Research

Since the early 1990s, I have been creating fiber and mixed-media art. I make art to express my passion for the captivating forms and exquisite colors and textures I find in nature and the world around me. My goal is to distill the essence of these forms and present them in an unexpected way, so they may be appreciated in a new light. It is my intent that this passion and connection with nature be palpable in my artwork. To many, the natural world is like another world; a world that does not dominate the consciousness of most people, but is equally important and essential to us all. At a time when the natural environment is more threatened than ever, I attempt to tap directly into my emotions, to show my audience the beauty that keeps me alive and inspired, so that they may share my experience. 

In my earlier two-dimensional fiber work, I used my own technique that expressed the fluidity, texture and color of natural forms. I wove an open-work tapestry, giving the basis to the image, and then embroidered on top of the woven work, in a fluid fashion, to develop the image further.

In my more recent work, I have continued my Interest in color, texture and form, but have pushed my use of materials much further, as well as developing my techniques into a three-dimensional artistic language. I incorporate found objects, fiber, screen wire, wire and metal-work to create sculptures and jewelry with dynamic forms and unexpected materials. I also create collage ‘tapestries’ and intaglio prints that echo the use of line and texture of my earlier work. I am continuing my exploration of materials in both two and three-dimensional forms, in order to broaden my aesthetic vocabulary.

In order to work in an immediate and expressive fashion, I prefer not to limit myself to one discipline or medium. I find it essential to use all techniques that draw my attention. I like to learn them well, so that I understand the foundation of the technique, in order to then concentrate on pushing boundaries to further express form, color and texture. I also try to discover how a technique can be combined with other techniques or unusual materials to create something new and interesting to capture my expressions. I often work towards results that are not usually desirable, to see if I can turn things around and find beauty by breaking rules.

Combinations of unusual materials and techniques allow the viewer to distance themselves from social norms and look at what I am presenting to them in a new way. I use this technique to put natural forms or objects in a new setting that allows for a fresh appreciation of their beauty. I cross disciplines to combine any techniques that will fit with the artwork I am ‘expressing’. It is in my nature to think of things in a different way and to push for new and unusual solutions. In creating artwork that makes dramatic use of materials and form, as well as technique, I hope to further capture the beauty of my subject and to surprise the viewer into appreciating something they see every day in a new way.

Amber O’Harrow