Following the earlier post about Merchant and Mills, we’d like to introduce another local artist, Michael Birch. A textile artist, Michael prints the most eclectic designs on beautiful chiffon and silk fabrics. As you can see, he is something of a magpie, collecting imagery from all over the place and creating some very personal mixtures.
“I use different pictures for differing reasons. Some are added for style, narrative and others to induce a movement, feeling or even a specific sound. Ambiguous images which contrast against each other are used to create a visual movement as they resonate in opposing themes and contrasting meaning. Depictions of birds and bugs are used to heighten my fear of fast animal motions, like fluttering and scurrying. Portraits of singers such as Edith Piaf emit a powerful associated sound and extracts from great poems give the textile a ‘holistic completeness’ adding to the melee of dancing girls, flexing muscle men and pecking birds.
I surround myself with observational drawings and paintings, found objects/ images, photographs, postcards, fabric scrapes. I draw to music and listen to descriptive poetry, give myself unrealistic time frame to complete work and of course think about my next creations-twenty four seven. A strong theme or themes naturally emerges linked to Beauty, greed, redemption or vanity and jealousy. Discussing more than one theme or intention allows the work to demand a conversation with the viewer as they get drawn in to a world of swirls and dots, figures and flowers, ” explains Michael.