Studio Visit

How This Artist Creates Intricate Artworks From Individual Coloured Threads

From afar Nathalie Dumont’s eye-catching and colourful works look to be hand-painted. It’s not until you get up close that you realise each piece is made up of individual threads, meticulously laid and wrapped around a canvas.

It takes her up to several days to complete a piece — more if she’s hand-dying the thread and fabric herself!

See how she uses her background in architecture and graphic design to inform her work, and what her intricate creative process entails below!

Written
by
Emily Holgate
|
Photography
by

Nathalie Dumont at her Richmond studio.

Each piece of canvas is wrapped with individual threads of fabric!

The detail and texture is best seen up close.

Pops of colour inspired by nature.

Nathalie’s larger pieces can take several days to complete.

Planning and inspiration.

Just a handful of Nathalie’s artworks!

Where the magic happens.

Each thread is individually laid and attached.

A big pile of colourful yarn to choose from!

‘Colour has such a profound effect on our mood and general happiness,’ Nathalie says.

From afar the pieces might be mistaken for a painting. Only up close can you see the detail of the textiles.

Writer
Emily Holgate
Photography
1st of July 2024

Upon first glance at one of Nathalie Dumont’s vibrant canvas artworks, you might think it’s hand painted, or crafted from pieces of fabric.

On the contrary, Nathalie spends up to several days wrapping thousands of rows of individually laid and attached cotton threads around each piece of canvas — a meticulous and time consuming but ultimately rewarding process.

‘I have always been fascinated with how objects — whether that be a building, a piece of packaging or a magazine — are created, from ideation to construction,’ she says.

Working with textiles and fibres was a natural transition for the artist, who studied architecture at The University of Melbourne and graphic design at RMIT. But after exploring various mediums and techniques within the industry, Nathalie always found herself drawn back to textiles — in particular, cotton, wool and fabric.

‘I love how this material can be so diverse, from a daily use item to being part of a fine piece of art hanging in a gallery,’ she explains. ‘The versatility and possibility of these materials is what fascinates me.’

Nathalie’s artwork is the perfect example of something you need to see in the flesh to truly appreciate. It has a distinctive and almost illusive feel, made possible by the texture of the yarn intricately wrapped around the canvas.

But it’s her bold use of colour in tandem with textural elements that makes her work so evocative — exploring the relationship between colour and mood.

You might see deep shades of red inspired by outback Australia, or vivid pink and orange hues from tulip fields in the Netherlands. Combined with horizontal lines to reflect those in nature, Nathalie says her aim is for her pieces to inspire a connection with our surrounding environmental scenes — both built and natural.

For her most recent exhibition, Nathalie sourced her cotton threads from Europe. However she has previously been creative in her approach, dyeing locally produced wool yarn with natural plant materials like avocado pits, onion skins and even exotic dye produced from cochineal bugs!

Once dyed, she explains how the process of wrapping individual threads requires plenty of patience, time and focus. It can take anywhere from a few hours to several days depending on the size of the piece!

It might sound tedious, but Nathalie says despite classifying herself as an impatient person, the repetition of her creative process allows her to completely immerse herself in the action.

‘I go into this incredibly focused zone when working on larger pieces,’ she says. ‘It’s truly a mediation for me; a space where I completely lose myself and am able to solely focus on what I am doing with my hands.’

And if that’s not impressive enough, she does all of this while managing her family’s cafe in Richmond, the Rowena Corner Store! Nathalie used her background in architecture and design to helm a complete renovation of the space, and to continue managing the shop’s digital and printed communication. What a powerhouse!

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