Tamlin Blake

In her mixed media artworks Tamlin explores the boundaries between fine art and what have been considered the more domesticated artforms weaving, sewing and beading.

She is interested in what constitutes and underpins each individual's sense of belonging and identity.  This can be seen in the interplay of influences in her recycled newspaper tapestries, which visually and conceptually explore how stories wave themselves around us.  The often seemingly surreal rise and fall of contemporary heroes, the successes and tragedies of ordinary people and the births and deaths of neighbours are part of the everyday yet sometimes bazaar events which insinuate themselves into our reality and affect our thinking.

Tamlin is a South African mixed media artist and holds a Master's Degree in Fine Art from the University of Stellenbosch.  She has exhibited extensively at home and abroad, has had eight solo exhibitions to date and is an associated artist with the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg.  She is also Chief Curator for the Spier Arts Trust. 


I went sky-diving when I was about 18. My father took me and even though he offered the experience as a birthday treat, I think he too had a deep longing to fall out of the sky. For a pilot I found this curious and a little unsettling.

The small uncomfortable plane, at the same time both open to the elements and claustrophobic, took us into the sky in a sharp spiral. Being in an aeroplane was not new to me but what I found daunting was the idea that I had to leave the moving thing, on my own and into a rushing wind. Standing outside on the wheel housing, clinging to the strut of the wing I froze. All I could see was the moving air and the endless miles below me.

 I couldn’t go back and I couldn’t hold on indefinitely. Standing still was not an option, I had to jump. And I did. In mere moments I went from sweaty fear to absolute wonder. The parachute opened and the world was stretched out below me, just for me, like a huge woven carpet beneath my swinging feet.

 This memory has come back to me repeatedly during the past year and a half, that moment of frozen panic, uncertainty, fear. The world has been full of it. But the memory brings with it a sense of hope too. While fear ties us down and anxiety makes us hold on tighter, even if the outcome is uncertain taking a leap into open space can bring unimagined possibilities and a start towards something new.”

 

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