This guest post was written by Carole Waller, a painter who specialises in painting with dye directly onto cloth for the purpose of making completely unique painted silk clothing. Carole wrote about the unexpected inspiration she found around her home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Image: Carole Waller's new Summer 2021 collection. All images courtesy the artist. Photos by Egle Vasi, styling by Sarah Baker and Lisa Caldognetto.
My collections of painted clothes always have a strong emotional theme — which I usually keep quiet about—and are often inspired by travel as I have always needed to get away from my studio to let new ideas filter into my head. This year was different of course; all through the winter of 2020/2021 I found myself staring out of our windows, newly captivated by the magnificent trees in our garden. My studio and showroom sit next to the house — on a country road, near Bath in England.
The sky got bluer and the birds sang louder and the squirrels and I got to know each other very well. I fell in love with the huge box elder and the white poplar who stand side by side half way up our hillside garden and look like massive drawings against the sky. I realised I had not looked at them properly in the 25 years we have lived here — the ideas came flooding in!
It then occurred to me that through every window and Velux on all four sides of the house there was a different view of trees. I rushed about taking photos early every morning to start working out what to do. The weather and changing seasons have always been a big influence for me, and it was the unique experience of lockdown that opened my eyes to the unfolding of spring in a landscape I thought I was so familiar with. In the works inspired by this period the trees appear very simply rendered and are framed criss-crossing across the pieces, so that each garment becomes a 'habitation' of colour with windows and views.
My latest collection found its inspiration right on my doorstep for the very first time thanks to the stillness imposed on me.
Each piece of clothing is unique — an item of wearable art. I make them using a combination of painting and screenprinting, the orderliness of the printed image contrasting with the energy of the brushmarks. The colours for the summer of 2021 are bright and full of light. Slow to make and made to last a lifetime, I am told that my clothes give great pleasure to those who wear them.
Visit us at the studios or find us online www.carolewaller.co.uk.