Ruthin Craft Centre
The Centre for the Applied Arts


Gallery 1

Jeanette Orrell

Drawings on Indigo 22 April – 2 July 2023

Indigo is woven through our consciousness in the colour of hills, sea and sky. It is an intimately familiar colour that somehow remains equally strange. From unsuspectingly green leaves, a blue pigment is drawn and imbued universally with the deepest of spiritual and societal worth.

Combining a daily drawing practice with the ancient art of indigo dyeing, Jeanette Orrell’s work reflects the power of art to process life’s events. Drawings on Indigo brings together a body of work developed in the period following the loss of her father, contemplating experiences of mourning, recovery and regrowth. The work speaks to universal experience through a personal journey, sensitively and eloquently conveying the slow patterns of regrowth that follow grief. Abstracted botanical forms resist-dyed onto wool and hand-stitched collages made from naturally dyed linens show an artistic practice that employs a range of creative vocabularies whilst remaining rooted in drawing.

Born in Leigh, Lancashire in 1964, Orrell studied ceramics at Camberwell School of Art (1982–1985). Following graduation from Camberwell, she travelled between London, Japan, and Greece before eventually returning to the North West of England, where she worked from home whilst bringing up two daughters. She has been living and working in Wales for over 20 years and in 2017, was a recipient of the Arts Council of Wales Creative Wales Award. The award granted her funding to travel back to Japan in order to study indigo dyeing at a farm in the foothills of Mt. Fuji. Her work weaves together a fine art practice with craft techniques and is informed by understandings of familial ties, nature, making and motherhood.