Barbara Rowell – Lines of Enquiry

For this project I got together with a group of four Mesh artists with a shared interest in developing contemporary weaving and natural dyeing techniques. Initially we shared ideas and had a very in depth and valuable discussion about where we wanted the project to lead us. Through this we identified some specific materials and processes that we would all investigate and develop in our own ways. These included beeswax, paper, hive frames, and wool.

Bindings (2)

On an individual level, I became obsessed with translucence, the revelation of what lies beneath the surface. Wax is a wonderful medium for exploring these ideas in form. I researched homemade cold wax medium recipes that gave translucence to Japanese woodblock prints. Examples of my findings will be on show in our forthcoming ‘Lines of Enquiry’ exhibition.

The larger Landscape 2

Sophie Ferguson and I had already identified common threads in ideas running behind our work and we wanted to share best practice in our materials investigations.  We found that working together on a single body of work created a sort of synergy that produced some unexpected results. Working closely with another like-minded artist over an extended period of time was a truly liberating experience and above all fun – we became more playful and experimental than we might have allowed ourselves to be individually, and as a result we have created a vocabulary which allows us to express our ideas further.  It also helped us to commit to the work, as time spent collaborating was both precious and scarce.

line of bags

During the course of the project, another artist in our group, Dorothy Jackson, invited me to her croft on Skye, where she keeps bees, for a collaborative get together. We spent a very enjoyable and intense few days on a ‘mini residency’, experimenting with beeswax from the hives and other materials, and exchanging ideas and progress.


Through this mini-residency we produced a collaborative work in beeswax which truly represents a coming together of our ideas and practices, for the exhibition at The Maclaurin Gallery, Ayr, 2nd July – 6th August.



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