|Courtesy: Cas Holmes|
The weather in Singapore is becoming really strange - it was chilly and raining really heavily on Thursday and now it's scathingly hot I dare not venture outside for fear of a heat stroke! What's happening?
This week's Greeny Crafter is the talented Cas Holmes, an artist who uses re-salvaged materials from tea bags to sweet wrappers in her art work. I find her pieces of work very inspiring and they have a calming affect on my mind. Let's take a look.....
Who is Cas Holmes?
I live in Kent in a small ex council house in an urban environment, bordering a park. Careful use of things has always been part of my life. I had a Romany grandmother and was taught to value and get as much use out of things as I could. I like to use discarded items, waste material no longer considered useful. Fragments and layers mark the passing of time, the rituals of making(cutting paper, gathering materials, machining, sewing) acting as part of the narrative of the work. This ethos of re-using things carries through to my life whole house is decorated with things hand made, found in skips or built by myself or my partner.
How did you start out as an artist and now as an artist who uses recycled/reused materials? Do people appreciate the artwork more once they know it's from recycled/reused materials?
After obtaining a Fine Arts degree in the early eighties, (University of Creative Arts, Kent) my understanding of paper and related media wasfurther enhanced through two periods of long-term study in Japan inthe mid to late eighties (supported by the Japan Foundation and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. A joint award (Arts CouncilEngland/British Council) led to further research into art basedorganisations and environmental community groups in Canada.
What other people have said
Cas Holmes makes art. If it happens to reference the techniques of the quilter, it is coincidence- same brush, different painting. Her work has a primitive quality that wanders the earthly through the ethereal. Translucent layers of painted fabrics, collaged papers or stitched bits combine and then recombine across different series ofher work. Cas sketches regularly. When we went to dinner, shesketched the restaurant interior. During a lunch break, she sketched the classroom venue and then later, on a group walk, she encouraged us all to do the same.She brings this quality to her thread painting-which is more thread sketching with frenetic stitch lines that capture movement and personality. The simplicity of her thread sketching brings a charm to her work and a sense of urgency; as if we need to look now to see a moment or thing before it is gone.This simplicity can also bring reassurance to any of us- to say that we need not worry about the perfection of every line of stitching. Inthis medium, we can cast off the yoke of perfectly spaced, even stitching and embrace the moment of 'doing.'
Deborah Bates Stitchstress
Cas Holmes's favourite projects
It is difficult to speak of a favourite project. I like work in unexpected places which can stretch me and have made installations for exhibitions in non-gallery spaces and workplaces. (some paid, mostly not). This has included work with suspended teabags. Commissions can be exciting, I am motivated by exchange with other artists and writers to create pieces with relevance to given situations,audiences and locations. I think my absolute fave as to be something more ethereal. The backs of some stitched cards (made to raise funds for the Pakistan floods two years ago) turned into an animation just for the share hell of it. .I love Crows.
I will be guest artist at the Festival of Quilts(August) and the Knitting and Stitching Show in London (October) this year. It is my most interesting challenge and scary!
I am interested in the open landscape, the shadows of marks made by man in the earth, the reflections in water and flooded fields, gardens and seasons changing.I have a love-hate relationship with nature. I spend time outdoors as part of necessity as I do not drive.You experience the pull of the land in a very different way when walking on a cold winters day to a sunny afternoon. It is quite different to viewing itthrough a car window. The land is very much part of all of us, nomatter how much we try to suppress it with concrete and motorways.Things return to the wild if we left well alone, and suppress our need to tame and control. I like to think my work, as an expressionof my current interest, serves as a reminder of this connection to nature.
Cas has published a book, The Found Object in Textile Art (published 2010, Batsford) which gives a broader background to ideas, techniques and inspiration. She can be found at http://www.casholmes.blogspot.co.uk/
Thank you, Cas! I would love to see your pieces of art in person, and if I had the chance, attend your workshops :-)