Image: Claire Coles, Laburnam (detail). Silks, screen print, faux leather and machine embroidery.120 x 200 cm.
Inspired by the natural world around her, artist Claire Coles reinterprets flora through various textile techniques such as appliqué, embroidery, and print to produce appliqué panels and couture wallpaper murals. Her embroideries are a contemporary take on traditional chinoiserie wallpapers; crossing boundaries between interior decoration and fine art. Inspired by the natural world, her patterns have a subtle and ethereal quality—appearing to have grown to life— and her combinations of silk, gold leaf, faux leather and freehand embroidery create a luxurious and textual quality in her work.
Image: Claire Coles in her studio
From 18 May – 26 June, the Fairhurst Gallery, Norwich is presenting Walking Through Flowers, an exhibition celebrating the act of slowing down and the heightened appreciation of nature’s intricate details and soft coloured tones that many of us may have experienced in the multiple UK lockdowns. The exhibition sees Claire document her journey through flowers since resettling in Norfolk after 17 years of living and working in London. A celebration of the power of nature to both calm us down and lift our spirits, Claire reimagines precious moments from lockdown where she found solace in nature in her daily walks - from passing by neighbors' gardens, to enjoying local green spaces. Her works are being displayed in tandem with works from local artists Louise Farnes and Par-Avion Co.
Image: Claire Coles, Traces of Flora. All images courtesy the artist.
The unprecedented changes to our usual ways of living, working and creating throughout the past year challenged Claire to work in new mediums, as well as finding ways to incorporate her signature freehand machine stitching skills—which have gained her international recognition with brands and institutions such as Pierre Jouet champagne, the V&A, and Liberty of London — in her experimentations. Simplistic lines and her organic way of working gives the works on display an ethereal quality. This showcase, her first collaboration with the Fairhurst Gallery, will feature many original worlds and limited edition prints. The gallery itself has just undergone significant refurbishment to extend the gallery space and provide four new studios for local artists.
Running alongside the exhibition will be a series of artist-led workshops from each exhibiting artist, with the opportunity to learn about and make unique, handcrafted pieces to take home.
Find out more about Claire Coles on her website, or by following her Instagram account: @claire_coles_artist
Walking Through Flowers runs from 18 May – 26 June. Tickets can be purchased from the Fairhurst Gallery website.