Manc of the Month: Tara Collette

For our October Manc of the Month, we spoke to the fabulous Tara Colette! Tara had a stall at our recent Art All Dayer, and from there we became obsessed with her work! It’s unlike anything we’ve seen before, with such a wide range of materials being used across her practice. Read on to hear all about Tara’s practice, her hobbies, influences and more!

Cotton on MCR: Please introduce yourself and your work to our Cotton On MCR readers.

Tara Colette: ‘I’m Tara Collette, an artist based at Islington Mill in Salford. I started creating fabric banners when I graduated in 2017 and have recently taught myself how to make stained glass pieces so have been making more work in this direction.’

COM: We can see that you’ve worked with a lot of different mediums – which would you say is your favourite to work with?

TC: ‘I honestly love working with everything, I lose interest quickly and move from one thing to the next but the two things that have stuck with me is the banner making & glass. If I was to pick between those two, I’d say the glass is my favourite at the moment as it’s so new and difficult to do in comparison to banner making, sewing around letters is almost like muscle memory to me now so it’s refreshing to be working with a completely new medium.’

COM: What inspired you to start working with glass?

TC: ‘I’d love to say ‘I was inspired by beautiful church window’ or something cute sounding but to be honest, I just ended up 30 tabs deep in the internet during lockdown and one happened to be ‘How is stained glass made?’. I liked the challenge of teaching myself something new and something that looked quite difficult too!’

COM: We’re loving this video on your Instagram! Tell us more about it – what generally inspires you to make pieces like this?

TC: ‘I always feel like the glass community (on Instagram) is flooded with samey-same pieces which is fine, but I do love trying to create things which I haven’t seen in glass before like the Pantone’s and the Marlboro’s! This staircase piece was one of them, I hadn’t seen anything like this before, especially not with the 3D element – the stairs sit over the top of the base piece, it’s actually quite a heavy piece!’

COM: From looking at some of your work, we can see it can sometimes be quite political. Is that something that’s important to your process?

TC: ‘I never see my work as being political, however everyone tells me that it is. For me, it’s just human nature to be commenting on social issues, like in the same way a singer might in their lyrics, or a Karen might on Facebook ~ we all have different outlets of showcasing our thoughts and opinions, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re political, its just natural I think.’

COM: What do you think of the current Manchester art scene?

TC: ‘I don’t really give it too much thought! I’m happy to be a part of any art scene, whether that is Manchester or not. I think that no matter what town or city I’m in, I’d still be making and selling what I love, it isn’t really defined by my living location in any way.’

COM: Outside of your artwork, what are your other interests and hobbies?

TC: ‘I love travelling to different cities and sleeping in my car, I used to sleep in my Citroen C1 (I’m 5 foot 9) so you can imagine the ball I was in on the two back seats… I recently got a gigantic car, I’m yet to have a solo adventure but I am very excited for the amount of stretch.’

‘I also love to go ice skating even though I’m not even that great at it! I recently bought some baby pink ice skates, eeep.’

‘And finally, I love visiting National Trust places! My favourite is Houghton Mill in Hertfordshire – it’s an old mill on the River Ouse which still produces stone ground flour from a water-powered wheel and you can buy it in the shop!’

COM: What advice would you give to artists that are just starting out?

TC: ‘You can be working 4 jobs and there will still be someone in your workplace that refers to you as a ‘part-timer’, remember that they’ll still be there in a few years time when your small business is thriving.’

COM: Do you have any exciting upcoming exhibitions or events we should know about?

TC: ‘I have quite a lot of markets coming up! I’m constantly making glass pieces at the moment so haven’t yet had the time to make some banners for exhibitions but I have a few ideas which I’m really excited to start making!’

COM: If you could live in any piece of artwork, what would it be and why?

TC: ‘It would be David Hockney’s “The Four Seasons”, I saw it at The Tate a few years ago, you sat in the room and it was surrounded with 4 large screens on each wall, each screen played a video of the same spot over each season, there was just something about it that was so peaceful and mesmerising. I really felt like I was there, I imagine it would be a nice place to live.’

You can see more of Tara’s work on her website and her Instagram @taracolette.

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