Graduate Alumni > Advanced Fiber Studio (Highlights)

Noelle Hamlyn (Spring 2009)
Noelle Hamlyn (Spring 2009)

I am intrigued by the possibilities of textiles– of textures and fibres to evoke emotion. I believe that our sense of touch is one of the most powerful and profound vehicles of human experience. Thus I am drawn to materials with strong tactile qualities as metaphors through which to explore this experience.

My recent work examines the concept of narrative. Beginning with books as a studio material, I have used their pages to create fabric embellished with free motion embroidery, their spines to create cloth and clothing fragments, and their inscriptions to inspire print images. These same inscriptions have led me to write fictions about the lives of those who years ago may have read the pages of these books. Using every fragment of these volumes, I have deconstructed and re-constructed story telling both as a product and as a process.

My work with book materials has lead to a consideration of my own personal story and the creation of textural interpretations of characters that have been significant in my own narrative. Through this work, I have come to understand that touch can be a trigger to unconscious memory. Creating textures from materials such as epoxy-coated tissue papers, embroidered tea bags, smocked cotton, and free motion embroidery, I have created figurative forms that are densely layered, much like my memories.

Most recently I have come to explore how my personal narrative has been shaped and altered as a Canadian living in the United States. This has expanded my understanding of story telling as cultural narrative, and to enabled me to consider forms that are iconic and culturally important. I now know that each culture tells stories through symbols and objects. By manipulating these symbols as woven or paper cast objects, I have begun to create scenarios that provoke those viewing my work to create narratives of their own. In so doing, I intend to challenge the viewer to consider how they edit the history of an object, how they respond to the power of archetype, and how they draw emotionally from their sensory encounters in order to make meaning. By using textural materials as the stimulus, I hope to understand how we attach meaning to sensory input – indeed to demonstrate how we create our stories.