Tamara Russell


Brunswick, Australia

Preferred artistic medium

Contemporary, Jewelry, Multi Media Art, Sculpture, Textile & Fibre Art

Art level career

Mid career


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Artist statement

Tamara Russell of Karhina Textiles specialises in free machine embroidery, hand stitching and mending. Creating wall art and jewellery using up-cycled, recycled and reclaimed materials and machine embroidery for a one of a kind sustainable statement. In my work I am able to portray my concerns around social issues including climate change, the environment and the treatment of asylum seekers in Australia. My work has been exhibited in the United Kingdom and Australia.
In creating each item, I work with upholstery samples, household linen, dressmaking offcuts and/or clothing, usually linen or silk, which have been discarded.  I source these from family, friends, furniture shops, charity stores and industrial waste sites. Wherever possible, additional materials are 100 percent natural, produced sustainably and sourced locally. 
The joy of working with found materials is the unexpected uses that can be found for them. I love this unpredictability and enjoy the inventiveness necessary to transform them. The choice of materials can also be a key part of the story of a piece. The materials not only highlight a need to address the amount of waste we produce, but also contributes to the story.   I try to always use materials that are reclaimed, things with a history that have been discarded and might otherwise end up in landfill. 
Each time an item made from recycled fabric is purchased, rather than buying new, you reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save water, reduce pollution, decrease land clearing, and keep fabric out of landfill.  So, by 'closing the loop' by purchasing products made partially or wholly from reclaimed materials, we ensure that the market for these materials remains strong and recycling schemes flourish. 
My work takes waste from landfill and creates wonderful, individual pieces of art.  My working method ensures that no two items are the same, each becoming as individual as their owner. For more samples of my work please visit www.karhina.com
I also run workshops in machine and hand embroidery to take creativity to new levels along with workshops enabling people to learn how to mend, darn, alter and reconstruct your clothes. Mending is a great life skill which can save money, save clothes and reduce impact on the environment!