Tina Fox is a visual artist and designer working in textiles and craft, her current work explores hand crafted techniques to reflect on digital printing, manufacturing and the future of craft in the modern age.

She was a finalist in the 2020 Woollhara Small Sculpture Prize and has recently completed a commission for the Tamworth Textile Triennial : Tensions 20/20 curated by Vic McEwan which will open in Tamworth at the start of August 2020. The exhibition will then tour for 3 years including Mosman Art Gallery in October 2020. 


Tell us a little bit about why you do what you do.

I have always loved creativity and logic thrown together. I studied architecture in the UK and after qualifying began working on interior design projects for heritage buildings and hospitality venues across Europe. Since moving to Australia 10 years ago I have carried on working in the industry and currently work at a Sydney firm Scott Carver. I dabbled in public art project sin the UK and started this up agin in Sydney, producing 2 giant crochet rope and LED commissions for Vivid. Since then I have really begun to explore the more conceptual side of my textile practice and the place of craft in contemporary society.

What is your favourite process?

Textiles have always been my passion and I now focus on crochet specifically. I find it a very free form and experimental textile medium that talks to my love of three dimensions. Crochet is fascinating because it cannot be automated unlike knitting, weaving or embroidery. Due to that very fact I am currently exploring ways in which crochet can become part of a digital expression. Filet crochet in particular, uses a kind of binary coding to create open and closed squares that make up pixelated images. I am also exploring ways that I can use crochet to create digital expressions in other ways such as animation. These experiments and follies become a kind of craft fiction, a glimpse into the future.

In one word tell us what your art is about.

Conceptual crochet…two words!

What are you working on at the moment?

I have been following the Tamworth Textile Triennial for years as an exemplary example of current textile practice and innovative artists. So I was very excited to be chosen by the curator Vic Mcewan to be part of the Triennial for 2020. Vic’s curatorial approach is really fresh and almost prophetic. The theme is Tensions 2020 and the artists are exploring new perspectives and the futures of people and place through textile as a material and human experience as materiality. The theme seems particularly resonant now post bushfires, Covid and American unrest. We really do need to start looking at the world with a different perspective as we simply can’t carry on the way that we are going. My piece is called ‘Crochet Machine; and is a sculpture, or craft fiction, of an imaginary automated crochet making machine that blends the aesthetic values of a 3-d printer, a chintzy domestic couch and a futuristic android. The piece also includes a 4 m length of filet crochet and a stop motion animation that appears to be growing the textile work. It’s a conceptual look into the future of craft and how we might be able to keep it relevant in an increasingly digitized and potentially materially scarce future.

What’s the biggest challenge for you as an artist?

Time! Crochet is very very slow so it takes me a long time to produce work. My head and ideas are always way ahead of my production.

History tells us that artistic practice will survive this pandemic. What are 2 ways you think your industry will change for the better through this experience?

I have been thinking about practising meditation for a while now. I am not yet but I understand that once you give the chance for your brain and body to be quiet for a while you begin to see things in a different way. I really hope that this is happening to artists and their practice too. That they take the opportunity to slow the pace, be quiet and realise new ideas. This gives us a huge potential for increased creativity following Covid, something that we really need if we are ever going to solve some of the global, social and environmental problems out there.

Given the chance to attend one show, gig, festival, exhibition or event right now what would it be?

I love the Sydney and Melbourne art galleries but Adelaide and the Art gallery of South Australia has a special place in my heart. The shows there are always incredible with top notch curation. The 2020 Adelaide biennial of Australian Art, Monster Theatres, is on and I am gutted! I was particularly looking forward to seeing the work by Stelarc who I studied at the Bartlett school of Architecture in London.

People around the globe are experiencing their city, neighbourhoods and environments in an entirely different way. What’s your favourite discovery over the past month?

We love kayaking as a family and the four of us have discovered some very secluded and isolated harbour beaches by kayak that were pure heaven during the most serious lock down phase.

What surprising thing have you learnt about yourself during lockdown?

I actually feel more connected to the world now than before. I have taken a bit of down time to increase my knowledge and curiosity and have gone on a bit of a webinar, podcast and virtual networking binge. I actually feel like my mind is more open to the world and it’s possibilities, rather than when I am going through the hamster wheel motions of regular pre-covid life trying to fit everything in very badly and feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

If you could speak to your 12 year old self, what advice would you give?

Don’t follow the rules. We’re all fallible humans and the rules of society are just made by other fallible humans. Sometimes those rules make sense but the majority of the time they don’t. Don’t take anybody’s word for it, question them, find your own truth and break the rules that you need to.