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Picking up the Pieces at the Library: An exhibition of work by fabric artist Kate Bridger

The current exhibition at the Nelson Public Library is all about picking up the pieces—and turning them into something beautiful.

“As someone unable to throw out anything—particularly shimmering morsels of material—I gather up all the fallen bits at the end of every project,” explains fabric artist Kate Bridger. “After many projects, there are enough saved scraps for me to dip my hands into a gorgeous bucket of potential fabric brushstrokes and start to play.”

The result is a body of work Bridger calls Picking up the Pieces—abstracts that “portray the ordinary caught in fleeting moments when it is not all bundled up and packaged as we expect it to be,” she says. 

Included in the exhibition are fabric “paintings” such as Picking up the Pieces of a Fish Ladder, with its fluid lines and shapes, Picking up the Pieces of a Mountain, an ice-coloured homage, and Picking up the Pieces of a Garden Rake, an intricate assemblage of tines and foliage.

Kate Bridger has been a practicing fabric artist since the early 1980s. Over the years she has invented, refined, and experimented with materials, subject matter, and techniques. Her fabric collages, rendered with freestyle machine stitching, portray landscapes, streetscapes, wildlife, architecture, and abstracts.

“I am attracted to fabric as my medium because it provides instant texture, because of its layering properties, and because of the unpredictability of this relatively unstable medium that often leads me down paths I had not foreseen,” she says.

Picking up the Pieces will be on display in the library through December and January. Ten per cent from each sale will be donated by the artist to the Nelson Food Cupboard.