“Liz Payne is an artist living and working in the inner west of Sydney, Australia. Exploring the combination of what is ‘art’ and ‘craft’ in her work whilst creating a style that is uniquely distinctive, her work breaks free from the mould. Combining paint with a variety of thread and a multitude of beads and sequins, vibrant works of art are created that are both explosions of colour and meticulously intricate in their detail.”
How did you get into textiles?
I was always creative growing up, painting, sewing, making jewellery, playing with scraps of fabric. I think I was doing ‘embroidery’ long before I knew the term for it! After high school, I studied my Bachelor of Visual Arts degree then went on to further my studies in Graphic Design. After several years of working as a graphic designer both in Sydney and London, I returned home, wanting to get my hands dirty creating again. Something that you can’t replicate working behind a computer screen. I started to create artworks that drew upon my background in the visual arts and the work I was doing with design, with my love of textiles and craft.
What type of techniques do you use to create your textiles?
My technique is quite varied – from the initial drawings to painting of the fabric, to then embellishing them with a myriad of stitching and beading. My work is all hand done and I like to use stitching almost in a way you would a paintbrush to make marks, create pattern and shape, but also with the benefit of adding texture.
What are your favourite types of textiles to work with and why?
Anything that is really colourful! If I try to keep it monotone it just doesn’t work (or I don’t think so anyway!) I’m really drawn to the vibrancy and neon textiles that you can find readily nowadays. And I think I’m so drawn to these ‘over the top’ colours to try to push the boundary of what the medium can do and how it is perceived.
What’s the biggest piece you’ve worked on, how long did it take and did you sleep!?
The biggest piece I’ve done (so far!) is called ‘The One’ – it is 725 x 1160mm and I worked on it over the course of 3 months. It was a huge undertaking and a massive accomplishment when it was finally finished. It is a mix of paint, thread and wool and SO many beads. If I look at it now I still can’t believe I actually did all of it!
Who would you like to collaborate with?
Recently I have just collaborated with Australian label Gorman featuring detailed digital imagery of my artworks onto their iconic clothing for Autumn 17. It was a big thrill seeing my artwork come alive across a 19-piece collection and it’s a way for my work to extend beyond the one-off into the wardrobes of fans of my work!
How do you plan a new piece of work?
I’m constantly sketching new ideas and will have an idea in my head of the direction I want to go in. I like to gather inspiration from historical influences, for example the beautiful cloths, textiles and beaded artefacts from places such as Africa, Guatemala, Mexico & Uzbekistan. I like pairing these inspirations with my own contemporary aesthetic and inspirations gathered from trends in fashion, culture, media and design. From sketching, further sketches evolve and then when it comes to painting the fabric the design can change even further. I don’t always have a clear-cut intention when it comes to the stitching and beading however, as each stitch is intuitive to the next and simultaneously gets built up from the stitches preceding the next.
What kind of needles do you use and do you back your work?
I use a variety of needles. I don’t really have a specific brand or anything, just as long as it’s sharp! I don’t normally back my work either in a traditional sense especially for artworks as they get framed.
What textiles techniques would you like to learn about and explore?
I’m always interested in learning as much as I can – both from the history of textiles and of where it can go. I’m interested in learning or discovering new ways to add even more texture and I would love to incorporate more of that in my work.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am just in the process of putting the finishing touches onto another large(ish) piece. It is really colourful and I’m happy with how it turned out. However, these finishing touches are starting to feel like they are taking longer than the embroidering of it! But its a funny thing, a lot of the time it is the work that goes into a piece that you don’t even necessarily see.
Where do you normally buy your materials?
I gather materials from a range of different places, from craft stores to hardware stores, online and instore – when I go overseas I tend to go a bit nuts scouring for different beads that are a little unusual or especially bright too.
Lastly, what do you love about textiles?
To be able to translate my work using textiles as a medium using my background in visual arts and design, allows me to create pieces that might even change one’s perspective of it as a medium. I love the possibilities and endless applications that encompass textiles and I hope to be able to explore them all!
You can see more of Liz’s work here