Artist Catherine Gray
Dathanna m’Aislingi – The colour of my dreams
My name is Catherine Gray and I am a textile and fibre artist living in my native town of Carrick-on-Shannon. I studied in the school of Art and Design Sligo in the late 70s where I specialised in painting and fine art. In the 80s I worked with a freelance designer in New York designing and creating knitwear for the American market. There I became involved in designing patchwork quilts. On returning home I spent many years creating for the Irish and overseas markets gradually working my way towards textiles.I specialise in creating individual designs. With more than 10 years’ experience working with textiles, I have explored a variety of media and love the tactile qualities of combining these techniques together.
My technique involves layering fabric, yarn, thread, and paper onto a wool background. This may then be painted, printed and embellished with a needle felting machine and free machine stitching. I build up layers of colour and texture by twisting, slashing and fraying the fabric. The fabric is then cut up, collaged together and burned with a heat gun to expose the layers underneath. It is finished off by hand stitching with threads that vary in thickness creating more texture.
The design evolves in the process of making as I experiment and change direction in the development of each piece thus creating something new, and bringing all elements together through stitch. The mixture of random and controlled elements in my work means the finished piece may have a totally unpredictable outcome
My landscapes come from memory. I allow my surroundings to develop in my mind where the colours and textures intensify and exaggerate.
Combining fabrics and paper, which have had a former life, together with new materials has been a wonderful challenge both from the perspective of collaging materials together and the opportunity to challenge the traditional understanding of the division between the visible and the unseen.
Some of my pieces are made from treasured fabrics which hold a history of family memories. These works progress from my reflection of the fabrics owner’s feelings and their stories. This brings a whole new dimension to the work. I hope my textile pieces give a sense of joy, curiosity, and pleasure to others.