Sally Spens worked as a textile designer in London and Japan before taking her drawings into etchings which often recall the subtleties and richness of textiles. The subject matter of her delicate, intricate etchings is drawn from the natural world, and the preoccupation is with beauty, rhythm and pattern.
A graduate of Goldsmiths’ College, Spens’ return to etching has again led east, where there is little divide between fine and applied arts. Her prints have been exhibited in Hong Kong and Singapore with Fine Art Consultancy who represent British and Japanese artists and in 2015, her work was selected by Prof. Lui Xiangke for inclusion in the Xiaoxiang International Printmaking Exhibition in China. Spens’ work is also frequently exhibited alongside Modern British artists in London, New York, Milan, and Miami.
“Drawing has always been central to my practice, both as a textile designer and as a painter/printmaker. It is important to me that the images are handmade, and originate from my drawings and experience. Working with a Japanese company for seven years on designs for summer kimonos, which are so much a part of Japanese culture, has also been a major influence, particularly in the compositional botanical works. The etchings of imagined pots link to another discipline of the applied arts – ceramics. Images drawn from memory and observation combine with that of vessels, linking associations with both.”
— Sally Spens
There is a simplicity to her work, and precision in the visual language, akin to poetry in the way that meaning can unfold from finely worked lines.