Featured Artists

Interviews Archive Page

135  Christina Massey

134  Mary Grisey

133  Trina Perry Carlson

132  Anne Kelly

131  Louise Lemieux Bérubé

130  Dorothy McGuinness

129  Penny Mateer

128  Christine Mauersberger

127  Jim Arendt

126  Merce Mitchell

125  Louise Keen

124  Rosemary Claus-Gray

123  Mary Giehl

122  Emily Hermant

121  Robin Wiltse

120  Barbara Klunder

119  Megan Skyvington

118  Rachel Brumer

117  Heike Blohm

116  Shanell Papp

115  Carmella Karijo Rother

114  C. Pazia Mannella

113  Karen Goetzinger

112  Andrew MacDonald

111  Jeanne Williamson

110  Catherine Heard

109  Rosemary Hoffenberg

108  Cathy Breslaw

107  Leslie Pontz

106  Cas Holmes

105  Geri deGruy

104  Suzanne Morlock

103  Barbara De Pirro

102  Kathryn Clark

101  Noelle Hamlyn

100  Judith Mullen

99  Barbara J. Schneider

98  Merill Comeau

97  Beverly Ayling-Smith

96  Barbara Hilts

95  Mackenzie Kelly-Frère

94  Anna Keck

93  Pilar Sans Coover

92  Dolores_Slowinski

91  Leslie Pearson

90  Temma Gentles

89  Tilleke Schwarz

88  Anna Torma

87  Kim Stanford

86  Ingrid Lincoln

85  Anna Hergert

84  Joy Walker

83  Maximo Laura

82  Marie Bergstedt

81  Alice Vander Vennen

80  Xia Gao

79  Leisa Rich

78  Megan Q. Bostic

77  Sayward Johnson

76  Heather Komus

75  Sheila Thompson

74  Kerstin Benier

73  Molly Grundy

72  Nathan Johns

71  Lorena Santin-Andrade

70  Lisa DiQuinzio

69  Nancy Yule

68  Jenine Shereos

67  Bovey Lee

66  Nell Burns

65  Lancelot Coar

64  Elisabetta Balasso

63  Matthew Cox

62  Yulia Brodskaya

61  Lotta Helleberg

60  Kit Vincent

59  Barbara Heller

58  Catherine Dormor

57  Joyce Seagram

56  Yael Brotman

55  David Hanauer

54  Dwayne_Wanner

53  Pat Hertzberg

52  Chris Motley

51  Mary Catherine Newcomb

50  Cybèle Young

49  Vessna Perunovich

48  Fukuko Matsubara

47  Jodi Colella

46  Anastasia Azure

45  Marjolein Dallinga

44  Libby Hague

43  Rita Dijkstra

42  Leanne Shea Rhem

41 Lizz Aston

40  Sandra Gregson

39  Kai Chan

38  Edith Meusnier

37  Lindy Pole

36  Melanie Chikofsky

35  Laurie Lemelin

34  Emily Jan

33  Elisabeth Picard

32  Liz Pead

31  Milena Radeva

30  Rochelle Rubinstein

29  Martha Cole

28  Susan Strachan Johnson

27  Karen Maru

26  Bettina Matzkuhn

25  Valerie Knapp

24  Xiaoging Yan

23  Hilary Rice

22  Birgitta Hallberg

21  Judy Martin

20  Gordana Brelih

19  Mary Karavos

18  Rasma Noreikyte

17  Judith Tinkl

16  Joanne Young

15  Allyn Cantor

14  Pat Burns-Wendland

13  Barbara Wisnoski

12  Robert Davidovitz

11  Amy Bagshaw

10  Jesse Harrod

9  Emma Nishimura

8  June J. Jacobs

7  Dagmar Kovar

6  Ixchel Suarez

5  Cynthia Jackson

4  Lorraine Roy

3  Christine Mockett

2  Amanda McCavour

1  Ulrikka Mokdad


becoming … , 2009-2011, 7 columns each 140 x 40 x 40cm, cotton velvet, polypropylene pellets



Caress II, 2011, 200 x 400 x 30cm, digital print on silk satin and silk organza




Artist: Catherine Dormor, Cambridge, England

Interview 58: Catherine exhibited in two shows in the 2012 World of Threads Festival. Quiet Zone at the Gallery at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre in Oakville, Ontario and THREADSpace: Threading the 3rd. Dimension at the Canadian Sculpture Centre in Toronto.


