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'Jennie-maree Tempests journey in Thread'

This April sees the first solo show of the exciting and innovative artist Jennie-maree Tempest. I asked Jennie what prompted her to take this immense enterprise on. I think it’s every artists dream to have a solo exhibition at some stage in their career, she says, and of course a gallery full of your own complimenting artwork will always give a bigger impact.

Tempest focusses mainly female portraits in her delicate yet bold work. I asked why she favours this form. Probably because of my background in Hair and Beauty, I’m more drawn to the female face and form, she says. Hopefully it will be a feast for the eyes and people will be amazed at what can be done with thread on the sewing machine. My work is very feminine but generally men still appreciate the work that has gone into each piece.

One of the unique aspects of Tempest’s portraits is the fact that the main detail of each has each been painstakingly composed of fine thread embroidered into fabric with a sewing machine. I did both Art and Sewing at school and enjoyed both but continued down the sewing path which in turn brought me into the world of Quilting, says Tempest. After l had explored this for many years I decided to further my skills into the area of Textile Arts. My solid foundation of sewing and quilting is the main reason why my work is so fluent and refined.

Many would define anything in textiles as craft. I asked Tempest for her thoughts on Art vs Craft. This is always an interesting debate, she says. It always amazes me that a few lines on paper can be considered art but hundreds of hours on a textile piece that the average person could never achieve can be watered down as craft. Those in the art world that think this way should take more time to explore textiles. Generally Textile Arts is becoming a more accepted art practice.

I’m inspired by the bright colourful work of Gustav Klimt but am also inspired by newer Artists such as Agnes Cecile and Audrey Kawasaki, says Tempest, referring to her influences. My favourite textile artist is Colette Berends, not only is her work interesting but she was born a male and had a very interesting life that gave her lots of inspiration for her work.

Tempest has been an active and popular member of SECAN for several years now. She says that SECAN has been the best thing that has happened to my arts practice, not only have I met likeminded people from my local area, but I have had great support with exhibitions, competitions, workshops, artist retreats, etc.

Threaded Journey will be exhibiting at Gate 6 Gallery, Cardinia Street, Berwick, 2nd-3rd,7th-10th April, 12pm-4pm.

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