10 April 2024

Stitched pictures and curated curiosities will have you smiling as you explore Carol's collection

| Chris Roe
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PICTURES and THINGS is Wagga artist Carol Slattery's first solo exhibition.

PICTURES and THINGS is Wagga artist Carol Slattery’s first solo exhibition. Photo: Chris Roe.

Since retiring from Wagga City Library in 2016 Carol Slattery hasn’t been idle and has instead pioneered her own unique art form.

A resident of Wagga Wagga for 45 years, Carol’s work appears regularly in exhibitions and art shows around the Riverina.

Her first solo exhibition, PICTURES and THINGS, opened at The Curious Rabbit on Friday (5 April) featuring a collection of assembled curiosities and her distinctive textile collages.

“I’ve always done art and I’ve tried all sorts of things like printmaking and pottery but I went to an ‘assemblage’ workshop in Ballarat in 2011 and I became hooked on doing assemblage art,” Carol explained.

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Assemblage involves creating artworks from everyday objects and bringing contrasting elements together to create something new.

Carol’s works combine vintage dolls, brass odds and ends and obsolete tools collected within a frame or box and convey an antique, Victorian vibe.

“I initially just came to it myself, but then I learned about Joseph Cornell, who is the father of assemblage art, and I was just fascinated,” she said.

“I got a book and investigated and found out that a lot of the stuff I was doing related to what has already been done, so I was pleased to discover that.

“For a few years, I collected bits and pieces and put them in boxes, and I loved it but I eventually ran out of room.”

Carol Slatterly's assemblage art is full of quirky suprises.

Carol Slatterly’s assemblage art is full of quirky suprises. Photo: Chris Roe.

While Carol’s three-dimensional artworks drew on an established tradition, her approach to her two-dimensional textile pieces was something unique.

“When I retired from the library, there was a big roll of buckram (a stiff, loose weave cotton cloth) in the storeroom that used to be used for repairing books, but no-one wanted it,” she said.

“I took that home and I started drawing on it with stitches.

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“I’ve always loved drawing and so I just drew with black thread and started adding other bits of fabric and people loved them, so I went from there.

“It’s also much easier to store them than assemblage pieces!”

Carol Slatterly's 'thread drawings' are unique.

Carol Slatterly’s ‘thread drawings’ are unique. Photo: Chris Roe.

The delicate textile sketches are unique, and Carol said she couldn’t define them as embroidery, tapestry or weaving and had settled instead on the term “drawing with thread”.

“I’m not an accomplished stitcher; I just do a running stitch or a stab stitch; it’s nothing fancy.

“I start out and find an image and I think, oh, I wonder if that would work in stitch, and I set off and then go in a completely different direction and add bits and pieces as I go.

“Maybe they could be called ‘Carolisms’ or ‘Slatterly’s,'” she said with a wink.

PICTURES and THINGS is a quirky exhibition that rewards those who take the time for a close look.

There are plenty of surprises and mysteries among the assemblages and the stitched pictures include human forms and faces as well as fish and birds.

Each piece reflects the love and curiosity with which it was crafted.

“I love creating things and I’m lucky to be retired because I can do it whenever I want,” Carol said.

PICTURES and THINGS is on exhibition at The Curious Rabbit until 30 April.

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