Hi, my name is Tamara Russell – a Textile Artist specialising in free machine embroidery, hand stitching and mending based in Melbourne, Australia. In my textile art practice I explore my surroundings and interpret what I see through the medium of embroidery. In my works composition, I combine light, colour, shape and texture to recreate images that inspire me. I consider myself a painter using thread, an artist painting with a needle. My work has been exhibited and is in private collections in the United Kingdom and Australia. My practice engages with the natural environment recreating the images and shapes in my embroidered works in both 2D and 3D form. I am not primarily a photographer but my photos are invaluable to me as a record of composition, colour and detail, supported by my sketches. Photos are my starting point as I explore my subject matter directly onto fabric, painting with thread. Each piece uses photography, watercolour painting, beading, fabric, soluble backing, machine stitch and/or hand stitch, either alone or in combination. This creates depth, perspective and richness to the work and combines effectively to give detail and texture. I manipulate and transform the meaning of everyday objects, to explore issues including the Australian environment, climate change and the treatment of asylum seekers. 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.
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