Charlae Barter

Charlae Barter
Born in the 1950’s in Limpopo Province to the parents of trading store owners, I grew up between two worlds. One where large black scorpion lay basking in the valley’s heat and the mountains, where butterflies were prolific, and streams ran crystal clear. It was here that my creative spirit was born, and search for my artistic identity began. As I had no formal training, I forged through a variety of disciplines, travelling frequently to learn from many inspirational teachers. This gave me the opportunity to both experience and immerse myself in different techniques. I worked with marble carving and bronze casting, where my focus was on human and animal forms. The Japanese textile art of katazome and bingata are where I experimented with natural forms, and the years spent on lithography and printmaking focused predominantly on flora. Finally, intuitive painting and Iconography opened a new dimension of working narratively. Although my creativity was enriched, and horizons broadened I found I had still not found my voice. It was the gradual loss of mobility in my hands that brought me to free motion machine stitching, and it was here, at the beginning of a new untried discipline, practicing circles in random colours that the realisation dawned. I am a child of Africa, with a deep sense of belonging. I have a myriad of tales, both past and present, that are uniquely African to tell in my way. These will be my ‘Conversations in cotton’.

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