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Interview with textile artist Michelle Griffiths December 2011
by Sam Griffiths
Her textile career started in 2001 when she received a scholarship from the 'Embroiderer's Guild' to travel to Japan, the homeland of her chosen art form. Michelle also received an individual grant from the 'Arts Council Wales' which enabled her to exhibit at 'Origin', which she returned to 2011, one year after the initial grant. She has also exhibited at 'Made By Hand' as well as having her work exhibited at the 'Lesley Craze Gallery', London.
Michelle is set to exhibit at 'Collect' at the Saatchi Gallery in the coming months, as well as a possible shibori residency in Ryerson University, Toronto.
Upon entering Michelle's studio in 'Model House' you can sense her devotion to shibori, with vast numbers of shelves layered in books and textiles, showing her vast understanding of the art form she loves. When asked what her work means to her, she described how she feels that she can express her feelings through her textiles.
Her 'Endogenous' series is heavily influenced by her own depression. Endogenous, meaning internal cause, is Michelle's first series of work bringing her to the attention of many other renowned artists. 'Cross Pollination' on the other hand is literally based upon highly magnified images of pollen loaned to her by The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Darnforth Plant Science Center . However, the pieces in this series also resemble the minimal movements and stillness of the Japanese artisans working with the original ancient techniques. The intimacy and finite detail involved in the creation of the work, can also be seen in the fine art work that Michelle also produces.
Michelle states that there are many artists both renowned and little known who influence her work. These include the highly respected textile academic Yosiko Wada who Michelle describes as an 'amazing textile artist in her own right', and Bethan Ash, a fellow member of 'Fibre Art Wales', who Michelle views as having an 'amazing sense of colour'. The essence of colour can be seen in Michelle's early work 'The Queen of Diamonds'.
Michelle stated that fine art textiles is only recently becoming established as a major art form, meaning that becoming an established artist is made even more difficult. She also went on to say how the labour intensive techniques lead to hours spent on small pieces leading to only a slow production of new work.
It is clear that Michelle believes in her artwork showing how she holds it close to her heart. She hopes to broaden the knowledge of this diverse technique through a wide programme of exhibitions and workshops based at her studio/gallery in Model House Craft & Design Centre, Llantrisant.