artist maker: organic textiles, prints, dyes and inks
Catherine Lewis is a visual artist who is a textile specialist but with a practice that encompasses a wide range of media and techniques. She is also a printed textile and surface pattern design lecturer with over 20 years of teaching experience. She is the director of ColourField studio natural print and dye company.
Her work is driven by a passion: to create without burden, to add to the existing but often unseen, to represent the forgotten or undervalued; traditional skills and lapsed thoughts, how easily they are lost.
Her hands are scarred by learning the old ways, methods so old they’ve become traditions.
With images made and found, with ordinary things, with people’s memories and writings, she tries to show us the hidden, sometimes entangled ways, the life stories held captive inside everyday products. She wants you to look and find them also; and to question what we take for granted in our increasingly unbounded and throw-away world.After graduating from Chelsea college of Art, where she specialised in design for printed textiles, Catherine went to work for the Welsh couture fashion team at Charles and Patricia Lester in Abergavenny. Here she honed her skills in textile dyeing, screen printing and the fascinating techniques of devore, discharge printing and shibori pleating.
In 2003 she set up and ran Context, a textile and makers gallery, workshop and design agency; with the aim of exhibiting and promoting the work of recent Welsh graduates alongside established artists and designer makers; she also exhibited at international trade fairs and exhibitions. At the same time she was responsible for the digital print facility within Cardiff Metropolitan University, contributing to research around the impact of digital technologies on creative textile practice and production.
In 2010 she gained her masters degree in contemporary fine art practice, developing conceptual elements and her practical skills repertoire, to include paper-making and casting, video and photographic work, bookmaking and her she began to develop her own natural dyeing and printmaking processes. These are now the main focus of her collection for ColourField.