Subscribe to Artist Interviews here...

Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.


Based in Cambridge, England, Catherine Dormor is an artist and researcher, working towards her submission of a practice–thesis PhD at Norwich University College of the Arts. Her work involves textile, both as concept and as medium and incorporates photography, video and installation alongside textile techniques. Her current research considers the potential for textile, textile structure and textile processes to be drawn upon as models for exploring relationships between sight and touch. This research has both philosophical and practice-based outcomes, which intertwine and inform each other. She is passionate about promoting textile as a valid medium of and for practice-research within a broader art context.

As a practicing artist, Catherine exhibits internationally and locally and has work in private collections. She also teaches at Middlesex University and has published articles, papers and reviews. Originally studying mathematics at university, she became interested in textiles through ecclesiastical embroidery and has done commission work for a number of churches and individuals.

Catherine is married and has two daughters, one at university and one in the final year of school. Catherine''s Website


Artist: Catherine Dormor


Tell us about your work?

My work evolves from a broadly visual art background and so references sculpture, installation, moving images and photography, alongside textile-based concerns. It draws on Western art history, philosophy and feminist theories for its contextual references. Having come to textiles through ecclesiastical embroidery, most particularly goldwork, I have a deep commitment to working directly with materials and am interested in exploring the language of those materials within the work itself. The medium selected for my individual pieces is specific to the concept or ideas driving the work forward.


becoming … , (work in progress) 2009-2011, 7 columns each 40 x 40 x 60cm, cotton velvet, polypropylene pellets


From where do you get your inspiration?

I would say that my inspiration stems from two main sources: the everyday observations around me and from theoretical and language-based texts/thinking.

I read voraciously and enjoy the abstract thinking of philosophical texts. However, these become inspirations when married together with everyday observations – the way in which a window reflects a pool of water and reflects the street lights, this sets me on a path thinking about reflections and mirrors. Then I research texts from a variety of sources to build upon that enquiry.

Another chance encounter, this time with an item of clothing impressed upon the road surface, caused me to think and reflect upon the ubiquity of cloth in our lives and how it is both vital and disposable at the same time. This observation also sets me off thinking about the language that derives from cloth and its production that is found in our everyday speech: losing the thread, spinning a tale, …

It is this blending of observation – I always have my camera and notebook to hand to record the sights and textures around me – and theoretical readings (philosophy, art theory, art history, literature) that come together in my work.


becoming … , 2009-2011, 7 columns each 140 x 40 x 40cm, cotton velvet, polypropylene pellets

becoming … , 2009-2011, 7 columns each 140 x 40 x 40cm, cotton velvet, polypropylene pellets


What other mediums do you work in, and how does this inform your work?

My work is about textile, textile production and textile language, but does not only incorporate stitched textile. I work with sculpture, installation, video production and cloth, each medium having its own associated set of considerations and practices. What is interesting to note, is that I find myself drawing on these different media with a textile sensibility and then using sensibilities from these other media within my textile-based works. This means there is a continual crossover between the modes of practice.

In order to explain this more concretely, when working with video and moving image, it is for me, very like working with fabrics with different weights and transparencies. You can rearrange the order of the layering, stitch through some or all of the layers, or cut back to reveal elements from below. In response to this, I am very much more aware of the time-based aspects of the textile work I make. So if I am preparing a layered hanging, I bring to the work consideration about how the piece will move and whether I want to enhance it, either by where I locate the work, or the choice of fabrics, the distance between the layers and so on.


Caress II, 2011, 200 x 400 x 30cm, digital print on silk satin and silk organza

Which medium do you work in more often and why?

