Brush-making opened artistic Lexicon


South-coast artist Lorna Crane’s foray into creating hand-made brushes opened a deep vein of creativity that is on display in a new exhibition opening at Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles Gallery in March.

The Lexiconical exhibition will include a variety of Crane’s handmade brushes and objects, as well as works on cloth and paper. The works sprang from the artist’s obsession with making her own brushes.

“For more than two years I have been sourcing a variety of materials from my natural environment including native plant fibres, organic fibres and found objects, including ocean and marine debris,” she said. “As I bound the materials onto pre-loved brush handles, twigs, driftwood and bamboo, it became apparent that each brush held its own story. They tell of the places I have been and the landscape where I live.”

With a collection of brushes in a variety of mediums, in all shapes and sizes, Crane pushed her mark-making to create a more personalised approach to her visual lexicon.

“Using the brushes was like unlocking the language of landscape - of remembered times and places. Each brush holds its own unique feel and quality, and is a keeper of memories,” she said.

Crane feels that using the brushes brought about a synthesis from her previous utilitarian and rudimentary forms within many mediums to a new visual language.

“The mark-making process became a conversation between each brush and its maker,” she explains. “It was an exciting journey, from discovery of the first marks with each brush, to the surprising shapes and forms that flowed onto paper, canvas, board or cloth.”

Each of Crane’s works reflects these unexpected qualities, with subtle delicate marks alongside the bold and calligraphic. They speak both 'of the land and from the land'.

“Through this form of exploration, I created my own unique visual language using a variety of mediums,” she said. “The act of mark-making with handmade brushes has mapped new territory for me and opened a narrative that will be continued.”

The Lexiconical exhibition runs at Timeless Textiles from 14 March to 8 April, with the opening on Thursday 15 March.  

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