A new exhibition by artist Carole Douglas that reveals her extraordinary journey of artistic re – discovery in India opens at Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles Gallery in June.

‘Return’ exhibition features new work by the well-established artist and reflects a circular journey back to her creative base.

When Douglas left her native New Zealand in 1986, she left behind an established career and a reputation, established over two decades of practice, as one of the country’s leading textile artists and educators. She exhibited widely, produced several public commissions, won distinctions, received five Queen Elizabeth Arts Council grants and served on the executive committee of the New Zealand crafts council, including two years as its vice president.

The move to Australia saw Douglas’ art shift in focus. She returned to university and worked in the environmental sector until an invitation to a conference in India rekindled her passion for the world of cloth and colour.

‘Return’ exhibition is about coming home to my own back yard and to the (almost) familiar,” she said. “Much of my early work incorporated resist-dyeing techniques in the brilliant colours made possible by synthetic chemistry.”

When Douglas went to India almost 20 years ago in search of natural dyes, she became immersed in the lives of local artisans and the Kutch earthquake in 2001changed the course of her own. Since then she has worked on three major projects in India and her own work has, until recently, taken second place.

“I did of course find natural dyes and years of working closely with artisans, and their communities, has granted me insights into traditional practices that continue to inform my own. The journey has reconnected me to waxes, resins, plants and minerals, cloth and threads and given meaning to the lost objects I have found along the way.”

While Douglas’ new work in the ‘Return’ exhibition brings her back to resist dyeing, it incorporates the skilful use of natural dyes, which was, ironically, the reason she meandered from the technique  in the first place.

“I remain driven by a commitment to our fragile environment and a deep love of the made-by-hand.”

Return will be opened between 6 and 8pm on 21 May by Newcastle Art Gallery Curator Sarah Johnson and will continue until 14 June 2015.