Michala Gyetvai: An artist who paints with fibres

The vibrant pieces express her deep-rooted love of nature, the seeds of which were sown during her childhood in rural Northamptonshire, when she roamed woods and fields collecting wool and other organic fibres. These she transformed with natural dyes and wove into ‘little worlds’ on a homemade loom.  Since then she has squirreled away jars and jars of fibres – twisted twines and antique silks, lustred and matt threads shimmery and sheening, crocheted cottons and metallic strands – so that her workroom resembles a Parisian brocante. With no formal training, Mrs Gyetvai developed her craft-based fine art while attending evening classes; she derives particular inspiration from the English Romantics.  

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Working from studies in pastels, she ‘paints with the fibres’ on old dyed blankets, moving around the piece like a dancer as she lays them out and punches them in. Then she draws in the lines and builds up the texture of the composition with her threads, stitching them in by hand and machine. The whole process has an affinity with music and ballet, the results being highly rhythmic and expressive of the physical energy that goes into their making. Trees are a favourite motif, conveying the artist’s own emotions as well as the landscape around her home town of Kenilworth. The exhibition runs at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry until 24 January. www.michalagyetvai.co.uk