My name is Kelly Darke. As an artist, I use new and recycled materials to create highly textured hand embroidered art that evokes a positive visceral response. I am fascinated with the therapeutic benefits of fiber art. I use myself as a research participant, gathering information about the calming effects art has on me – both creating art and viewing art. I use the traditional technique of hand embroidery because I feel there is an intuitive, calming connection between fiber art and mood. I believe that our sense of touch is directly linked to emotions and fibers are a part of all of our lives from the blanket we were swaddled in as a baby to the clothes we currently wear.
My own clothing is often recycled into my abstract art pieces. I have yarn that I gathered by unraveling a favorite sweater that had too many holes in it but I couldn’t bear to throw it out. I have scraps of fabric from my children’s art projects or old clothes. I recycle vintage sheets into the canvas I work on. All these layers represent aspects of our selves and our community.
Not only does my work reflect the tactile aspects of fiber, but my method of stitching reflects the layers of our existence. The layers of our personality, thoughts, and moods. Humans are complex and how we interact with the world around us is complex. The more that is layered upon us through personal responsibilities, work objectives, media consumption, and the health of our global community, the more we need calm and organized space. Fiber art is a way to achieve that calm and organized space. I stitch as an active meditation to help create some order to the constant running of my thoughts. Stitching helps slow my internal dialog and allows me to focus.
I use the traditional technique of hand embroidery to intuitively create contemporary art that reflects my aesthetic and regulates my mood.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Kelly Darke (b. 1973) is a Metro Detroit fiber artist. Darke creates highly textured hand embroidered abstract art using new and recycled material. She is inspired by neuroscience and art therapy. Her work with texture and color evokes a positive visceral response in the viewer. In addition to abstracts, Darke also creates hand embroidered portraits. Prior to working in fibers, Darke created abstract oil paintings with a similar focus on color, texture, and composition. After the birth of her first child, she shifted her creative practice to using fibers, a more accessible and flexible studio practice.
Darke uses her art to develop techniques to help others find ways to create calmer, more peaceful lives. She has created and presented countless art therapy experientials that can be used as an active meditation to regulate mood. Darke has written on the therapeutic aspects of art for magazines, an edited book, as well as co-authored a book for art therapy professionals. Creating art and sharing the benefits of art with the community are essential to her work.