Thursday, 29 June 2017



Flight Cloak, (2017)

Flight Cloak (2017)

If you have ever lain down in the grass and gazed up at meandering clouds you will have a fair idea of the mesmerizing beauty of Jane Bear’s textiles. Somehow, from lumpy clods of wool and silk, Jane beats out yards of fabric that peak and hollow, billow and waft like clouds on mountains on clouds. Chimeric, delicate – there’s an inclination to wish for the Inuit lexicon of white.

Akin to paper-making – the transformation from one fibrous texture-material to another is this artist’s metier. An alchemy. The visual ‘magic’ Jane Bear creates mirrors her life’s transitions – her first calling was as a mid-wife; following a car accident she studied farm management at Glenormiston Agricultural College and there picked up a ‘side-course’ on nuno felting. In the twenty years since then she’s been exploring her fascination with ‘structural textiles’.

Jane gives me a physical prĂ©cis of how it’s done: strands of fibres are laid this way and that, atop a matting material (could be carpet underlay); these mesh in a soapy wash in which they are rolled back and forth; a firm material evolves and is teased into the desired form. In a pot on the stove Jane has some yarn bubbling away. ‘Look at this – apple leaves!’ One pale yarn has an evanescent pinkish hue – rose petals? another a faint sunset glow – apricot? Each bubbles in the same pot, the different fibre lending its own character to the staining leaves, chemically ‘held’ by the mordant, in this case the copper pipe on which the fibres are wrapped. Magic indeed.

Art is rarely so close to the ‘land’ – or sky – there is a knitting with the cosmos in all this, that feels a privilege to be near.

Judit Pocs 'felt hats'

Bear refers to Anita Larkin and Judit Pocs as inspiration, the former Australian, the latter Hungarian, each highly experimental. Larkin incorporates all manner of found objects in her weave and these initiate amazing structures, 'improbables'.
Pocs too creates extraordinary structures – hats that curl and wrap with stunning come-hither.

Bear’s work in WINDOWSPACE responds to ‘flight’ with fantastical cloak-like wings.  Her installation is current through July. Read more about Jane Bear’s work at


Jane Bear with 'felt containers', 2017

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