Judith Rouhani
Textile Artist, South Africa


JUDITH ROUHANI - TEXTILE ARTIST.
CONTEMPORARY SILK TEXTILES.

I would first describe myself as a colourist who has chosen textiles as a medium of expression. I use white silk as a base for my work and treat it as a blank canvas. A design is roughly outlined, and then with free machining I start laying down blocks of colour. The work evolves naturally, often changing from the original idea. The designs are inspired by the African culture, the shapes and patterns that surround us. The colours are symbolic, the language of colour being an expression of the soul. My belief is that “work is worship” and should be carried out in the “spirit of prayer”, I worked to the highest standard. I work on several themes at a time. ‘Burn away is the veils’ worked in hot vibrant colours express the release and flow of creative fire. ‘The earth split open’ worked in gold’s and metallic black express the eternal search for spiritual truths. My work mirrors my continuous journey. The designs reflect the world without, the colours the world within.

Judith Rouhani is a textile artist living and working in Claremont, Cape Town. She trained overseas, studying fashion and classical embroidery for four years Swansea College of Art. She then joined the staff at the Royal School of Needlework where the variety of work included restoring valuable tapestries from stately homes and work on the Overlord Tapestry. (commissioned to commemorate the Allies D-Day invasion of Normandy on 6th of June 1944.) Further studies resulted in a higher diploma with honours from Brighton Polytechnic, plus a teaching diploma from Newcastle Polytechnic.

Thereafter she worked as a professional textile artist and lecturer, and exhibited widely throughout Britain and undertook commissioned work for the Derby Museum. The artist taught textile art as a course at the University of Cape Town Winter and Summer school. She taught at the Montebello Design Centre, Frank Joubert Art Centre and has worked at the Community Arts Project with women from disadvantaged communities. She has undertaken several commissions, including one for the South African Embassy in Germany, one of her works forms the centrepiece of a church in Grahamstown. Her textiles have become collector’s pieces, and are in art collections world – wide. Each work is signed, numbered and dated, each design unique. The artist has developed a technique where even the background of the work has patterns within patterns, the works becoming almost three dimensional in feel. The African light and vibrant mix of colours and traditional African patterns are the artist’s inspiration, these influences are expressed through the use of exotic silk fabrics, threads and beads in rich colours, each art work edged with Ethiopian silver/ copper or brass rings.

She exhibits regularly both Nationally and Internationally, and has also held a solo exhibition in Seattle, and exhibited in Ohio, U.S.A. The artist has also been involved with the South African National Gallery assisting with the conservation of their textiles and the SANG education department. Her work changes constantly as she stretches and mixes techniques, she produced a series of functional art pieces which included silk waistcoats based on traditional African designs, these were purchased and worn by envoys in the South African Embassies overseas. Her current works include silk bags and cushions with applied artwork, decorated with Venetian glass beads, and Ethiopian rings of silver, copper or brass, as with her art works each piece is unique. Her attention to fine detail and finish reflects her spiritual belief that “work is worship”.


these pages submitted to africancraft.com by Judith Rouhani,
Oct. 2003 -- last updated, Oct. 2003