How does this artist select, apply and alter their chosen materials?
Cas Holmes is an UK artist who exhibits, teaches and runs projects throughout the world, and in collaboration with other artists.
The statement on her website:
“Paint dye, layer and stitch are combined with discarded cloth, paper and found materials to create unique surfaces. The rituals of drawing and making mark the passing of time. The history and familiarity of the worn cotton, linen and paper surfaces inform the narratives contained within Cas Holmes work”
Holmes (nd), About
Urban Nature (2012): “explores where our urban and garden spaces meets the ‘hidden’ or overlooked places of the broader landscape (Holmes, nd2).
40 Yards (2014): brings together the familiarity of home with travel (Holmes, nd2).
Commonplace: nature of place and our relationship to a constantly changing landscape in an increasingly urbanised world, especially at the fringes and edgelands of these places (Holmes, nd2).
Textile Landscape: Painting with Cloth (2018):
Selection of Materials
Cas Holmes favours found materials. In her 2018 book Textile Landscapes, Cas states “the cloth, paper and other found materials I use come from disparate sources and a chosen because of the specific and often fragile connections they have to the place where they were found, or what they may have been used for (p. 28)”, and notes the role these materials play in the creation of the final work because of the “‘memory’ contained in the folds, stains and imperfections of found materials (ibid, p. 29)”.
Thus, Cas’ work is deeply embedded in place and its origins.
Some of the materials she uses include scraps and offcuts of (idid, p. 29):
- heavy linen
- furnishing fabrics
- fine muslins
- polyester shirts
- old window blinds
- brown paper
- old maps
- Japanese and Indian decorative papers
However, when Cas was making Cup and Dandelion in 2014, her usual stash of materials was not available. She made the following observation:
“Creating work with limited resources sometimes leads to an unexpected outcome. This piece includes an old paint rag donated by a student and some lace curtain material (TextileArtist.org, 2017)”.
Cas Holmes’ process alternates between three iterative steps (TextileArtist.org, 2017):
- mark making;
- layering of pieces of cloth, paper and found materials;
- stitch (ultimately holds the works together).
Torn or cut pieces for the collage are auditioned by laying them out on a piece of canvas, then pinning or temporarily pasting (wallpaper paste) them in place (TextileArtist.org, 2017). When she is pleased with the composition, the layers are more pasted together to make a new fabric strong enough to be finished with free motion machine and hand-stitching (TextileArtist.org, 2017).
Cas’ summary: “I gather all the elements together – cloth, paste, colours, papers, and so on – and build up layers as I would a painting. I then cut up the layers to see what’s underneath. Then I work this with further paint and machine stitching (Create Whimsy, 2019)”.
Cas alters the surface of found materials with extensively with paints and stains. Some of the materials she uses include (Holmes, 2018, p. 30-31):
- acrylic paint
- cold water fibre reactive dyes
- disperse dyes
- natural pigments and stains, such as leaves, rust, earth
- fabric inks
- silk dyes
- fabric crayons, wax crayons, paint-sticks
- markers, felt tips pens
- coloured pencils
- acrylic binders and adhesives
- fusible/iron one glues
- cellulose paste
- other drawing mediums
Additionally, the materials are cut, torn, and layered. Stitch is an integral part of altering the surface. Cas says, “using the needle to join these disparate pieces together as well as adding textural marks excites me most (Create Whimsy, 2019)”.
Axis (2006). ‘Artist Statement’ in Cas Holmes: Artist, Curator, Maker, Teacher, Writer,
Viewed: https://www.axisweb.org/p/casholmes/#info, 21 October, 2020.
Create Whimsy (2019). Spotlight: Cas Holmes, Textile Artist
Viewed: https://createwhimsy.com/projects/spotlight-cas-holmes-textile-artist/, 21 October, 2020.
Holmes, C. (nd 1) About
Viewed: https://casholmes.wordpress.com/about/, 19 October 2020.
Holmes, C. (nd 2) Work
Viewed: https://casholmes.wordpress.com/work-2/, 21 October 2020.
Holmes, C. (2018). Textile Landscapes: Painting with Cloth in Mixed Media,
TextileArtist.org (2017) Cas Holmes: From conception to creation,