'There are only a small number of people who leave an indelible mark on all they meet and Denise is one of those few.
Her joy, ability to grab all that life has to offer (and with both hands) is
reflective in her art, in her unrivalled reputation for sharing and her inclusivity of all she meets.
An artist of limitless inspiration and a purveyor of visual delights, representative in her versatility in her use of the various fibre art mediums, from multi layered wall pieces, artwear and what she is better known for - the felted object.
Denise’s artwork emphasises how diverse contemporary fibre art is in its appeal to the broader masses and within its own art community. Her artworks reflect a personal response to the subject matter and/or theme.
The landscape, the flora and fauna or the historical in the linear, texture, shapes and form - referencing the natural and the physical - visually entice the
onlooker to create their own personal interpretation of the artwork.
Denise's sculptural artefacts, some being quite functional in purpose, beautiful and joyous to behold, create an immediate desire.'
Having grown up on a merino sheep property it is natural for me to use merino wool “from the paddock” and process the fleece through to the final sculpture.
This entails removing vegetation, washing the fleece, carding the fibre and eco dying wool using native plant material.
The wool is then ready to start felting by wetting the fibre using soap and water followed by an agitation process. Using a resist gives the 3-dimensional shape required.
When working in 2 dimensions my works are produced using an intuitive layering of fabrics which are both eco dyed and commercial colours.
For a selection of my wall art and more detail on how I create the works simply visit the 2D section on this website
My art is exhibited in Australia and Internationally.
Works have been selected for the biannual World of Threads (Canada), Contemporary Mini Textile Art (Ukraine), also France, Netherlands and United Kingdom. I was a finalist for Australian Textile Awards, Wangaratta Petite Miniature Awards and the Australian Design Centre Seed and Stitch Contemporary Textile Awards, 2020.
I have won many prizes including the Hornsby Sculpture Prize and the invited
guest artist for Camden Art Prize, 2019.
My work has been published widely, internationally and through-out Australia in books and magazines and are held in private and public collections.
For a full list of Denise's awards and exhibitions simply go to the Information page on this website
My work is inspired from travelling through the landscape. I record my observations of distant views such as hillsides and details like stones, tree trunks and rivers. Back in my studio I work in abstraction with reference to these experiences. Using the knowledge I have acquired and working with different fabrics, observations of distant views such as hillsides and details like stones, tree trunks and rivers. Back in my studio I work in abstraction with reference to these experiences. Using the knowledge I have acquired and working with different fabrics, some eco-dyed and others from my collection, I work intuitively, layering my selection of fabrics, then creating a stitched background over which I free machine stitch to form the design.
I also work with felt sculpture. Once I have created the sculpture I often machine stitch into the piece to enhance it. This is shown in “Greenway Duo-Land and Water”.
The wall work “My Mud Map” directly relates to my travels around Australia where I have combined a collection of ideas and images of places that I have visited. The rivers, ploughed fields, hills, water -courses etc, were placed according to feeling and mood. The image developed as the work progressed as is normal for me.
The piece “Rock Patterns” references walking along the shoreline on the beach in the literal zone where the ocean meets the land. By stitching on handmade felt I have used eco-dyed silk fabric to create earth mounds and rock patterns.
“Seed Pods” is a more literal idea where I have created 50 wet felted seedpods, which were inspired by my mother’s native plant garden. These have been shaped by the felting process then enhanced with machine and hand stitching. Quite often I will create these pieces while in the landscape using the found objects around me, like “Eroded Rock”, currently on touring exhibition with my textile group, the Untethered Fibre Artists.
I also teach many felting workshops, one with Arkaroola Art Adventures in the Northern Flinders Rangers in South Australia where we work in the landscape. “Arid Lands, Late Afternoon” is one of these and the “Arkaroola Vessel” was created on site.
The “Wandering West” sculpture is a collaboration with my husband, Peter Griffen, who painted the shape derived from the landscape on to it. We often exhibit together as we travel to the same places teaching workshops in Australia, as well as Internationally, for example Portugal and London. We live and work together in our studio warehouse. Our next exhibition is in Buren, the Netherlands, in mid May, after which we are teaching together in Olhao at http://www.artinthealgarve.com
My work is exhibited regularly in Australia and internationally and I have enjoyed winning many prizes. I have been published as an artist widely with the most recent being “Dimensional Cloth Sculpture by Contemporary Textile Artists”, author Andra F Stanton.
Article first published in Handeye Magazine – available at: http://handeyemagazine.com/content/distant-views