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  • Harriet Maher

Artist Profile: Fleur Woods

Meet Fleur Woods, a fellow New Zealander and multi-talented artist working in textiles, colour and stitch. Her work is mesmerising, intricately detailed and awash with colour, inspired by the stunning natural surroundings of Upper Moutere in Nelson, New Zealand, where she lives. Fleur's work adorns walls, homewares and beautiful leather bags, breaking the mould of traditional embroidery and stichwork to fully explore the possibilities of the medium. Fleur's 'stitched paintings', as she refers to them, inspire and delight with their lustrous textures and jewel tones.

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I was lucky enough to delve a little deeper with Fleur into her artistic process, the inspiration behind her work, and what's in the pipeline for this master maker.

HM: Describe your process of art making.

FW: My work is contemporary embroidery and my process has elements that are a little flexible depending on what I'm creating but basically always starts with a jumping off point, a flower, colour, concept or texture...sometimes all of them. I don't sketch, my works are sort of a working drawing with thread and textiles. They evolve quite organically. The beauty of embroidery being a slow process is that you can work stuff out as you create. Sometimes I hand paint my linen with abstract washes and illustrate botanical elements to then stitch, other times I create lots of texture with punch needle and hand build fibre and clay objects.

Textile collages are something I've been playing around more with this year. It is rare that I will use any adhesives to attach elements, everything is hand stitched together. Most of my work has a mixed media aspect to it which relates to my love of collecting and curating treasures generally in the form of vintage textiles, beads and hand dyed wools. Sometimes I combine all of the different methods into one piece which is quite fun and experimental. I love to play and bring a sense of joy into everything I create.

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HM: What inspired you to create stitched paintings?

FW: Initially I began to explore stitch as another way to bring texture into my paintings, as I started to stitch I realised that it felt like a skill that was part of my creative DNA.

It also dawned on me that I had been collecting textiles and fibres, vintage embroideries forever and was just so naturally drawn to them but hadn't done more than collage them into my work. Using my collection as inspiration I taught myself, slowly and very clunkily, to stitch, and the more I did it the more it just felt like a really important and necessary way for me to make marks. I guess it wasn't so much inspiration as a calling.

HM: How would you describe your artistic style in 3 words?

FW: Honest, joyful and intricate

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HM: What do you hope your art does for people?

FW: I hope it brings people a sense of joy and peace and reminds them to stop and notice the beauty around them and feel connected to the natural world. I feel so deeply connected to the natural world, it's sheer resilience, ultimate cleverness, exquiste beauty. Ideally I hope that energy, that indiscribable reverence shines through even just in small moments via my work. I guess I also hope it reminds folks that hand work and traditional craft, making with our hands, still holds a value in today's world and can be innovative and current while enjoying a sense of nostalgia.

HM: What's next for you?

FW: I'm just finalising the preparation writing of the pre-production part of an online course with Fibre Arts Take Two. We're filming for a week this September in the Moutere and I'm so excited to have this opportunity to share my process in a really beautiful way. The courses that Fibre Arts Take Two create are thoughtful, beautifully produced deep dives into creating with purpose and fun, community and a real generosity of knowledge sharing which really aligns with how I like to share my process. It's going to be a fun adventure and I'm excited to be able to share it with those who can't come and create in person with me. We hope to realise the course in mid November this year.

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If you're interested in the Fibre Arts Takes Two course with Fleur, check out

Make sure you stay up to date with Fleur on Instagram and subscribe to her newsletter here

And you can follow me here & here

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