A R T I S T - I N S P I R A T I O N by coral fowley

Art is ever changing, as is my relationship with it. As a textile artist, the majority of my portfolio is the outcome of experimentation which I give the stamp of ‘thats alright actually’.

We live in a world of creative innovation and inspiration. Surrounded by influential sources, I would like to share the artists inspire me and why.

Rowan Mersh - Multi-Media Sculptor

I definitively remember stumbling across Mersh’s work my Art and Design Foundation year, 2009. Not only did finding work inspire me, it opened a creative path. My schooling was formal and fine art based, two categories I do not fit at first glance.

I vividly recall spending hours observing  Pithváva Male in all of its delicate beauty.

Rowan Mersh is, and continues to be one of the main reasons I chose to study and practice textiles art.


Rowan Mersh, 2011.  Pithváva Male . (Image: http://wwww.rowanmersh.com)

Rowan Mersh, 2011. Pithváva Male. (Image: http://wwww.rowanmersh.com)

Yayoi Kusama - Avant-garde Sculptor, Painter and Novelist.

I have been a fan of Yayoi Kusama and her work for as long as I can remember. However her retrospective at the Tate Modern, London in 2012, really cementer my love for her practice.

It exhibited nine decades of work. Which to me, showcased the evolution of creativity and how your environment can impact your style. Kasuma has inspired my approach and work ethic more than anything.


Yayoi Kusama, 2016. (Image:   https://www.flickr.com/photos/98052824@N03/30383438991)

Yayoi Kusama, 2016. (Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/98052824@N03/30383438991)

Tara Donovan - Artist

I first became aware of Donovan, similar to Mersh, in my Foundation year. Donovan continues to inspire me for many different reasons, the main two being her use of the everyday objects and use of scale.

I absolutely adore the repetitive nature and streamline colour pallet of Donovan’s work.


Tara Donovan, 2018. (Image: https://www.pacegallery.com/news/3019/tara-donovan-in-hyperobjects-at-ballroom-marfa

Tara Donovan, 2018. (Image: https://www.pacegallery.com/news/3019/tara-donovan-in-hyperobjects-at-ballroom-marfa

Richard McVetis - Artist

This is a totally indulgent addition to the list. I am obsessed with McVetis’ intricate drawings and stitching, partly because I do not have the patience he does.

I found his work on instagram around a year ago and have been inspired since.


Richard McVetis, 2017. (Image: http://www.richardmcvetis.co.uk/light-abstractions-ii)

Richard McVetis, 2017. (Image: http://www.richardmcvetis.co.uk/light-abstractions-ii)

Vanessa Barragao - Textile Artist

Textiles is a medium so varied. As a printer and embroider I am fascinated by any form of textiles which I do not understand. I found Barragao’s work on social media, and have been inspired, perplexed and amazed since.   

Her work encourages me daily to push my medium further.


Vanessa Barragao, 2017. (Image: https://www.vanessabarragao.com/bleached-coral-i)

Vanessa Barragao, 2017. (Image: https://www.vanessabarragao.com/bleached-coral-i)

It is quite clear I am inspired by anything textural or repetitive. I am continuously inspired by the use, creation and exploration of texture, represented in the five artists mentioned.  

I N T R O S P E C T I V E by coral fowley

Introspective marked a milestone in my creative journey; my first solo exhibition. It showcased two years of research and textile exploration. All works on display were visual representations of my creative journey, my artistic evolution from inspiration to understanding.

From sketchbook to exhibition; including original illustrations, textile samples and prints.

This blog post is a brief overview of the exhibition and opening night. 


The above images show the layout of the exhibition. Below are the central pages of the small publication I made for the exhibit. These again illustrate the layout of the exhibit and give a little detail regarding works on display.  


The exhibition, in particular the Private View (as photographed below), allowed me to look at my work with fresh eyes. Learning so much about my own practice and such a boost of confidence. 


The most powerful element of the Private View was witnessing visitors interact with my work. Textiles, to me, is such a sensory experience. Seeing others engage with it was so wonderful. 


Thank you to everyone who came to see my work, I really appreciate your kind words, feedback and support. 


C R E A T I V E - V A L U E by coral fowley

Successful artistry required a balance of creative style and evolution. It is incredibly difficult to  explore new themes without losing your voice as an artist.

With social media being such an active part of sharing new work, it is easy to fall into an endless pit of inspiration.

To prevent this, some artists live by a creative manifesto. An artist manifesto is a public declaration of intent. A commitment to your creativity.

I have always found artist manifestos to be so inspiring. I tend to simplify this method a little, rather than a full manifesto I reference 5 core values I strive towards daily.

My Five Creative Values;

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1) Authenticity - My work is an outward reflection of the inner thoughts and feelings. It is an expression. I strive towards creating work which is authentically me.

2) Exploration - I believe creativity is exploration. Striving not for perfection but for continual development.

3) Technical Development - I am committed  to learning new skills within my field. Craft specialisms are often referred to as a ‘practice’. This reflects my approach entirely.  

4) Creative Development - Similar to Technical Development this is  a commitment to learning. However where Technical Development refers to tools, techniques and software, Creative development refers to self evolution and a recognisable style.

5) Research -  Research continues to give my work purpose and impact. It is the main thread holding every project together. For me, research constantly inspires my work to grow within clear boundaries.  

These 5 simple values help me to stay true to my creativity. They encourage me to push myself, yet stay authentic to my craft. No two artists will share the same creative values. They, like us, are individual.

C R E A T I V E - R O U T I N E by coral fowley

Creativity and Routine.

I am someone who plans obsessively. I think this derives from a need of routine and ritual. Sundays are my day of regularity. For me they consist of prepping for the week ahead.

I would like to share a little insight to my creative process. It has been a long and tedious journey to find my ‘method’ and to be honest it will continue to be. What you’re never told in any creative endeavour, is that no one can really show you how to design or how to make. They can only share the essential tools to do so.  *Exploration is experimental, as is creativity.*


I learnt early on how I need to document my progression, ideas and exploration. Without a sketchbook I am completely lost.

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My work explores many different areas of study. Working in a sketchbook keeps a thread of consistency to my work, even if I can not see it myself

I am motivated by a need to create a visual response to what I am researching. It allows me to learn with my hands, to explore research in an unconventional but effective way. 

My Creative Cycle.

My creative process is a continuous cycle of exploration, excitement and of course self doubt. 

I use my sketchbook for recording inspirational quotes, my feelings towards them, sketches as well as theory. I see it as a safe place for facts to meet my own words. Sketchbooks are so personal, there is no set way of using them. I tend to write more than most in my sketchbook. My hand writing seems to change completely, it becomes just as important and as visual as the drawing.

I never draw or read with a specific design or product in mind. I just play. There is no science to it, I just draw until something happens. My practice is a hybrid of hand rendered experimentation and digital design. 

I am so connected to my sketchbook as it offers a safe space for design. It allows for mistakes. 

A sketchbook is the place my creativity is born and is an essential part of my creative process.