Orla Cook is a textile artist with a passion for the textural, physical quality of her craft. She makes ‘art with feeling’ in the sense that you can feel and touch the work, but also, representing energy, emotions and sensations. She grew up making, drawing and sculpting before turning to a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Ecology. A self-taught fibre artist, Orla has honed her skills through sheer hard work – with Melbourne’s lengthy lockdowns providing her with time for hours and hours of practice.
Her work is made entirely of yarn, thousands of tiny loops of wool that are individually poked through fabric with a punch needle, and then stretched over a frame. While it is highly labour-intensive, Orla Cook finds the practice meditative and carefully plans each piece by sketching her ideas on paper first, and then transferring them to her ipad where she explores colour palettes, scale and composition.
Heavily influenced by the mid-century modernist design movement, her geometric forms and flowing curves are symbolic of our human states of emotion. Zig zags represent bold confidence, while fluid line-work speaks to a gentle, calm energy reflective of the artist herself. Her geometric compositions explore balance and imbalance creating a juxtaposition between the materiality of the yarn with the hard-edges of the shapes.