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Dianne Firth

Dianne Firth
Artist's statement

I work with textiles that are layered and stitched. I call them quilt textiles. As well as making traditional quilts for beds and other functional items, I use the quilt medium as a device for artistic expression and to have fun. This sometimes involves using a range of non-traditional flat materials such as leaves, metals, plastic and paper.

Environmental conditions such as drought, fire, floods and the urban/rural divide strongly influence my work. My training as a landscape architect provides me with a language to interrogate such phenomenon and respond to them through my textile work. Topography, geology, hydrology, vegetation and patterns of nature are my dominant themes.

Rather than using representational techniques I prefer to use processes of abstraction and minimisation. I try to have a strong graphic component in the work as well as interesting detail. Line, form, colour and texture are dominant elements while dyeing, tearing, cutting, layering, glueing and stitching are the main techniques. Each piece, or set of pieces, is designed within a frame - a device to focus the eye into the work. The tactile quality of the work is always considered.

Recent work
Flora #2
  • Flora #2, 2015
  • Textile
  • Dimensions: 44 x 44cm
  • Photo: Andrew Sikorsky
Ochre Stones
  • Ochre Stones, 2014
  • Textile
  • Dimensions: 40 x 40cm
  • Photo: Andrew Sikorsky
Earth Bones #2
  • Earth Bones #2, 2014
  • Textile
  • Dimensions: 111 x 123cm
  • Photo: Andrew Sikorski
  • Silicon, 2014
  • Textile
  • Dimensions: 91 x 56cm
  • Photo: Andrew Sikorski

Plant Trees
  • Plant Trees, 2014
  • Textile
  • Dimensions: 200cm x 120cm
  • Photo: Andrew Sikorski
  • Chlorophyll, 2013
  • Dimensions: 100cm x 40cm
  • Photo: Andrew Sikorski

Although educated as a landscape architect Dianne Firth had early training with textiles at Newcastle Technical College and Glasgow Art School and was involved with textiles for fashion, theatre costume and interiors. She discovered quilting after seeing a collection of Amish quilts at the National Gallery of Victoria in the early 1980s and undertaking a masterclass with American art quilter Nancy Crow.

Her works have been selected for major juried international and national exhibitions, publications and for public and private collections. Since 2001 she has been one of six artists in the Canberra-based tACTile group with the objective of expanding the boundaries of the art quilt and mounting exhibitions to travel.

Firth is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Canberra. She holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, a PhD, is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, and advises the ACT Government on issues related to landscape heritage, trees and urban design.

Selected exhibitions
2015:   Golden Textures - Birmingham,
2015:   Australia Wide 4 , Australian tour ,
2014:   Beyond the Veneer, Museum of Australian Democracy - Canberra
2014:   Living Colour, World Tour,
2014:   Australian Quilts: extraordinary quilts from the great southern land, France,
2014:   Unruly Orchestrations, Belconnen Arts Centre - Canberra
2014:   Awaken , Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre - Canberra
2014:   Progressions,, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery - Toowoomba, QLD
2014:   Quilt=Art=Quilt, Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center - New York,
2014:   Petite Miniature Textiles, Wangaratta Art Gallery - Wangaratta, VIC
2014:   Art Quilt Elements, Philadelphia
2014:   Radical Elements , Tour USA,
2013:   Quilt National 2013, Dairy Barn Gallery, Ohio
2013:   100: Celebrating Canberra, Belconnen Arts Centre - Canberra
2013:   Art Quilt Australia: People, Place and Nation, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre Gallery - Canberra
2013:   Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award, Wangaratta Gallery, VIC
2013:   Australia Wide 3 , Australian tour,
2013:   Australian Quilts in Public Places - Melbourne
2013:   Inhabit-Living in Design, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre Gallery - Canberra
2012:   Urban Forrest, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre - Canberra
Selected commissions/awards/grants
2013:   McCarthy Memorial Award at Quilt National 2013
2013:   Finalist, Australian Craft Awards 2013
2012:   Outstanding in Fibre Design for Australia and New Zealand 2012
:   First Prize, Dame Mary Durack Outback Craft Award
:   Second Prize, Husqvarna Masterpieces, Strasbourg, France
:   Champion of Champions, Royal Canberra Show
:   Contemporary Quilt Prize, Quilters' Guild, NSW
:   Canberra Bicentennial quilt
:   University of Canberra academic robes
:   Australia Council Grant to support exhibition
:   Quilters' Guild Grant to travel an exhibition
:   Vice Chancellor's quilt
Selected publications
2014:   Textile Fibre Forum, No. 113, 2014, inside cover, pp.56-58,
2014:   Down Under Textiles, No.14, 2014, pp.62-67,
2011:   Hemachandra, R., Masters: Art Quilts, Vol. 2, Lark Books, New York
2005:   Eddy,C., Quilted Planet: a Sourcebook of Quilts from Around the World, Mitchell Beazley, Great Britain, p.4.
2005:   Shaw, R., Art Quilts: A Celebration, Lark, New York, p.429
2003:   Rolfe, M., Patchwork and Quilting in the National Museum of Australia, ISBN 1 876944 20X
2000:   Milner, S., Masterworks, Sally Milner Publishing


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