The shared thoughts and artwork of Tarja Cockell.
Tarja is a visiting artist from North Andover, MA. Her work will be on exhibit at the Melrose Arts Festival from April 26-28, 2013.
Q. What inspired you to work with silk as an artistic medium?
With silk colors merges smoothly, it is just like in watercolor painting. There are always some surprises, how the colors and patterns end up after the dyeing process and that inspires me.
Q. What is your artistic process?
My work is about layers. I start with white silk, which I fold in different ways and dye with a shaped-resist shibori technique to form the patterns. After the dyeing process I create the composition of the piece from several different fabrics using layering techniques. This is when the concept of the image starts to emerge. Sometimes I enhance the shapes and the textures with additional stitching. My work is a process and the end result only presents itself after the layers of fabrics are in place. The final image and meaning are for the viewer to discover.
Q. Can you provide us some background regarding the silk used?
I mix different kinds of silks, which I hand-dye. For layering I use transparent silk organza to give dimension to my work.
Q. How would you describe your artistic style?
My work is contemporary. The motifs vary from abstract to representational. My images are suggestive and simplified just bringing up the essence of the forms.
Q. How is your artwork a reflection of you?
My artwork is affected by my Scandinavian roots. I studied textiles and design majoring in weaving in Finland. I am drawn to simplicity of the composition and design.
Q. What importance does your artwork hold in your life?
Textile arts have always been part of my life. I want to challenge myself to create work that shows beauty in nature and essential shapes of objects.
Q. What words of wisdom can you share with aspiring artists?
Work on art and in a media that excites and inspires you. Be true to yourself.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I will show my silk collages and hand-dyed scarves at Melrose Arts Festival. In April I also have a solo show with my woven and mixed media pieces at Concord Art Association Members Gallery.