Portrait With Polly
By Sandi Kiehlmann

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Year
1996
Media
Textiles and Craft
Subject Matter
People
Reg. Number
P666
Size
97 x 69 cm

This embroidered portrait shows off Sandi Kiehlmann's skills with textiles: the regular, hexagonal machine weave of the background contrasts with the rough textures used to create the bird's feathers. The leaves appear transparent, but are in fact embroidered in white fabric. The image is highly stylised and creative in its proportions. The falling leaves suggest an autumnal setting, yet Kiehlmann has chosen a cool blue colour palette which, although limited, nonetheless provides a strong contrast and ensures that the details of the bird and the subject's clothes stand out. These gentle tones, combined with the smooth weave of the fabric and the calm expression of the figure, contribute to the sense of serenity that the work exudes. Despite the regularity of the fabric, there are hints of spontaneity of design in the leaves, which have all been embroidered individually and have a unique number of veins, and in the rough, dynamic weave of the bird's body, giving it a fuller, more three-dimensional appearance. The pattern on the subject's clothes mirrors the pattern of the leaves, suggesting transparency.

Sandi Kiehlmann was born in 1964 and studied Embroidered and Woven Textiles in Glasgow. She specialises in textiles, though often experiments in other forms, such as drawing, found object sculptures and outdoor artwork. In addition to lecturing in Art and Design, she has exhibited widely across Scotland and the Midlands, and undertaken a great number of community public art commissions.

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