Ann Vollum is a New Jersey fiber and mixed media artist with an international background, born
in Africa, she has lived in England, France and the USA and has travelled widely. She studied to
be an architect and then worked as an art director and graphic designer in London and New
York City. Ann’s artistic journey has progressed through painting, line drawing, book making,
fantastical and detailed “paper cuts” to hand stitched textiles and fiber sculptures. Ann is
honored to have been juried into the 2022, New Jersey Arts Annual: Reemergence; the 2022,
14C Art Fair Showcase, Jersey City and in 2020 The Gold Standard of Textile and Fiber Art,
Westbeth Gallery, New York. Her work has been exhibited widely and featured in various
publications. In September 2022, she was interviewed by Canvas Rebel. Ann is a member of a
number of professional organizations and has served on the board of The Textile Study Group of
In my work I tell stories with an unwritten script inviting the viewer to have their own unique interpretation.
My portraits range from capturing the essence of a person in fairly few stitches to "painting" in stitch using one strand of embroidery floss to create a dense multi-layered, complex surface to capture the sitter's personality. Recent portraits are hand stitched on eco dyed fabrics grounding my subjects in nature.
My sculptural pieces resulted from a need to deal with pandemic angst and as a contrast to the heavily stitched portraits. As life becomes faster paced and increasingly automated I am drawn to an organic, slow, meditative process valuing craftsmanship and sustainability. I work with rescued fabrics which I dye with acorns or black walnuts, the fabric is then eco dyed with leaves and onion skins to create depth of color and pattern. My complex organic, abstract sculptures are inspired by natural formations. Fabric is cut, sewn into “poufs”, stuffed with rescued PET fibers and embellished. “Poufs” sprayed with vinegar are rust dyed resulting in a rich earthy palette, then assembled and stitched onto a hardware cloth form. I aim to awake imagination and awareness!
Early works are fantastical narrative tableaux which portray an innocence and charm on the surface, but have an underlying sinister and dark menace to them. Things are never quite as they first appear! My characters are mostly sourced from vintage illustrations, the Beasties that interact with them are from my subconscious imagination. I have developed a “language” of “characters” that re-appear again and again, look for bats, snakes and of course Beasties with sharp teeth and long tongues. Often there are Beasties inside Beasties...the question is are they dinner or off-spring? —the viewer is left to decide. My tableaux are hand stitched often on reclaimed linens, techniques may include natural hand dying, appliqué, acrylics, Inktense pencils and lace boarders.
Photo: Jim Horton, Gallery photos: April Tracey, Amelia Panico