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The 10th ‘From Lausanne to Beijing’ International Fiber Art Exhibition & Symposium
Beijing 2018, Selected artist and speaker
So Fine

National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, 2018


So Fine Artist’s Statement

While studying at Edinburgh College of Art, I discovered my passion for woven tapestry. It allows me to combine my love of art and textiles

Tapestry takes time to weave, but rather than this being a burden, it allows me to enter a space where I am completely connected to the work. This happens physically as my hands work with bobbins and yarn, swiftly moving them between the vertical warps and beating down the weft to form the dense fabric. There is also a connection to an inner world of thinking, processing and making – a space beyond logic that summons the senses and all that I know.

This body of work focusses on my experience of migration, choosing move from Scotland to Australia.

Before I had two daughters I was free to travel and never thought of myself as tied to a particular place. On having children, I experienced feelings of separation from family and the need to settle in one place. Although Australia is now my home, physically and psychologically, I constantly move between two countries. My core will always be Scottish and I need to connect with family, friends and community – people and the place, here and there.

In my work the salmon represents my migration as I remember the fish swimming upstream to spawn. The crosses represent the movement between places and the Scottish flag, The Saltire or Saint Andrew’s Cross.

“The Traveller”

While leading a textile tour in Peru, I noticed my shadow over rocks at an archaeological site near Ayacucho: a light, unfixed, impression on the land. It looked as if I was holding a large walking stick and in that moment I recognised myself as a traveller exploring the world and not deeply rooted in a particular place. The photograph I took was adapted and re-drawn for the tapestry design. The image was woven over six weeks, from bottom to top, building the form with attention to the detail of every mark of weft over warp and through my deep immersion in the process.

“Ayrshire Slates”

In Scotland I made studies of a family collection of heirloom textiles and at the same time I was drawing on pieces of natural slate picked out of the hillside. Coincidentally at the same time I salvaged wee “peggies” (small roofing slates) from a derelict building and brought them back to Australia.

When I experimented and combined the drawings of Ayrshire needlework and slate I became excited about the incongruous light of the paint on the dark surface, suggestion of fabric on the hard and brittle material, warmth of cloth and cold of the slate.

Gouache mixed with water painted on the surface of the slates evokes the white muslin or cotton lawn fabrics used in Ayrshire needlework. The opaque paint applied with a no. 0 brush sits like stitches on the surface. The series developed as a reflection on the textile tradition, heritage and culture and they also remind me of the weather, seasons and natural environment of Scotland.

Small Tapestry International 6: Beyond the Edge

May 27–July 30, 2019
Orville J. Hanchey Gallery
Northwestern State University
75 Sam Sibley Dr
Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457
Opening Reception: June 1, 2019, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

September 6 – October 12, 2019
Augustana Teaching Museum of Art
Augustana College
Centennial Hall
3703 7th Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201
Opening Reception: September 6, 2019, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm


Thanks to a  generous donation from the Teitelbaum Family Trust,  ATA offers awards to two STI artists. The juror for the show bestows the awards on tapestries that (s)he considers to be of exceptional aesthetic and technical quality. The First Place Award is a $300.00 cash prize and Second Place is a $200.00 cash prize. 

Second Place Teitelbaum Award Winner
Valerie Kirk
“Water Use of Plants”

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Take Time

Craft ACT, Canberra

16 May – 6 July 2019

Cheryl Thornton | Daniel Edwards | Diana Wood Conroy | Dimity Kidston | Ema Shin | Patsy Payne | Rachel Hine | Suzanne Knight | Tim Gresham | Valerie Kirk

A group exhibition investigating why artists choose to work in the time consuming medium of woven tapestry in a time poor contemporary world.

Online catalogue with essay by Anne Brennan see

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Held every two years by the ATW these unique awards celebrate creativity and excellence in contemporary tapestry.

Exhibition opening: Tuesday 16 July 2019, 6-8pm |  Australian Tapestry Workshop, 262 - 266 Park Street, South Melbourne, VIC 3205

Exhibition dates 16 July - 13 September 2019

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