Writing is not for me; it makes me nervous, but it’s never the same when I write my story through my paintings. At this time my thoughts flow like a river carrying and depositing nuances as I move on.
My paintings are executed in a medium that is unique, although this medium has been a pre-occupation for women through the ages. I have found a fascination in exploring the use of thread and appliqué on printed fabric. While maintaining drawing as an integral part of my work, I use the process of creating a pictorial surface by stitching with thread on fabric.
The use of printed fabrics as a base or rather a background, was spurred from my surroundings - seeing women in varied prints that highlighted and unleashed various aspects of their character. I study people at every given opportunity; natural elements like wind and water adding to the movements in the design of their clothes intrigue me.
On discovering that I could use this in my work, broadened the scope of my medium and gave me an extension on interpreting the designs on the fabric, by recreating or simply highlighting certain designs or colours thus adding to the meaning of the printed design. I use the design as a part of my subject or in the background thus supporting and lending to my subject and muse.
I do not find it necessary to interpret my works because I attempt to present visual delights of life through the feminine form. The underlying layers of thread and fabric express my interpretation of the mundane world and the urban attitude we put up with. My work talks about day-to-day chores and domestic issues.
I am inspired by observing women and their varied nuances of life. The surfaces of my works flow as my thoughts wander around each subject; they are stitched as if I am drawing; the direction of every stitch coming only from an artist who has used a pencil and brush so extensively.
Considering the vastness of the task of building up an area with stitches, to me is a fascinating process. Indeed here is no doubt that my artistic achievement in stitched paintings equals or surpasses much that is applauded as fine art. I have succeeded in simply adding to the riches of an alternative expression to this initial pursuit.
To create an awareness of the processes I use in producing the works, has been through sheer determination and zeal. All the elements have transformed through this stitched world of unexpected elements as they appear through the surfaces of my paintings. Through experimentation and a search for newer mediums the painting process of applying paint and creating a painting has been replaced by many an artist. Ultimately my work resides in precisely the same way as any painting or drawing which is to be hung on the wall, viewed and appreciated!
- Liesl Cotta De Souza, March 2015