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Sally Tyrie | Finding deeper meaning for your artwork

Mixed Media Artist Sally Tyrie discussed artistic collaborations and giving your art meaning during an interview with Fibre Arts Take Two.     

Mixed media artist Sally Tyrie converted a little shed in her backyard during COVID. Fibre Arts Take Two recently caught up with her to speak about her mini-studio and all things art. 

“I nicked my husband’s shed off him, and I turned it into a little studio!” exclaims Sally. “At first, it was a bit of a darkroom and then it turned into a functional painting and printmaking space.”  

Even though her shed/studio will probably start to be cluttered with garden tools, and COVID restrictions are easing, Sally will keep using it. 

“It’s actually brilliant for photographing artwork,” she explains. “When you’re photographing your creations, you don’t want shadows, and my shed has windows that give really good light.” 

Other artists will understand Sally’s frustration with photographing art and how shots often don’t do your projects justice. “I’ve always had better luck when I’ve been entering competitions where I’ve taken the work along and left it with them to look at,” she says. 

The only benefit of photos is how people often comment after purchasing art based on images they have seen that their works are “so much better than the picture.”


Artist collaboration

During her chat with Fibre Arts Take Two, Sally shared a bit about her experience working with fellow artist Helen Terry, who she has been collaborating with for several years. 

“I could see a relationship between our use of colour, work with fine and subtle marks and the context of our work,” she says. “So I contacted Helen, and we started working on a project based around Wicken Fen nature reserve.” 

“At first, we walked around with a camera, but then the owners at the location supported a more installation-based project. Then we went on to work on a gallery exhibition.” 

Sally explained how teaming up with another artist enlightened her to a different perspective and approach. “It’s a real joy to work with another artist and see things from their perspective. You have your own approach; then they come in with theirs. When you embrace different viewpoints, it’s such a rewarding thing.” 

Sally and Helen also created a project catalogue together. “It’s amazing how you can add value to your exhibition by creating a publication that people can buy. I think that’s a great way for people to take the exhibition home with them if they can’t afford to buy a piece.”

“The last project we worked on has been based around the east coast,” Sally says, “It has been a couple of years, but we’re really excited about the work that has come out of it. We are hoping to have an exhibition soon.” 

The creative process

When asked about her creative process. Sally explains, “It’s kind of twofold and quite layered. It usually starts with photography of a certain place, but invariably, and because I kind of love history, I like to investigate a little bit more about each place.”

Working on the east coast, Sally discovered fascinating geographical history and investigated elements like erosion, salt marshes and the effects of time on the natural landscape.

“There used to be a land bridge between the UK and the European continent, then gradually climate change happened, and the sea levels rose. I started thinking about how to incorporate that into my work,” she explains.


Take risks with your work

Sally talks about her unconventionality when asked how she would like to be remembered as an artist. 

“When my art starts getting too ‘safe’, I kick myself,” she says. “I’m hard to pigeonhole; I’m a gallery’s worst nightmare because I tend to chop and change.”

“I used to get told off for flitting too much from one thing to another and trying different things to find a way around a problem. Now, I always tell my students to take a risk. Even if you mess it up, it’s what you learn from making that journey. That’s the part I enjoy.” 


About the artist

Growing up in a creative family, Sally Tyrie has art running through her veins, which she has proudly passed on to her own children. Best known for her beautiful printmaking, mixed media and photography, Sally has combined and refined her techniques to create sublime effects. Inspired by the landscapes of the United Kingdom, Sally’s artwork incorporates machine and hand stitches to selectively collage layers of deconstructed paper prints and drawings as a way of reimagining the landscape.

As well as exhibiting work across the UK and internationally, Sally is a much-loved teacher within the Fiber Arts Australia family.


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