Tamlin Blake - Artist
Location: Riebeek Valley
Tamlin Blake is a professional multi-media South African artist. She holds a Masters Degree in Fine Art from the University of Stellenbosch.
The major themes of Blake’s work have revolved around cross-cultural South African symbols of wealth and status. More recently though she is interested in what constitutes and underpins each individual’s sense of belonging and identity. This can be seen in the interplay of influences in her recycled newspaper tapestries, which visually and conceptually explore how stories weave themselves around us. The often seemingly surreal rise and fall of contemporary heroes, the successes and tragedies of ordinary people and the births and deaths of neighbours are part of the everyday yet sometimes bizarre events which insinuate themselves into our reality and affect our thinking.
In 2010, after a self-imposed six month sabbatical during which time she focused exclusively on the private world of her new family, she started looking for something new and exciting. She lives in a small town out in the countryside and since living here she has developed a fairly solitary lifestyle. An aspect of her country life is the greater awareness she has developed of the physical, earthly world around her. "In the city it is easier to forget that wheat grows in fields and grapes are harvested from vines. It is necessary for us all to live closer to the earth and to develop a deeper concern for the health of our environment. Yes, I have jumped on the re-cycling band wagon and feel it should be an obvious part of our way of life. In order to deal with the accumulation of newspaper in my house I experimented with dying and spinning it. Eventually when I could spin it fine enough I saw the potential for it to become a tapestry medium and promptly became obsessed."
Hence the development of Altered Yarns, a body of work which reflects our interconnected dependence on others, how their lives and stories influence us and form a process which recycles the litter of our lives into a lush and beautiful story-telling medium.