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Fibre Art Yarns


A piece by Art Fibre Dunedin artist Chris Hely



What is Fibre Art? The best, and most commonly used description, taken form wikipedia, seems to be that fibre art refers to an art form where the materials consist of natural or synthetic fibre and other components like fabric or yarn. It’s an art form that prioritises aesthetic value over utility, focusing on the materials and the effort put in by the artist.

Pieces from Art Fibre Dunedin's latest exhibit.

L-R: Pearl by Kate Grace, Victorian costume by Colleen Kelly, wall hanging by Viv Dwyer.



Fibre art was a term coined in the 1920s, post war, to help define an original art development in textiles. Over the years the practice grew and augmented to more experimental works. Through a bit of research I found that it was the feminist art movement, and predominant artist of the movement Judy Chicago, that reintroduced fibre into high art. Her piece The Dinner Party is defined as the first high art piece to incorporate and celebrate needlework and fabrics as part of women's history. The feminist art movement used fibre art to overthrow the traditional ‘women's work’, reclaiming it and transforming it into colourful, fun and liberating works. It was with the rise of the women's movement, the consequences of feminist art and the birth of postmodernism theory that fibre art was reinforced. Flashing forward pieces are now more conceptual with themes exploring confronting cultural and environmental issues, gender, politics and so on.

Pieces from Art Fibre Dunedin's latest exhibit.

L-R: Pat Siversten, Janet Byers, Joan Huling


Fibre Art Dunedin are a group of like minded individuals who all practice different techniques encapsulating the essence of the movement. The group got together over a decade ago with the intent to enrich their skills, learn new techniques, push boundaries and to offer guidance to each other. Each member has their own specific skill set including patchwork, quilting, embroidery, beading, weaving and knitting. There's no real formal structure to the group; it's more of a get together, a supportive atmosphere to bolster confidence and encourage creative practise.



A piece from Art Fibre Dunedin's latest exhibit by Megan Griffiths


Art Fibre Dunedin’s recent exhibition at the community gallery was their opportunity to not only display their works but to showcase the medium, shining a light on fibre art and its many methods. There was everything from Victorian costumes, bold woven wall hangings exploring the theme ‘how do you clean water?’, exquisite silk ribbon embroidery and even hand stitched diaries.

The group meets the second Sunday of every month from 10am at the NEV Community Rooms, so if this piques your interest pop down and check it out.


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