Exploring Wabi Sabi with Louise O’HaraKate Stuart
Kate Stuart is an artist, craftswoman and writer based in the North east of England. She interviewed Louise O’Hara for the Winter Edition of No Serial Number Magazine. The full article can be found at www.noserialnumber.org, and via digital download here.
When I first started following Louise O’Hara on Facebook, she still called her page Drawn to Stitch, and I would marvel at the tactile landscapes that took me away to my heart’s home in the Highlands of Scotland. Marrying lace, old letters, discarded buttons and paint in a way that I had never seen anywhere else, there was a seamless quality to her work that had me wondering where the collage and stitchery ended and the paint began. The landscapes, with their little houses a common theme, were part textile art, part collage, part painting, each one utterly unique and full of story.
Do you ever look at someone’s work and just instantly connect? So much of what Louise does with her found objects and painterly techniques sits so well in my soul, and I find myself bringing memories to her work every time I look at it. Which is exactly what she hopes for when she creates each carefully layered and beautifully constructed piece.
When I got the chance to write about Louise and her work for No Serial Number Magazine, I quickly discovered her connections to Wabi Sabi practice. Wabi Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic philosophy that embraces three main beliefs, namely that nothing is permanent, nothing is ever finished, and nothing is perfect. Gathering these beliefs and applying them to her practice, Louise creates work that asks the viewer to bring their own melancholy, their own unfinished stories, their own connection with the imperfections of life and memory, and to create a new story for each piece they view. A story just for them.
Some might hear the song of happy holidays, of hard work, of family and home. For me, I hear the song of my crofting ancestors, the scratch of my father’s pen on Navy issue writing paper, and the longing of my heart for a life of gentle solitude in the ever changing landscape of the land where I was made. What do you hear?
Find out more in my article about Louise and her art in the Winter edition of No Serial Number Magazine. Subscribe here.
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