A dark, grey Lower Chittering day was interrupted by bursts of colour when visiting Bianca Butler, fibre artist and founder of Earth, Wool and Fibre.
Bianca is a self-taught in fibre art, which involves using a punch needle tool to punch wool into a foundation fabric, creating loops on the other side. Its origins have been traced to both ancient Egypt and medieval Europe and has come in and out of fashion over the years, and is currently gaining popularity in Australia.
Fibre art creates three-dimensional, voluminous, tactile wall art and can even be adapted for fashion and homewares. Bianca explains how she became enamoured with fibre art: “I wanted to learn crochet and stumbled across punch needle art. I got a little kit and fell in love with it.
“It’s very meditative and mindful — the repetitive nature really slows you down, especially if you have a hectic head!”
Bianca won the Textile Art Award in the Litchfield Art exhibition in 2020 for her piece Tribute. The piece is a topographical impression of Willie Creek in Broome which reflects the Australian landscape that inspires her.
Recently relocated from the Northern Territory, Bianca is intensifying her skills as a fibre artist by dyeing her own merino wool.
“In the NT, there wasn’t much point in me having a lot of wool on hand for anything other than my fibre art,” she explains. “When we moved, it was a great chance to start dyeing my own wool. It gives me the ability to be able to do my art exactly how I want.”
A great side benefit has been demand from knitters and artists to purchase her hand-dyed wool for use in their own projects.
“I launched in May and the response has been pretty positive!” said Bianca. “I use Australian undyed bare merino wool and Australian dyes — everything I source is Australian-made actually, right down to the packaging.
“I named the business Earth, Wool and Fibre because I’m really drawn to earthy colours and tones, but pink and purple are proving really popular!”
Bianca will have artwork submitted in the upcoming Ellenbrook-Swan Art Awards and you can purchase her wool online at www.earthwoolandfibre.com.au. She will also have stall at The Orchard Perth’s Artisan Market on September 11.
You can keep up to date on her socials, @earth.wool.and.fibre on Instagram and @EarthWoolandFibre on Facebook.