The Challenge of Colour

What a great way to start the New Year –  an impromptu visit to Victoria  to view Isabel Foster’s – The Challenge of Colour Exhibition – at Burrinja Gallery in Upwey, VIC.

Isabel Foster Retrospect, Burrinja Gallery
Isabel Foster Retrospect, Burrinja Gallery

and to meet up with members of  the Yarra Valley Rugmakers who are also members of the Australian Rugmakers Guild.

Leanne, Joy, Jen & Renate
Leanne, Joy, Jen & Renate (VIC)


Judith (SA), Robyne (VIC) and Jo(WA)
Judith (SA), Robyne (VIC) and Jo(WA)

Isabel’s exhibition was mentioned in a recent Yarra Valley blog with links to a YouTube video of the opening. Seeing the gorgeous colours and textures of Isabel amazing collection of work completed over 50 years, we just had to make the trip. So there we were, myself from WA and a group of Australian Rugmakers Guild members  from the Strath Matters in SA.     Judy Stephens,  Noreen Wendleborn, Ann Johnston and Marion Nefiodovas.

With no formal training in textiles (Isabel was taught embroidery by a ‘perfectionist’ grandmother) over the years her curiosity with colour and texture became her passion. Works in the Exhibit represent her creative interests of spinning and weaving, tapestry, applique, crazy patchwork and rugs made with wool and rag and hand spun and hand dyed thread.  The colour and textures of the woven, embroidered, knitted, and crocheted surfaces of Isabel’s creations are amazing.

Weaving and rya-knotted rag rug 2002

Silk boa 2007

Embroidered coloured fibres

Arriving early at the gallery our group was delighted to meet Isabel, who was chatting with her daughter and some friends.   Isabel was quite surprized to learn that we had come from so far away to view her work and delighted in showing us around describing her creations and then joined us as we gathered in the gallery café to spend the rest of the day getting to know each other and discuss the different rug making techniques.

Isabel Foster (centre) at Burrinja Exhibition
Isabel  (centre) at Burrinja Exhibition

 This chance meeting with Isabel was very special for Robyne Melia from the Yarra Valley Group who, as a student at Melbourne College of Textiles in 1974, had glimpsed some of Isabel’s work, in particular a garment woven in one piece in an abstract design both wild and colourful, to be worn in Gown of the Year 1974.  It was this garment that opened a new way of thinking in fashion to this young student and there she was all these years later talking with its creator.

This Exhibition is open until 16 March 2014, don’t miss it!

For more information click on Burrinja Gallery 

One thought on “The Challenge of Colour”

  1. I think it is wonderful that we can travel and connect with other similar people through our rug making. We must encvourage others to do the same. Miriam

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