Material Limitations: Textile Artist and Weaver Carley Mullally

5 April 2023

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I’ve been aware of the work of textile artist Carley Mullally for several years, but I got to know them when they participated in Craft Nova Scotia’s 2021 annual members’ exhibition, Symbiosis. This collaborative show asked craftspeople to work with other artists in different craft mediums or outside of craft entirely. Mullally collaborated with Scotian Shores, a non-profit organization focused on beach cleanup along the shores of Nova Scotia.

Mullally’s most recent works can be seen, along with the work of Gillian Marady-Jowsey and Inbal Newman, at the Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery exhibition, CRAFTS___SHIP in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from February 4 to April 16, 2023.

And see more on their Instagram and website.

 Working with Carley as an exhibitor gave me a great sense of how much research goes into their work, particularly the cultural aspects of the fisheries and the ecological aspect of debris from the fishing industry that ends up on the shores.

According to Mullally, they are technically a weaver. Drawn to the tools, equipment, and history of weaving, they attended graduate school in the U.K. specifically for weaving and focussed on methodical explorations of structure, combining knitting and weaving to create fabrics in a variety of ways.

Arriving in London, Mullally felt landlocked. It was their first time being away from the ocean, and they couldn’t access the materials they were accustomed to using. The cost of materials, and Mullally’s professors urging them to work—and think—bigger, led them to realize that they needed to start making their own materials. There was a natural progression to making their own equipment so they could use thicker yarns and thicker ropes. Mullally began drawing from references to Atlantic Canadian or coastal themes, and nautical motifs.

Images courtesy of Carley Mullally.

Copyright © Julie Rosvall except as indicated.
Image description: White woman with shoulder-length hair wearing a green cardigan over a black dress holds a large white metal wheel on the side of a letterpress machine.

About Julie Rosvall

Julie Rosvall grew up in New Brunswick, and moved to Wolfville, Nova Scotia in 1998 where she started her career as a textile artist. In 2010 Julie began experimenting with printmaking, exploring transferring the patterns & textures of textiles to paper. Her current practice is now focused on textile relief prints and copper soft ground etchings of knitted swatches and shawls. Julie has started & moved on from two satisfying fine craft businesses. The 1st a farm wool shop which she is pleased to say is still a vibrant part of the fibre arts community. The 2nd was with her husband & partner Peter, where they produced custom architectural concrete, garnering international attention for design & quality. Julie is a juried member of Craft Nova Scotia and Craft New Brunswick for spinning, dyeing, knitting, printmaking & architectural concrete. From 2003-22 Julie worked with Craft Nova Scotia, and is committed to continuing to foster the fine craft community, and make connections within the culture sector and through collaborations across industries. Connect with Julie at her website, podcast, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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