May/June 2021

from the editor


‘How long did it take to make?’ is the question I often hear being asked of textile artists, especially at exhibitions and craft shows. Meanwhile painters and sculptors are more likely to be asked ‘What does it mean?’ When we interview makers for the magazine, our aim is to extract a little of the creative thinking behind their work – to work out what makes them tick, and delve into the journey they’ve taken.

For Sarah Corbett, who founded the Craftivist Collective, her creative story might best be described as a calling. What’s interesting is the unusual and intuitive way she formulated her methodology of craft as ‘Gentle Protest’ – a phrase she coined. If the career of ‘textile designer’ hadn’t already existed, I’d wager that Jayne Emerson might have invented it, such is her passion and enthusiasm for the potential of play and invention.

Our cover star, Lisa Smirnova, is a talented illustrator whose fearless, highly personal drawings fuel and bring real depth to her original and dynamic embroidery. She lives, works and teaches in Moscow but her work has found fans around the world, thanks to Instagram. Meanwhile, after two decades working in TV, Anna Gravelle was drawn to return to artistic study. Soon after she founded her studio, where she creates stunning, sculptural one-off tufted textiles. Likewise, Anne von Freyburg changed direction, leaving fashion for fine art textiles, whilst a life-affirming trip to Europe was the deciding factor in Nicole O’Loughlin’s change of direction, exchanging the corporate world for the art world on her return to Australia.

There are so many stories and nuances to each of their journeys that next time someone asks, ‘How long did it take?’ The answer might well be ‘a lifetime...’


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A selection of work from our May/June 2021 issue

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Sarah Corbett

PHOTO: SARAH CORBETT

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Lisa Smirnova

PHOTO: ANNA ARCHEN

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Jayne Emerson
PHOTO: KATE RANSOME

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Anna Gravelle

Wool cloth, embroidery thread. Tufted embroidery.
PHOTO: ARTICLE STUDIO

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Karolina Merksa
PHOTO: OLA O SMIT

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Rachel Fitzpatrick
PHOTO: GLENN NORWOOD

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Jan Dowson
©SEARCH PRESS. PHOTO: MARK DAVISON