Firecracker Studio features the work of New Zealand artist Katherine Bertram
Katherine Bertram is a Napier-based artist who works in the media of fibre, print and paint. She also designs Jewellery that utilised repurposed elements. She trained in Sydney at the UNSW College of Fine Arts majoring in Printmaking. Prior to settling in New Zealand her work was shown and held in collections in Australia. Her current textile work draws on her print and painting in its layered and collaged design and shows influences from painter Michael Cutlip, fibre artist Gillian Bates and contemporary design.
Her freehand machine works often mirror etchings, the drawn black thread with its raised texture off the fabric is much like the printed intaglio line. Each medium mirrors the other, thread on fabric; ink on paper with the addition of collaged fabric much like the addition of Chine-collé papers applied in etched works. The addition of silkscreened colour is a new development in the merging of the two mediums within a fibre work. Her move into sculptural pieces has begun with the creation of freehand machine embroidered birds.
Her subject matter is locally domestic, much like the medium of textile art and yet as textile art is so much more than merely a domestic craft, images of suburban life contain universal sentiments. Streets, houses and letterboxes, each is personal, understandable and recognisable. They convey feelings of belonging, familiarity and stability. As the medium of stitch is clearly labour intensive, the wobbly lines driven by hands not by a machine, the human element in the work reinforces the humanity of the subjects.