Barbara Heller's Dead Bird Tapestries

I love discovering new artists and despite living in an isolated community with a less than interesting art section at the local library and no public art galleries I seem to find ways to stay connected to the art world. Whether it is through Galleries West Magazine, stumbling through Pinterest or having someone share something with me via Facebook I am constantly inspired by my fellow creators, especially the ones that stray into the realm of morbid decay.

I grabbed a copy of Galleries West Magazine after running a workshop at the local artist community centre and as I flipped through it I happened to see an advertisement for Barbara Heller's show. At first the image didn't register but when I looked again and the threads wove themselves together I was astonished and excited to see more.

Of course I immediately did a search for more images of her work hoping so much that this wasn't a one off. And I wasn't disappointed. I discovered a handful of boldly coloured tapestries with delicate images of dead birds which happens to be one of my favourite subjects.

I find Heller's work interesting on a number of levels. First I love the images, the placement and the fine line work that seems to appear and disappear from the surface. I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been to plan out and create an image with such subtle detail, as if she planned out every single stitch. The delicacy of the decay she evokes in the surface is incredible and I imagine that from afar for just a moment one might mistake them for paintings or drawings.

Secondly I love the ideas that seem to merge in her work. Without having read anything about the artists intention I think of things like death shrouds and historical records, hunting tapestries and flannel sleeping bag linings. I want to imagine these as patterns for some reason.

I look forward to seeing more of this work and secretly hope she stitches up a few more animals.

You can see more of Barbara's work on her website.




Karin Ceelen

Another Pinterest discovery was Karin Ceelen who makes gorgeous, delicate etchings with intricate line work and subtle tone. I find her work compelling in its texture which remind me a lot of maps and geography. I love the cutout and layering as well which add richness and layers to the pieces. 

She is also a photographer and on her blog you can see the photographs that inspire her print work.

Comments are always welcome.