Out Back features a series of quilted textiles by artist Lyn Guy depicting images of the Australian outback taken during recent travels in her motor home. The exhibition was selected to feature as part of the 2020 Community Exhibition program at Town Hall Gallery.

Each work in Out Back features self-dyed silks and threads reflecting the unique palette of colours present in Australia’s rich, remote and diverse landscape. By collaging tiny pieces of silk with fluid stitching, Guy builds striking visual scenes that show a country both familiar and diverse.

We chatted to the artist to find out more about her background and inspiration, to bring you this insightful interview about her creative process. See the link below to view the exhibition online.

Tell us a little about your background and how this led to becoming an artist.

I grew up on the other side of town in the Essendon region. I attended schools in this region and then studied at Melbourne Teachers’ College and Melbourne University.

I pursued a career in teaching both in Ministry Schools and in the latter part of my career in the Independent School System at Caulfield Grammar, Wheelers Hill. After a forty-plus year career in both teaching and administration I retired at the end of the year 2000.

My mother was a tailoress and taught me to sew at a very early age. I made all my own clothes, my children’s clothes - until they were old enough to not want “handmade”. I decorated our homes with curtains, bedspreads and numerous items so fabric, textiles and sewing were always a part of my life.

It was only after retiring I found out what I could do with all the extra attachments I had for my sewing machine. I joined a local sewing club and was introduced to free machine embroidery. This led me to enrol in a three-year Visual Arts course majoring in Stitch and Textiles in 2003 and graduating in 2005. During my full time career the opportunity to follow my creative side was not possible so I delved into tapestry making and weaving as an outlet for my interest along with my dressmaking skills.

What inspires you?

Having had the opportunity to travel both overseas and throughout Australia I gain my inspiration from my surroundings. My works tend to focus on an in depth representation of things around me. They incorporate images of nature and recent travels.

Tell us more about the artworks in Out Back.

My works in this exhibition focus on recent travels throughout outback Australia. My exhibition pieces will focus on images of the Australian outback taken during recent travels in our motor home. I love the vibrancy of colours in the Australian outback and in all my works endeavour to portray this richness, remoteness and diversity.

All my works are completed using textiles, silk fabrics, threads and the necessary support fabrics. I use Procion dyes to obtain my unique colour palettes. My images are created by collaging tiny pieces of silk to build up the scenes, which are then held in place by a system of fluid stitching across the finished piece.

What is your creative process?

Using my own photographs as inspiration I sketch roughly onto a strong support fabric a basic outline of the image. I use Procion dyes to obtain the colours required for the work. I complete numerous trials and journal these. I may need ten shades of one particular colour and by dyeing my own silks I can achieve this.

I apply an adhesive substance to the back of my silks and using a tiny iron attach the tiny pieces of silk, using tweezers, onto the support fabric.

I have a purpose built studio room in our apartment where I complete all my works. I work whenever I am inspired to do so and get great satisfaction out of completing a piece. My work is very time consuming and it can take a month or more to complete one piece.

What is the inspiration behind the series Out Back?

My previous exhibitions focussed on my overseas travels and after having ventured throughout the Australian outback in our motor home the amazing colours inspired me. It is hard to imagine the vibrancy of the blues, oranges and reds. It made me realise my next theme of work would be to focus on my homeland, Australia.

Something unique? My husband and I enjoy bike riding and have completed many long distance rides. I have ridden across the Nullarbor, Perth to Adelaide. I have also ridden from Adelaide to Melbourne along the coast, from Goondiwindi to the Gold Coast and around the coast of Portugal. We still continue to ride and often head to a regional town and spend a week riding.

What do you most enjoy about creating art?

I find that I can get completely absorbed in the work I am doing. Time often disappears. I get great satisfaction on completing a piece and added satisfaction when others enjoy what I have achieved.

Out Back is available to view as part of Town Hall Gallery’s online exhibitions.