Interview with textile artist Katharine Swailes

The White Show

30th October - 1st March 2016


What does the colour white mean to you?

White is quiet, safe free from noise and interference, allowing space.

What does the colour white mean in context with your work?

White is a starting point revisited often. It provides clarity and quiet, allowing investigation of the subtlest movements.

How do you use white in your work- technique / style/ materials?

I use white linen and mercerised cotton often the brightest I can find, in my hand woven tapestry pieces. The techniques I am evolving to suit the fibres and threads used in these works. The materials form the work, some of these I came across on a research trip to Manhattan. Through a series of drawings I found a way to translate the yarns into a developing body of work.

Do you often use white in your art practice or have you used it especially for the exhibition?

White often appears as the background to my hand woven tapestries. I have recently been developing the way in which a line might flow across the surface of the work in a drawn way, it is important to me that these floating lines are integral to the weaving and that the white background is simple and undisturbed.

What work have you made for the exhibition - type of work / techniques / style and what does the 'white' used signify in your work? Does it mean anything or do you use it for its visual quality - i.e. surface texture?

The work I have produced for the exhibition is following a series of works inspired by Manhattan, and its structural lines and repetition. The use of white in these pieces is to optimize light and dark, and the subtlety of natural shadows defining the texture of the surfaces. A change of repetition