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Karina Thompson

personally profound messages

Textile artist Karina Thompson often works in series, and her latest body of work is the Recovery Quilts. These pieces convey personally profound, or sometimes hard-hitting text messages, partially disguised in a plethora of highly patterned, joyful fabric patchwork, appliques and dense metallic embroidery. Her intention is that these beautiful luxuriant surfaces are paradoxically unsettling. The lettering is not explicit on first sight and the viewer has to concentrate to read the words.

Karina creates these pieces using advanced textile technologies: self-digitised, digital embroidery on pieced printed cotton, further embellished with embroidered lurex pattern fills that take on the appearance of gold leaf, or metallic paint, splattered on the surface. She then uses long-arm free-motion quilting machine to enhances the surface further with textural details, turning her “splatters” into puddles. While the Recovery Quilts are usually presented as soft wall quilts, there is scope for them to also be mounted taut onto stretchers, or framed behind glass.

Each quilt block Karina makes contains somewhere between 6,000 to 30,000 stitches and there are well over a million stitches in the quilt as a whole. Karina has either digitally plotted or free motion quilted each stitch. The metallic splatters on the surface of the quilt are actually created by special embroidery thread, stitched closely together.

Karina has nine different types of sewing machines in her studio ranging from a hand crank sewing machine that has been in her family since 1898 to cutting edge digital embroidery machines that cost more than her car.

She says, “The Recovery Quilts began as a direct response to my own lived experience of depression. However my latest works explore grief and loss with a wider lens. These quilt series are a change in subject matter from the medical data which I built my earlier studio practice on.”

The pieced quilt on show at Collect is a metaphor for bereavement, grief and loss in a relationship. It contains some fabrics and colours with special meaning. The artist’s ‘signature’ is on the back and resembles a Northern Soul Patch.

Piece for Sale:

We Still Are – Resilience Quilt, 2023, W 160cm x H 114cm, printed cotton yūzen fabric, cotton batting, polyester, rayon and lurex thread, self digitised digital embroidery, pieced and appliqued, long arm quilted.



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