This is quite a complex question to answer, as I am always thinking in textiles, but the work does not always emerge in that form. I use the camera a huge amount, to document and analyze my work. As a result, I have hundreds of images, that to someone else will all look the same, but I may have cropped one a certain way or changed the lighting or the angle or both. These images may then be drawn into, stitched into, printed onto cloths, become part of a model for an installation piece or become a storyboard for video work. I tend to think in three-dimensions a lot, so don't tend to make wall-hung pieces, favouring ceiling mounted works, installations or moving images. I think for me, this is because the textile is both a process and so time-based; a product and so three-dimensional; and a concept and so involves the bringing together of ideas with materiality.



Shimmer I, II & III, 2011, each 200 x 130 x 30cm, digital print on silk satin and silk organza – St Pancras Crypt Gallery installation

Shimmer I, II & III, 2011, each 200 x 130 x 30cm, digital print on silk satin and silk organza – Norwich University College of the Arts installation


When and how did you move into video installation? What was your motivation for trying this medium?

I moved into video installation in the break between finishing my BA degree and starting my PhD. I had experimented with moving images and projections a bit during one of the modules of my BA, but I lacked the equipment, time and expertise to further develop this at that stage. One of the emerging preoccupations within my work at that time was the idea of how the balance between concept, materials and artist, shifts during the production of an artwork – so the notion of textile practice as processional. This instituted the idea of time-based works with moving images.

Once I started along this track and began looking at artists working with moving images (I use this term to broaden out the thinking of what this kind of practice might involve), I became aware of the changing nature of the screen. Such work can be shown on a white rectangular screen, or even on a television-type screen. But the communication of the work can be extended and developed into something far more powerful, if the screen's substrate is more subject-specific. I have been influenced by the work of Tony Oursler, Shirin Neshat, Mona Hatoum and Pipilotti Rist in particular and the ways in which they question that screen.

To date all of my works have been single channel projections, but I would like to develop that as I move the work forward.


Working models – exploring the relationship between cloth and stitch, photocopied drawing, polythene tubing, rayon threads

Working models – exploring the relationship between cloth and stitch, photocopied drawing, polythene tubing, rayon threads


What specific historic artists have influenced your work? 

For a long time I have been heavily influenced by the work of Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois and Barbara Hepworth, although referring to them as 'historic artists' feels uncomfortable in many ways.

Eva Hesse (USA, 1936-1970) is an influence for many people working in textiles and I think this is probably because of the way in which she explored her different media and thus the ways in which she combined them. Her work in latex is particularly interesting in that she used it to construct surfaces and forms. She strung it about like threads and fibres and she used it to laminate other materials, most notably cloth. These are similar processes and modes of practice to those found in many studios of those working with textiles. In my own studio I have forms and constructions that have been dipped and painted, to try to almost embalm the temporal textile.

Taking on this theme of temporality, Hesse's work makes one very aware of the passing of time. Not only because her work is now so fragile that much of it cannot be exhibited very easily at all, but also the forms appear to be so transitory and perhaps even temporary, that at any minute they will blow away or disintegrate. I am drawn to this sense of the materials in their raw sense and the immediacy with the artist that they seem to project.

Louise Bourgeois (France, 1911-2010) Like Hesse, Bourgeois was not one to be constrained to one medium and I think this is an important factor in why I have referenced her as an influence, although she is only just an historic artist. Working across so many decades of the 20th and 21st Centuries, Bourgeois' work has taken many forms, many concepts and many theoretical influences. Across this whole oeuvre, however, the work is intensely personal and explores relationships between people and objects. A range of different experts has written much about Bourgeois' life and family and its affect and manifestation in her work, which I will not attempt to repeat here. Bourgeois has influenced my work in the sense that she sought to engage the viewer in an embodied relationship with her work, either by creating environments or installations that they could physically enter, or by the way in which the surfaces and forms evoked visceral and bodily responses. The viewer is both repelled and compelled towards the work. She brings the viewer into close and physical contact with the work and thus with the artist.

