian Merino wool and fabrics from places like thrift stores. Brooks’ experimentation with felting has resulted in a unique hybrid textile that has an endless array of textures, patterns, and design possibilities. It is this—and felt’s low environmental impact—that retains her inspiration and keeps her creating the ultimate eco-chic fashion that produces very little waste. 

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Debra Beale comes from the Palawa/Yorta Yorta and Gamilaraay/Wonnarua Nation. Her artwork chronicles her Aboriginal practices, with a focus on heritage, family, and community. Acknowledging the past while moving toward the future, Beale celebrates this journey with song, dance, and laughter. Beale was a finalist in the 2009 NSW Indigenous Parliament Art Awards. 


Caitlin Johnston has been interested in creating art since a young age. Johnston taught herself to tapestry weave on her own loom and is continually inspired by a variety of natural textures and colour palettes.

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Nicole Robins creates basketry and fibre art that reflects on different areas in her life. Having spent her youth in Latin America, she is drawn to the way that art can relate closely to people’s lives—especially women’s. Her practice centres around feminist principles and a love of the natural world. Robins draws inspiration from the way people live and how they give their environment beauty and meaning. 


Niki McDonald makes urban faces, spaces, and attitudes permanent in wool. McDonald is inspired by the collision of her ephemeral subject matter and mechanical medium, stitching to mimic the pixilation of digital work and spray paint. She uses the tools and techniques of domesticity for urban sass and sustained self-expression.

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Kylie Walsh takes the tactile and pliable medium of yarn and transforms it into a taut, bold form to achieve a graphic, painterly effect. Through the development of a wrapping technique, Walsh creates work dominated by bright colours and geometric patterns. She tends to create work in series, as it is the collective assembly of her work where infinite possibilities for arrangement, tessellations, and patterns emerge.


Julie Nicholson works exclusively with Australian and Italian wools, as well as feathers, twine, and pom-poms. She blends bright and earthy colours that spill into strands and immaculate lines. This combination results in tapestries that burst with movement and are hung on local driftwood that she finds. 

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Rachel Hine is a tapestry artist from Geelong and has worked as a professional weaver that has exhibited locally and internationally. She is most known for her whimsical, mysterious, and intimate portraits of women. Her work, which is miniature in size, allows for the use of precious vintage threads that possess a level of warmth, sophistication, and complexity.


Becky Williams is a mixed media textile artist with a passion for shibori, feltmaking, printing, dyeing, and free machine embroidery. Originally from Cornwall, England, Williams moved to Manly four years ago and now runs specialised textile workshops. Her work has been exhibited locally and internationally.

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Emma Peters is passionate about creative communities and making creativity accessible. Through her textiles, Peters studies our relationship with materials through the lens of narrative, identity, memory, place, and connection. She uses an expansive variety of colour, pattern, and texture, which challenges the medium and maximises her art’s potential in being both durable and sustainable.


The Fabric of Life will also showcase a selection of work from Ni-Van traditional weavers, including Regina Lulu and Leimok Peters