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Ilka White’s practice spans projects in textiles, sculpture, art-in-community and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Her work often responds to the forces at play within the natural world and reflects the principles of sustainability. An abiding interest in world textile traditions also informs many aspects of Ilka’s making and teaching practice. In 2000 she undertook a Churchill fellowship, learning from weavers of traditional textiles in Indonesia, India, Nepal and Bhutan. This journey strengthened her appreciation for work that grows directly from the maker’s history, place and cultural identity. She has recently completed work for the 2014 Tamworth Textile Triennial in collaboration with a photographer, philosopher, jeweler, printer, embroiderers and others.
Ilka holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Monash University and an Associate Diploma in Studio Textiles from Melbourne Institute of Textiles (now RMIT). She taught Contemporary Art and Design, Weaving and Textile History at RMIT University for 12 years and was teaching artist in residence at the ANU School of Art in 2012. She has exhibited internationally and her work is represented in the public collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, RMIT University and private collections in Australia, U.K. and U.S.A. Ilka’s work also appears in a variety of publications including Textiles: The Art of Mankind (2012), Art Textiles of the World – Australia Vol. 2 (2007), The Melbourne Design Guide (2006) and Handmade in Melbourne (2006).
Ilka’s popular workshops reflect a love of the handmade and make contemporary use of traditional making methods. She is a great believer in the ability of beauty and creativity to lift the spirit.