Plate 23

(51) Michelle Kurth – North West

About this artwork
Price: $300 AUD

The page I received is entitled Age of Discovery. The image shows King Henry VII authorising the explorer John Cabot to ‘go forth, seek out, and find new lands’. In 1496 Cabot sailed from Bristol, and on the 50th day he discovered the Island of Newfoundland, mistaking it for Asia.
This exploration not only helped England to obtain colonies in the new world, but it also started an important trade route with Europe.

The lavish and ornate contents of the image really made me think about the vast difference between then and now. In the 15th century goods were handmade. Merchandise was transported by ship from one continent to the other in wooden caskets and chests. Everything was unique. Creating could not be rushed, and the world could not go faster.

Today, in contrast hundreds and thousands of items can be mass produced in one day. Express courier services deliver colourful packages with designs and buzz words describing the ‘must have’ product, and the superior quality of the product within.

Framed within a shape depicting Newfoundland; I chose to use the original page on uncoated paper, with it’s rich colours and detailed illustration. I’ve interwoven glossy plastic food packaging into the image. I wanted to weave something from the present in with the past, to illustrate the contrast in them.  The packaging I’ve used once contained the ingredients of sugar and rice; two of the foods brought to Europe on this trade route.

About Michelle

I discovered tapestry weaving six years ago, and was immediately drawn to the stillness and calm it evoked within me. Weaving for me is a type of meditation. In a world where everything is fast, I love the slow pace of weaving. Whatever the material; weaving is something that can’t be hurried, and all of my work now contains weaving in some form or other.

My background is in graphic design, and in my weaving I am often drawn to bold colours and shapes. Since learning how to blend colours with yarn I am fascinated with the comparison of preparing colours and tints on paper for print, to the subtle colour change and blends that can be achieved in tapestry weaving.

Part of my weaving practise has been exploring the relationship between the woven and unwoven weft. I love the contrast between the control and precision of the woven thread on the front, and then the unpredictability of the usually unseen weft on the reverse.

More recently I’ve started ‘Weaving with Waste’. Using traditional paper weaving techniques, I hand weave with plastic food packaging that’s not easily recyclable, or due for landfill.

Link to Michelle’s Art Aviso profile HERE

Michelle was provided with the following page from Newnes’ Pictorial Knowledge Encyclopedia:

Newnes’ Pictorial Knowledge Encyclopedia.
Volume 2
The Age of Discovery
The Age of Discovery