Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Susan Holmes: Fabric Artist - a truly beautiful book
Susan Holmes: Fabric Artist by Cerys Dallaway-DavidsonBateman, RRP $59.99
Susan Holmes is arguably New Zealand’s most accomplished and acclaimed fabric artist and this stunning publication explores the creative impetus which propelled her, (of WearableArts fame), into fabric design. So beautifully produced and illustrated, it features amazing photographs of her work over the decades.
Working as a fabric artist since 1971, Susan Holmes is now most recognised for her contribution to the wearable arts, but her work has also spanned the fields of craft, fashion and fabric art, tracing the ever-changing key developments of these sectors in New Zealand. Constantly improvising and devising new techniques, over time she developed her own methods for treatments such as block printing, stencilling and spraying fabrics, along with dyeing and fabric manipulation, such as crinkle silk. An intuitive engagement with fabrics is the cornerstone to her creativity, with the material always influencing the design in so many ways: ‘I always start with the fabric. I feel it and look at it and drape it about to see how it behaves.’
She has contributed to the arts and crafts sector as a tutor at a number of institutions and has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Her career encompasses various shows and competitions: notably she was the 1978 winner of the Fashion and Fantasy section of the Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards and the 1996 Supreme Award at the New Zealand Wearable Art Awards (now World of WearableArt™) a show she has entered every year since 1988. This book brings her story to life, told through numerous fascinating images and an engaging, insightful narrative.
Cerys Dallaway-Davidson is a Collection Manager at Auckland War Memorial Museum. She was a trustee of the New Zealand Fashion Museum (NZFM) and has worked in various roles across the museum and arts sector. She has contributed to a number of projects and publications throughout her career, ranging from the curation of magazine spreads, the development of the 2012 Directory of New Zealand Museums and Galleries, and research assistance and writing for the NZFM exhibitions Home Sewn and Age of Aquarius: a 1970s revolution in fashion.