Barbara Hepworth (UK, 1903-1975) Hepworth's sculptural forms are highly figurative, whilst simultaneously abstract, and then often threaded through with mathematically influenced 'threads'. It is almost as if in Hepworth, Brancusi is combined with Gabo. However, what she brings to sculptural practice, is an embodied sense of a female voice or female body, and champions notions of the negative space, in harmony with the solid form. In Hepworth's work the spaces and openings are strung through, emphasizing the inter-relational, which resonates with my own textile-based work that is preoccupied with the structural elements within woven fabric.


loom-shed, 2009-2011, 150 x 100 x 100cm, video installation, silk-wool chiffon, silk chiffon


What specific contemporary artists have influenced your work? 

Contemporary artists that influence me could be separated into different forms of influence: staging/presentation, concept, materiality and textile-specific, which come together to form a kind of matrix of influences which shift according to the particular work I am engaged with.

Here are some of my current favourites:

Tony Oursler, Pipilotti Rist, Mona Hatoum, Shirin Neshat, and Lygia Clark


Mona Hatoum, Ann Hamilton, and Janine Antoni


Annette Messager, Agnes Martin, Rachel Whiteread, Caroline Broadhead, Claire Twomey, and Anna Maria Maiolino


Elaine Reichek, Chiharu Shiota, Ann Hamilton, Caroline Broadhead, and Naoko Yoshimoto

Pipilotti Rist (Switzerland, b.1962) Having been interested in Rist's work for some time and having seen pieces within mixed exhibitions, I was very excited to be able to visit her retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, London, very recently. Eyeball Massage, as its title suggests, was an extraordinary assault on the eyes and yet it did not simply mesmerize visually. One's whole body became immersed and engaged with the works on show. In terms of my own practice, Rist causes me to reflect on the strategies and mechanisms by which she implicates that whole body to engage. She sets tiny video works into the carpet, she uses the viewers' own bodies as her screens, she creates whole rooms where the viewers are surrounded by psychedelic and intimate imagery. This is not visual trickery, but carefully planned and considered positioning of viewer with work, and her work continues to challenge and inspire me through that.

Annette Messager (France, b.1943) I have been drawn to Messager's work for a number of different reasons and its influence upon my work could be considered to be largely tangential. Messager draws on a wide range of modes of practice to communicate her themes to her viewer and yet, when one visits an exhibition of her work, one is continually aware of the role of textile and its language. She uses soft toys, rippling red silk, found dresses, netting, mattresses and bolsters, and the list goes on. It is this use of the ubiquitous textile objects and items that is of the greatest influence to my work. She is not afraid of the work's materiality and its fecundity – she actively champions these aspects in her work and it is this aspect of her practice that encourages me, when textile is cast as a poor relation within the art world.

Chiharu Shiota (Germany & Japan, 1972) Shiota's work for me brings together the sensibilities of Japanese textile practice with rather more Western conceptual considerations. Her spun installations manage to convey a sense of wonderment in the process alongside a melancholic response. Her works speak of abandonment and preservation, life and death, the work as finished product and as a process, brought together within her webs and passages. In terms of her influence upon my work, it is this sense of bringing the process to the fore and yet not obliterating the concept, that I find the most inspiring.


(within) I, 2010-2011, 60 x 60 x 60cm, acrylic mirror, chenille tubing, tendertouch filling


What role do you think fibre art plays in contemporary art?

Fibre plays a complex role within contemporary art and that makes it a particularly difficult medium to work with. It has been and continues to be, appropriated by 'fine' artists, because of the richness of its visual and conceptual language (Tracey Emin, Claes Oldenberg, Christian Boltanski, Doris Salcedo, to name a few). Yet these artists would not call themselves textile artists or even artists working with textiles. Yinka Shonibare works almost exclusively with textiles and yet nowhere does he define himself as a textile or fibre artist. I think that this is very telling as to how textile- or fibre–based practices are regarded. Do sculptors define themselves by their medium? Do painters call themselves 'acrylic artists' or 'oil artists'? One of the major problems textile practice encounters, is the confusion between its craft roots and its fine art potential and sometimes the conceptual potential lies within those very roots, within textile's very materiality.

