Urban Nature: Cas Holmes is interested in the issues relating to environment, place and the land. Trained in fine art she works in mixed media using found materials in a process once described by a work colleague as 'extreme stitching'. At first glance, the materials and techniques she uses give the impression of something we 'already know', yet the artist is able to conjure up familiar images and associations and give them new meanings. I am influenced by the ideals of wabi-sabi, things often overlooked, details, worn surfaces and the beauty found in the transience of things imperfect. The intimacy of our gardens and homes, and the connection to our outside spaces, fields and pathways; 'stitch sketching' to capture a moment before it is gone.
Stitch, cloth and memory combine with paint, mark and image to create layered ephemeral pieces in which nothing is explicit;
Her work often contains snippets of text or discarded materials that have associations or conjure up memories. There is always a dialogue with the materials she uses. They bring their own history which is woven into the work. These collections of ephemera might seem meaningless but their apparent banality is open-ended. They are available to stimulate the imagination through the poetry of ordinariness. Everything has a connection and each viewer makes their own connections.
Her works to commission are best described as 'cloth paintings with stitch' and are usually displayed free-hanging, and without 'borders, smaller pieces can be framed. Pieces are held in collections around the world, including the Museum of Art and Design in New York, Arts Council England, The Embroiderer's Guild UK and the Sir Leonard Cheshire Foundation.
With a background in community arts, collaborative projects and installations are an important part of her practice. This includes exhibitions and educational work in museums and public venues in the UK and abroad. Her work processes are reflected in an article on textileartist and in her book 'The Found Object in Textile Art', (published by Batsford/Anova 2010 reprinted 3 times) Her second book, 'Connected Cloth,' co written with Anne Kelly, looks at aspects of collaboration in textile arts. (September 2013.)
She is currently creating new works in her continuing exploration of Urban-Nature following a successful show at the Beaney Museum and Art Gallery, Canterbury. She will be guest exhibitor at the European Patchwork Meeting in September and also has exhibitions in France, Germany and the Netherlands. Regular updates will be posted on her blog.
Magpie of the Mind on-line journal.
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