FIBRE ARTS AUSTRALIA

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Glenys Mann

I am part owner/coordinator of FIBRE ARTS AUSTRALIA a live-in workshop event that is held five times a year in Australia. There are up to 18 tutors at each event, from all over the world that come and share their knowledge with up to 200 fibre/textile artists over a five day period. It is my love and my life!

I also curate national and international fibre/textile exhibitions.

I have been an active member of the textile/fibre world for more than 35 years. I have exhibited and taught internationally and nationally, mainly plant dyed, hand stitched, found wool cloth.

Fibre/textile art and its promotion is my passion!

Did you always envision a life as an artist?

No! it came only when my children were grown up. But I did dabble a little whilst they were small!

What was your first experience with making art?

Taking the normal sewing foot off the machine and placing the free motion foot on…that opened up a whole new world

Do you have a dedicated studio?

No…not at the moment…but if you class an industrial table in the office as a studio, then I guess I have one!

Can you describe a typical day?

Up at 5.30am. Contend with the emails. Work on what is happening with FIBRE ARTS AUSTRALIA. Bit of gardening. Work in Photoshop…bit of stitching …generally being kept busy!

Would you consider your art making to be more about the process than the outcome?

The process to me, is more important.

Do you agree that a small element of uncertainty about the finished look is what makes the process of creating so enticing?

Absolutely! I try not to give an artists’ statement to make it even more enticing for the viewer.

Any indispensable tools or equipment?

At the moment…PHOTOSHOP…OLD CLOTH…FOUND OBJECTS. Anything really!

Do your pieces start with a planned course of action or are they more spontaneous?

More spontaneous.

How do you know when to “stop” – when do you consider a piece actually finished?

Sometimes it is when I run out of thread! Then I know it is finished!!

Your greatest source of inspiration is….

Emotions of the everyday.

Favourite quote?

" Pointed criticism, if accurate, often gives the artist an inner sense of relief. The criticism that damages is that which disparages, dismisses, ridicules, or condemns." Unknown

When do you do your best creative thinking?

When I am on a roll it is all my waking hours…no specific time, just constant!

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I have two sides…I like the solitude of hand stitching and then getting together with my friends at my Fibre/Textile events…they are like family to me

Best advice you’ve ever received?

Be determined to do your best…from my Dad.

Best part of your day?

Early mornings

Who would be 6 people that you would invite to dinner?

Bette Midler, Sean Connery, “Vera”, Ei Wei Wei, Elizabeth Lada Gray, my Dad!

What inspires your creativity?

The need to do!

What are you excited about right now in the world of textile art?

That there are people out there that just keep on pushing the boundaries and they never stop. I can see that there is an evolution towards the textile/fibre arts being accepted in main-stream galleries and this is coming from those that keep pushing the boundaries.

You’d be lost without…

My computer!!!

What would you do with a few extra hours each day? 

I found them once!!! And I just kept on doing more of the same…was very exciting!

Your favourite luxury in life? 

My yearly travel to Flores, Indonesia, India, where I am learning so much on how to live simply, organic dyeing and learning from very humble and extremely talented people

Has the advancement of computers and technology impacted your work?

Absolutely! So much so that I am considering making more work that has an inference to cloth than making the cloth art. It is a very exciting time for textile/fibre arts.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Being with like-minded souls at my events and watching them bloom with the experiences that I can bring to them.

Is it important for us to be recognized by the art world and if so, how can we help affect that change?

By being more pro-active about our art. To forget that there is other art genre’s out there and concentrate on the promotion of GOOD fibre/textile art with great exhibitions and top class workshops to encourage the best out of people.

What is next for you?

More events, working closely with my new Fibre Arts Partner, Nonie Sutcliffe … hopefully get back to some small stitched pieces. I am curating about 4 exhibitions at the moment…I would love to do more of that. Just to be me…I feel that that is what I want more than anything!