I think it is this potential that is something to celebrate and champion and indeed something that has a place as a practice within contemporary art, but it needs to be done with an awareness of contemporary debate. Artists currently at the forefront in the contemporary art world are those who work within a complex web of practices. Perhaps this could be considered a cynical approach to art making, or perhaps it is strategic? At the Guggenheim currently there is an exhibition of works by Maurizio Cattelan in which he has suspended all of the works he has made since 1989 on strings within the rotunda, for which he has been 'hailed simultaneously as a provocateur, prankster, and tragic poet of our times' (www. guggenheim.org). He appropriates methods, materials and even works from other artists, genres and artistic periods and it is this approach that typifies current practices. Further, it allows a space for textile-based artworks and artists to draw on the ubiquity, metaphors and language within their work.

One of the problems encountered by those working with the textile-based field of art is the polarization between theoretical and practice-based concerns. In an increasingly financially constrained art world, funding for textile-based art research is difficult to come by, but this is research that badly needs to happen so that the field of textiles is opened up to understanding of its rich heritage and the gap between understanding and practice narrowed.


Caress I, 2011, 200 x 400 x 30cm, digital print on silk satin and silk organza


Can you talk a bit about the commercial viability of fibre art and do you find it more difficult to show and sell your work than non-fibre artists?

I think this very much depends on where the work is being sold. In an entirely textile-based context, prices are suppressed as people value the work as 'craft' and do not necessarily value the hours put into its production. In a fine art context, textile is problematic as potential buyers worry about how to look after and preserve the work unless it is securely framed behind glass. Working on large-scale works and installations, I often receive the comment 'I wouldn't have anywhere to put it …' Commercially, I would be better to create works that are smaller, framed and glazed, but such work would not express the concepts and ideas that I wish to convey.

In terms of exhibiting my work, it is sometimes difficult to establish which category it will fit into within a fine art context, as it could be considered moving image, installation or indeed sculpture and even then it doesn't always fit within the pre-conceived ideas of those headings. In this it is not necessarily different to other non-traditional art forms and practices and it is its flexibility that makes it a particularly beguiling mode of practice.


Caress I, II & III, 2011, each 200 x 400 x 30cm, digital print on silk satin and silk organza


When did you first discover your creative talents?

I have always enjoyed making and creating, but had a deep dislike of pre-prepared patterns and thus needlework at school. At school I didn't really show much aptitude for drawing and painting and so took German in place of art and needlework. I did, however, continue to remodel clothes and make outfits from all sorts of materials, including bed sheets. I then went on to study mathematics at university and embarked upon a teaching career, teaching 11-18 year olds mathematics. It was after I had stopped work to bring up my two daughters, that I reacquainted myself with my creativity. At that stage we were living within a community of trainee priests and one of the students introduced me to ecclesiastical embroidery and goldwork in particular. I was excited to find a form of textile-based work that was purposeful, decorative and a compelling process. I was hooked!


Work in progress – hand-woven steel cloth, 40 x 40 x 60cm


How does your early work differ from what you are doing now?

My early work was very much producing ecclesiastical items: chasubles, altar frontals, stoles and so on with 'contemporary' designs worked in machine embroidery, combined with traditional goldwork. My current practice works well within a spiritual environment and I often incorporate a meditative or spiritual aspect to it, but it is also work that sits within a secular context as well. So the two work together and whilst I am happy to produce work for ecclesiastical settings, I would now want to push the boundaries of that further.


skin-flow, 2010-2011, 240 x 240 x 500cm, video installation, silk chiffon

(within) II, 2010-2011, 60 x 60 x 60cm, acrylic mirror, chenille tubing, tendertouch filling


Please explain how you developed your own style.

