Sunday, 9 May 2010

Guest: Cathy Cullis

Around this time last year I was lucky enough to receive one of Cathy Cullis's art dolls as a gift but, if you're new to her work then allow me to pay the gift forward by introducing you to the wonderful work of Cathy Cullis:

I love to bring new ideas to life. I like the surprises and chance of improvisation. Planning too strictly just does not appeal to me. So, how do you improvise with a sewing machine, thread, fabric? This to many might feel a bit restricting. But take away the need to stitch a directly straight line and things loosen up. Working in free motion embroidery, I’m able to use my sewing machine as a drawing tool. Infact, I think I draw best with a sewing machine - better than a pencil, perhaps.

'Love and Embroidery' I’m obsessed with dreams, poets, Romantics. Gothic, Medieval, Elizabethan, Victoriana.... leaps and swirling dances through history. But mine is a made-up Romantic kind of dreaming, it’s a very personal reinventing of what it might be to be Elsewhere.....

Many of my stitched works are intensely detailed with tiny faces, spider web complexity of lines, swirls and sensations.

'Do not forget to Dream (wake up)'

My ‘Romantics’ series explores my obsessions with a more pared-down feel. I want to approach drawing complete figures using different tensions and make use of the ‘wrong’ or bobbin side of stitching. My ‘Romantics’ are quite storybook, folk naive in style.

Courtier is an example of how the ‘wrong’ side can make a man. He is a suggested figure with his ruffle keeping his head up. His head is just about to slip away, escape from the edge of the fabric.

I like this tension. I stitched him fast, as I tend to stitch mostly everything, and this means I never really get to see what I am stitching until I stop. It’s like: I’ll tell you a story and when I get to the end I’ll stop stitching. And then I’ll see.

Most of my figures are female or androgynous, but I feel Courtier is very much a chap. He has a slight angular feel that is a little different. He’s quite primitive, dark-eyed and will always be hard to pin down.

As far as considering my own work goes, I have a very high rejection rate. Such is life. Working with improvisation and speed is a bit of a gamble. If I have an idea I’ll keep stitching and make several attempts, sometimes.

'3 Tiny Figures' What I like about this Courtier piece is that he is quite small and I can hold him in my hand. I like small, intense works. Having said that, I have just started on a new ‘epic’ piece of stitch work that will take a few weeks and many hours to complete. I wonder if I will be swayed toward making bigger pieces in the future, but my hunch is I’ll always enjoy creating these curious smaller figures.

Thank you Cathy. It's an honour to have you here.
  • To keep up-to-date with Cathy then visit her blog
  • To purchase one of Cathy's for current pieces you can visit her online store.
  • and her Flickr Gallery will give you an insight into her previous works.

p.s: If you're one of the people with whom I'm sharing an anniversary with this month and you're stuck for a gift .... you could always pay a visit to Cathy's store too... I'm just saying ... [don't panic Kirsty - I didn't mean you!].


A rambling rose said...

I love Cathy's work and she so deserves this great post about her work

Natasha said...

Gorgeous work, so delicate!

Clair said...

Never seen Cathy's work before, but will definitely be checking out her blog and flickr. Love.

Jasmine said...

Beautiful! Extraordinary :)

The Lone Dollier said...

Wow, these are great!


kimberly.racic said...

I'm a huge fan of Cathy's work...and a fan of her FB page :-)

So happy to see this piece and to learn more about her process.

I was stunned to learn that she works quickly while making the blocks. Fascinating, truly!

nina said...

i've collected cathy's incredible work for at least two years now - maybe three, who's counting? - and i continue to be amazed every time i see something new that she has created. it literally makes me ache, i'm so taken with what she does. there is an emotion - an actual feeling - that wells up when gazing at her work. and, she happens to be a sweetheart as well. thank you for featuring her here on your blog, it was a lovely interview!

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