Clarissa Cochran

Textile Artist

Brought up in Cambridge into an artistic family, I was encouraged to paint as a child.
After training at St Albans and Wimbledon Art Schools, I taught painting and drawing in Community Education, held my first solo exhibition, and sold my silk paintings at an outdoor Arts Fair in Cambridge while my children were growing up. The interest in working with other fabrics, and more recently with indigo has gradually developed.
Aiming at the power of a structured design (the formality of some of the shibori techniques), together with the freedom of the unpredictable, (as decided by the vagaries of the indigo vat), I am inspired by the Japanese approach to design–whether in the precise designs of nature, or the spirit of place in the broader landscape of the East Anglian coast-line or the night sky.

I constantly return to drawing – plants, trees and animals-both as a discipline and a joy in close observation/ meditation.
Simple woodcuts sometimes result. Relief printmaking techniques also appear in some of the fabric/paper collages in which I combine indigo dyed fabrics with yarns and papers.
I make pictures, wallhangings, and scarves etc using mainly indigo-dyed silks and cottons, and shibori techniques, (Japanese style resist dyeing). Layering of delicate transparent fabrics, contrasting with deep indigo richness, the undyed areas seeming to glow from the characteristically soft-edge shibori patterns, particularly with the heavier cottons and velvets.

Formal structure together with the energy of the organic.Also woodcuts and silk/paper collages; and Cyanotype, an old photographic process, which I would like to explore further. Then the Japanese concept of ‘shibui’ is one I can only aspire to. It involves depth, simplicity, purity and inner radiance, reticence and affirmation!

I run indigo dyeing workshops, and have been a long time member of Norfolk Contemporary Crafts, as well as The Essex Craft Society. I also take part in Cambridge Open Studios and recently the first Saffron Walden Open Studios.
I was awarded the Cambridge Spinners. Weavers and Dyers award for dyeing in 2004.