“dream Weaver” – An exhibition of weaving
– Marie Gnanaraj-

Imagine wooden tools firmly embedded in a woven cloth. Imagine a burst of colourful knots stemming out from a wall hanging. Imagine a trophy perched in the centre of an extravagant hand woven wall mount. Imagine.

Marie Gnanaraj’s latest exhibition is all about stretching the boundaries of contemporary weaving techniques in to the realm of 3D imagery. Marie sees the woven cloth as not just cloth, but as one of the most powerful forms of artistic expression. She believes that the versatility of weaving, in being able to manipulate the colour, the texture and the design to create a myriad of striking images is what makes the woven cloth unique.

Marie’s exhibition is centred around two powerful themes; the tools of weaving and the weaver’s knot. Each element is subtlely incorporated in to the body of her work.

“I see the shape and structure of simple weaving tools such as bobbins, perns and stick shuttles in itself as works of art. I wanted to incorporate these tools in to my weaving. At the same time I had to devise a way of holding these objects in place, which was quite a challenge. In this process, I discovered the weaver’s knot.”

Marie believes that when weaving, one constantly needs to keep joining the threads to continue the weaving process, and hence, the knot becomes the solution for broken threads. She notes that this fundamental principal of the knot inspired her to bring colour, texture and volume to her work.

Marie has used a range of striking red, Gold and earthen shades in her work, which accentuate her desire to give the canvas greater texture and volume.

As a result of living and working among the looms for over two decades, Marie has also had the opportunity to experiment with different materials such as coir, wire and newspaper in her weaving, which she has used in some of her famous installations at Kandalama Hotel and Amanwella Resort, Tangalle.

Marie’s exposure to the world of fabric design dates back to 1980, where she apprenticed with renowned artist Barbara Sansoni, who taught her the techniques of colour and design. She now serves as a senior designer at Barefoot (Pvt) Ltd.

Marie’s exhibition of colourful expressions of weaving will be on from the 27th of November to the 13th of December 2009 at the Barefoot Gallery, 704 Galle Road, Colombo 03.

Form and Space


My clay pieces evolve organically and take shape as I build them – I rarely have a plan at the outset and allow the piece to speak for itself. Coiling pots is a slow process, one of the most ancient ways of shaping clay and I enjoy the simplicity of it.

The pots are shaped, joined and smoothed several times with basic modeling tools and burnished when the clay is leather hard. The first firing takes place in a gas kiln. The final finish is achieved by smoking the pots in a brick pit in and other combustible materials to give varying effects.

The process of smoke firing clay pieces is one of the most ancient forms of craft dating back to the pre-dynastic Egyptian potters (c 3500 BC). Primitive open firing is still being used in many cultures today, including Sri Lanka, with locally dug clay. This method of work is becoming more and more popular as an expression of works of art with clay.

Yvette has lived in Galle for the lat 6 years. Before that she lived and worked in Wales and California.

Yvette Spowers - Invitation

ART FOR A CAUSE: Otara to sell paintings for Embark

Fashion retail icon and animal welfare advocate Otara Gunewardene will part with paintings from her collection to raise funds for her pet cause Embark, one of the best known cause-related brands cum personal community projects in the country.

The paintings will go on display and sale at the Barefoot Gallery, Colombo 3, from Friday, 6th to Sunday, 8th November. All proceeds will go towards the purchase of a vehicle for Embark’s projects to rehabilitate and re-home Sri Lanka’s ubiquitous stray dogs.

“I have decided to use part of my collection for a good cause,” said Ms Gunewardene. “I hope this will also bring greater awareness of what Embark is trying to achieve.”

The paintings (price on request) are by artists Sanjeewa Kumara, Druvinka Madawala and Chamilia Gamage. The Barefoot Gallery at 704, Galle Road, Colombo 3, will be open from 10 am to 7pm on Saturday 7th November and from 11 am to 5 pm the following day.

An Embark information kiosk will be manned at the Gallery during the exhibition and sale to disseminate information on the project.

Embark was launched in March 2007 as a personal community project of Otara Gunewardene, the founder and CEO of ODEL, Sri Lanka’s definitive fashion and lifestyle retail chain. The project’s aim is to reduce cruelty to animals and promote animal wellbeing through a series of activities including sterilization surgeries and puppy re-homing campaigns, caring for injured stray animals and educating the public about the importance of animal welfare.

Since its inception, Embark has helped change the mentality and thinking patterns of the community by encouraging love of community animals. The project has to date sterilized nearly 2300 strays in 13 campaigns.

Embark is funded principally by the sale of a popular and fast growing range of fun clothing, accessories and pet products that bears the same brand name. Uniting fashion and animal welfare, the Embark collection consist hundreds of items including T shirts and sweaters, kids’ and toddlers’ clothing, headwear and slippers, jewellery and accessories such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants, ties and cufflinks, bags, stationery, soft toys, mugs, key chains, photo albums and frames, wind chimes and fridge magnets and bowls, toys, food, leashes and harnesses, beds and accessories for pets.