Name: Meredith Woolnough
Which came first in your life, the science or the art?
I have always had interests in both, but my formal studies started in art. I studied Fine Art at University fresh out of high school and it was during my final year that I developed the embroidery process that I am still working with today. I was drawn to the sculptural possibilities of a freehand embroidery technique and I loved that I could draw with my sewing machine. The science came later as I began to study the natural forms and structures I was depicting in my work. I became fascinated with my subjects and wanted to learn all that I could about them. This led to more formalized studies in Natural History Illustration. This was the perfect course for me because it combined scientific study with creative expression. As a result of these studies, I now start every artwork with fieldwork and research to help inform and inspire my designs. This has resulted in what I hope are more accurate and stronger artworks overall.
Which sciences relate to your art practice?
Biology – in particular marine biology and botany.
What materials do you use to create your artworks?
I use a synthetic embroidery thread and a water-soluble fabric to create my work. The water-soluble fabric is what makes my work possible. It acts as a temporary surface that I can draw on with stitches. The fabric is then dissolved leaving my lace-like stitched drawing behind.
Artwork/Exhibition you are most proud of:
I currently have a large installation in the Tamworth Textile Triennial. This exhibition is the most prestigious textile event in Australia and I am very honoured to have been asked to participate this year. My work in the exhibition The New Neighbours, which is inspired by the current plight of our coral reefs, consist of over 400 individual embroideries pinned to the wall. It was a huge effort to make and I am very proud of it.
Which scientists and/or artists inspire and/or have influenced you?
I am inspired by artists who look to the natural world for inspiration. Some of my favourites include Andy Goldsworthy and Bronwyn Oliver.