Linda Coomber describes the process of making her unique fibre art as something akin to a magpie feathering her nest – scavenging for the detritus of trees and plants – weaving with nature’s cast offs.
Local Artist Profile
This month she showcases her latest collection of weaving at Nexus Art Gallery at the Old Butter Factory in Bellingen, alongside the work of local painter Gus Brunnerkreef.
Coombers says her interest in basketry and fibre art was a mid-life phenomenon that grew out of a need, and into a passion, when she acquired some beautiful wooden chairs with caned seating in need of repair.
“Searching around for someone to fix them, serendipity led me to Helen Beale, one of Australia’s most talented caners and weavers. She declined to fix my chairs, but offered to teach me how to do it myself. Out of those caning lessons came basketry, weaving and fibre art.”
For Coomber, the ingredients for her weaving come from the natural world, and the stunning coastal landscapes of Urunga where she lives.
“Every walk around my area provides rich pickings – seed pods, palm sheaths, feathers, pebbles, driftwood, gnarly tree roots and branches, seagrass, pine needles, vines, discarded fence posts.
“Anything that catches my eye is harvested and salvaged, and later incorporated into textural pieces and sculptures, as well as more functional pieces like baskets, vases and bowls.”
Unique collaborations with other artists also feature in this latest exhibition, with examples including a ceramic base incorporated into one of the pieces, made by Cath O’Gorman, a potter from Raleigh.
The notion of bringing the natural world into our interiors, beautifying and texturizing living and work spaces, is what ultimately inspires Coomber.
“A statement can be made about valuing artisanal objects, whether considering them as art works worthy of putting on our walls, or as useful objects to be used daily.”
WHAT Linda Coomber + Gus Brunerkreef Exhibition
WHERE Studio Gallery, Nexus Art Gallery, Old Butter Factory, Bellingen
WHEN Aug 15 – Sept 10