Nicola Henley’s Textile Art Is Inspired By Birds

Nicola Henley’s art is a colorful mish-mash of weave, embroidery, and print. Her textile pieces are made by a combination of dying, painting with pigments and screen-printing onto cotton calico, and then texturing the surface with various materials, using hand and machine stitch.

A common motif throughout her artwork is birds. “I am continually inspired by the natural world but in particular birds and their movement within the landscape and coastal regions,” Henley writes on her website. “I love studying how they move across the sky and interact with air currents and wave motion, or their distinctive characteristic movement as they feed along shorelines or flock to feeding grounds.”

Using machine and hand stitch, Henley applies fragments of Japanese paper, found paper (which she handprints), dyed muslin, and bits of silk. Large, spacious areas of printed and painted surface contrast with small stitched details, representative of delicate birds in their wild natural environment and the contrast between intricate detail and the vast expanse of surrounding space.

“I hope my work helps to draw attention to the delicate balance of nature and the inter-dependence and connectivity between ourselves and our natural environment,” she says. “I hope that the sense of freedom I try to capture will resonate with everyone that sees it.”

With a BA degree in Fine Art/Textiles at Goldsmith’s College, London, Henley has exhibited her art around the world, in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Japan, the US, and Spain. But you can also enjoy her art from afar, by following her on Instagram.