My own style has been informed by a variety of experiences and influences. The mathematical side of me, enables me to think in three-dimensions and also means that I am inquisitive and explorative with my technology – if I want to achieve a particular outcome, then I pick away at it until I get there. I have been hugely influenced by the Japanese textile work that has been brought to Britain by Lesley Millar – I am particularly drawn to their technical expertise and the simplicity of the forms. Again, this stems from the mathematical side of me. In terms of the more poetic side of my style/practice, this has emerged partly as a result of pursuing my PhD and the reading and exploration of different forms of writing and philosophy, moving me away from that more literal, mathematical approach.



(within) III, 2010-2011, 60 x 60 x 60cm, acrylic mirror, chenille tubing, tendertouch filling


Tell us about your studio and how you work:

My studio is a converted garage in the garden next to my house. Living in Cambridge, England, this is quite a luxury, as many of the houses in this ancient city are very small and larger ones are very expensive. Whilst I often find the space a bit limiting, the advantages of working from home and having very little in the way of overheads make up for this. I am also fortunate in having a conservatory attached to the house, which makes for a wonderful place to photograph my work. The biggest problem I have is with storage, as producing artworks on the scale that I do, means they need to be kept somewhere safe between exhibitions. At the moment they are in the cupboards and under the beds and in the shed, but these spaces are fairly full, so I may have to hire some storage space in the near future.

Working from home has been vital in being able to continue my work whilst my children were growing up, as I was on hand when they came in from school and yet I could shut the door on the work, without having to clear it all away. For a while, my younger daughter had a desk in the corner of the room where she would come and do her artwork too, which was great fun.


studio view

studio view – work in progress


What project has given you the most satisfaction and why?

I think that the project that I have enjoyed working on the most is the current one, in that it has challenged my intellectual skills and my technical skills at the same time as my creative ones. It is extremely fulfilling and challenging bringing this body of work together and having the discipline that it will all be assessed as a whole. Before the exhibition in December, I had in my mind how the installations would work out and I had trialed them in parts. But when the whole came together, the sum was far greater than the parts and the way in which the various elements came together and 'spoke' to each other and the exhibition space, was something that I couldn't necessarily have predicted, although I had meticulously planned everything. There were the inevitable hiccups in installing the work, but I enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of that, too.


Work in progress – digital photograph


Tell us about the thesis for your doctorate. How you decided on the topic, researched it, etc.

When I first thought about applying to do a PhD I wanted to research the triangulated relationship between artist, materials and tools and how the dominant element in that relationship shifts as the work is produced. However, when I started to research these ideas, I realized that this was too loose an idea, without a clear focus and would perhaps be difficult to meet the criteria for PhD research. In discussion with my supervisor and with further reading and research, I decided to hone the original idea down to using textile and textile structure to develop models for the inter-relationships between sight and touch. This came about as a result of reading several philosophical texts that referenced textile and textile structure, but without a working knowledge of them.


Emergent Multiplicity (detail), 2011, 120 x 100 x 100cm, acrylic, mirror paint, extruded polythene, rayon, carbon fibre


Where do you imagine your work in five years? 

I want to continue to develop the ideas I have been working with, particularly thinking about video installation and the use of multi-channels. I would also like to continue to publish my writing, through articles and possibly re-work the thesis for publication. I also love teaching, particularly at university level, so I will be looking to extend what I do on that front too.


What interests you about the World of Threads festival?

I think this festival has created an opportunity for textile-based art to be celebrated and the breadth of what that practice means to be championed. It is exciting to see such a range of high quality work being shown together.


Emergent Multiplicity, 2011, 120 x 100 x 100cm, acrylic, mirror paint, extruded polythene, rayon, carbon fibre – St Pancras Crypt installation



If you'd like to make a donation to help support our
"Weekly Fibre Artist Interviews" series, you can do so here.


Subscribe To Artist Interviews here...

Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.


Emergent Multiplicity, 2011, 120 x 100 x 100cm, acrylic, mirror paint, extruded polythene, rayon, carbon fibre – St Pancras Crypt installation