Monday, July 30, 2012

Artist Feature: Demelza Sherwood

This week we are up to our second last artist feature as the show is now under 2 weeks away! Today we are looking at the beautifully illustrated work of Demelza Sherwood. Demelza graduated from the ANU School of Art with Honours in 2004 from the Drawing and Printmedia workshop. Since graduating, Demelza has used her drawing abilities and moved into using embroidery as a medium with amazing results. 

Demelza has had solo exhibitions including last year's,  A note to the stallholder at Mailbox 141 and recently completed a residency with Bundanon Trust. She has also participated in several major contemporary textile exhibitions over the last three years including Future Fibre, Whitebox Gallery, Queensland College of Art, Sensorial Loop - 1st Tamworth Textile Triennial, Tamworth Regional Gallery, Tamworth, Petite: Miniature Textiles, Wangaratta Exhibitions Gallery and Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award, Wangaratta Exhibitions Gallery, Wangaratta.

All images in this interview are provided by and copyright of Demelza Sherwood.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background

I studied printmaking and drawing at the ANU School of Art, Canberra. I loved the flexibility of the workshop and the space to experiment with different mediums. During my third year, I spent a semester at the Emily Carr School of Art in Vancouver where two courses had a big impact on my practice - bookbinding and ‘Life Into Art’, an art theory subject that focussed on conceptual art and working across disciplines – performance, and body art, and movements such as Fluxus and Dada. My artwork revolves around documenting chance moments that catch me off guard. I often refer back to Alain de Botton’s concept of the ‘travelling mindset’ (from The Art of Travel). He describes it as a way of looking at your surroundings with a view to noticing those easily overlooked details.

I always have a notebook on the go and also make collages to mail to friends and family. I love the immediacy of collage - intuitively cutting, arranging and rearranging magazines and papers, to come up with playful compositions. Last year I was an artist-in-residence at Bundanon Trust (Arthur Boyd’s homestead in the Shoalhaven Shire, NSW) - where I made works that responded to the resident bower bird.

Offerings for the Bower Bird –mostly not the right shade of blue but he took the thread.

What led you to using embroidery in your work?

I started drawing with pen and ink onto fabric. This led to drawing just with thread and appliqué.

Could you talk a little about the process of making your work?

I‘ve been drawing from photographs of people in movement - often friends caught in conversation, dancing or gesturing. I transpose them onto paper and then hand-stitch these portraits onto fabric. I’ve been using old household linens that show signs of wear, with stains and darns that suggest previous owners. The time-consuming process of hand-stitching contrasts with photography's digital instant. My mother is a textile artist and seamstress, and taught me to sew. I often turn to her for advice about fabrics and their treatment.

Can you tell us a little about your inspiration?

Clouds, people, travel, old photographs and magazines, circuses, patterned fabrics, films, dancing, costumes and dreams.

A few artists I keep returning to include Hannah Hoch, John Baldessari, Maurizio Anzeri (a recent discovery), Louise Bourgeois, Elizabeth Peyton, David Hockney, Toulouse-Lautrec, Max Ernst, and Marlene Dumas. 


  1. Beautiful Demelza! I love the detail in your work and look forward to seeing what you have created for the exhibition!

  2. Hola Demelza, Veo que eres una ARTISTA CONSAGRADA, Me agrada encontrar parte de tu obra artística por aquí. Si algun día vuelves a España, avisa, para que nos volvamos a ver. Siempre tendras nuestra casa a tu disposición. . Siempre quise contestarte, pero no habia llegado el momento. Da recuerdos a tu amiga, y un fuerte abrazo para ti.
    El niño , es tu hijo? , Me alegro de que no estes sola.
    Muchos besos de Felícitas Peña García- Juan Carlos y L. Angel