The last few months have been largely confined to an area within a 45-minute drive of Denver, and I don’t venture far. Compared to last year, when I was exploring the wilds of West Wales, I feel very much like my wings have been clipped!
A bright light in the midst of all of this stasis is building connections with artists worldwide. Through the glory of social media and Zoom, I have had the chance to get to know a number of artists who live in many far-flung places. This group of artists is the brain child of the artist Philippa Sibert, whom I had the pleasure to get to know last year during my travels to the United Kingdom. She is based in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and I reached out to her due to my interest in her work with botanical eco-printing and textiles. Not long after our meeting, she connected a group of like-minded artists together in the hopes that we could all meet up in Wales in 2020. Sadly, the plans were dashed due to the global pandemic, and our passports becoming about as useful as tea cozies. (Actually, a tea cozy is far more useful than a passport, seeing as it at least has a function!) Instead, we connected over a Facebook group and bi-monthly Zoom meetings, and traded found and handmade papers and fabrics with one another by mail. Philippa started calling us the “Seed Sisters,” as we are planting the seeds of art and international collaboration.
Here is a bit of information about each artist in our group. I hope you enjoy learning about everyone!
Philippa Sibert is a painter, printmaker and textile artist. Her work explores her physical and emotional engagement with the natural world. Growing up in Zimbabwe until the age of 11, after which she returned to the U.K., she eventually made her way to rural Wales, settling in Pembrokeshire. She says of her work:
I like to think of myself as a creative explorer. My studio becomes my laboratory where I test out new ideas. These evolve and transmute into images and resonate with deeply held memories and experiences about ‘place’, whether imagined or real. My main driving force lies within ‘potential’ and ‘possibility’. I am always seeking out new ways to interpret my vast reservoir of stored imagery, via mark making, the use of colour and gesture, the serendipitous.
Her recent work explores slow stitching, botanical eco-prints, paper sculpture and drawing. Learn more about her at http://www.philippa-sibert-art.com/.
Ann Stephens is an artist and art educator based in southwest France, though she is originally from the U.K. as well. After many years of working as an art educator and public art facilitator, she moved to France to fully immerse herself in her art. This allowed her more freedom and the opportunity to explore new media in depth. Of her process, she says:
Moving to France has enabled me to explore my own creativity in greater depth and to more fully develop my love of textiles. Living as I do in rural South West France, I am surrounded and inspired by the natural and architectural beauty of the region. Over the past five years my work has evolved from the painted surface into a more general interest in fibers, threads, fabrics and natural dyes. I am always trying to push my own creative boundaries, and to experiment with new ideas, methods, and combinations. I have a particular love for the re-purposing of old textiles and materials in my work.
She leads workshops on textile art processes and exhibits internationally. Learn more about her at https://www.annstephens.co.uk/.
Ingrid Bell is a multi-media artist and psychotherapist based in Scotland. Her work is interconnected with her therapy practice, and she explores ambiguity, loss and cultural identity in prints, installations, fiber and textile. Describing the connection between her therapy practice and her work, she says:
I had been trying to keep my art practice and my psychotherapeutic practice independent of each other, mainly to separate my art work from being considered as an only inward looking process without consideration of the other, as if the viewer were of no consequence. Although my art image making does indeed draw on the personal, it is also to be shared with an audience /viewer as a contribution and connection of shared human experience.
Learn more about Ingrid’s multi-facted work at https://www.ingridbell.co.uk/.
Makiko Berry is an artist and art educator based in Kyoto, Japan, working in painting, printmaking and drawing techniques. She graduated from Seian University of Art and Design in 1998. In 1999, she started to work for the Asian Art Conservation Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY, USA)In 2012 she received a grand prix of the 4th Kyoto New Japanese Style Painting Exhibition. She has started art classes called “Japanese style painting class” for adults and “Creative time” for people with handicap and herself to share the space and ideas. In 2016, she received an award of excellence at Geibunkyo-ten exhibition. Her work was most recently exhibited at the Murata Gallery in Kyoto. Of the work on display, she explained:
Now that the world has changed drastically, I think the role of art is very important. Now I just want to draw a relieving work.
Follow her on Instagram at @berrymakiko.
Viv Davy is a textile artist and sculptor based in New Zealand. She pulls inspiration from the natural world both conceptually and as physical materials. She works with handlooms, weaving, stitching, knitting and other techniques to “resonate with the rhythms and patterns of the natural world.” Describing a body of work from 2018, she writes:
Although we think of our days as seperate identities, they are all holistically intertwined and engaged with each other. Like a series of ripples, the decisions and actions of each day impact on those of the subsequent days. The maintenance of the home in the domestic everyday is an incrementally accumulative process. Keeping the home intact is a sensitive task, the structure of its being is fragile and ethereal. Conscious choices are continuously made to maintain this “preciousness”.
You can learn more about her at https://www.taranakiartstrail.co.nz/artists/viv-davy/.