Photography is an exciting new direction for former woven textile designer, Sarah Gallifent.
After graduating from West Surrey College of Art and Design, Farnham in 1985, Sarah set up her own workshop, designing and producing woven wool and silk scarves and shawls, on the hand and power loom. These luxury, Eastern influenced, fashion accessories were sold in high quality shops, galleries and fairs (including Europe's finest, Chelsea Craft Fair) throughout the country and abroad. Sarah presented illustrated lectures about her woven textiles, as well as her work with indigo dyeing and resist techniques on cloth. As a qualified teacher, Sarah taught art and design as well as specialist textile subjects to primary and secondary school children, undergraduates and adults. Sarah was also involved in the restoration and conservation of antique, Oriental carpets and rugs.
After starting a family and then moving to North Devon in 1999, Sarah felt the need for change in her creative output as well. Film photography had an important supplementary role in her textile business, by recording images as inspirations, archiving designs and producing fashion imagery for publicity purposes. Having acquired a digital SLR in 2005, it was now time to focus exclusively on photography and for Sarah to apply all her textile vision to this new art form.
The essential elements of textile design – colour, contrast, texture, pattern, and the effects of light and movement– are still important to Sarah and have been naturally transferred to the field of digital photography. By expressing herself in this new medium, but staying faithful to her textile tradition, striking images are captured two dimensionally, highlighting linear features which weave through the fabric of the picture.
Sarah's work is inspired by the richness and variety of the natural world, both landscape and close up, but nature's effects on the man-made environment also attract her. Constantly searching for a sense of order, Sarah successfully tames the irregularities of nature, into a structured, well proportioned photographic representation. By paying attention to detail, Sarah uses the camera lens to isolate an object, extract it from its context and remove any indication of scale, resulting in a novel, abstract image that may tease and intrigue, stimulate and challenge the viewer's imagination.