1 North Square, Cambridge, ON
Fibreworks, now in its 18th edition, is a biennial juried exhibition of contemporary Canadian fibre art. It is a showcase of the most current and versatile approaches to fibre as a medium. It serves as a survey of the artists currently working in the medium. This exhibition offers the opportunity for us to evaluate the relevancy of our collection in relation to contemporary practices.
Artists: Carissa Baktay, Lauren Brinson, Sofia Escobar, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Kathryn Hernden, Zainab Hussain, Esther Imm, Trish Johnson, Nanhee Kim, Marie-Hélène Martin, Bettina Matzkuhn, Yasmeen Nematt Alla, Tammy Ratcliff, Lois Schklar, Carl Stewart, Alma Louise Visscher, and Saskia Wassing.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the artist work that will be featured in this year's Fibreworks with a virtual visit to these artist studios:
Carissa Baktay is a sculptor from Calgary, Alberta, living and working between Canada and Iceland. She has earned degrees from Alberta University of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Universidade de Nova Lisboa, Portugal. Using experimental technologies and mediums combined with time honored glass making methods, she has been invited as Artist in Residence at studios in Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Canada. Recently honoured with a Canada Council for the Arts Grant and Alberta Foundation for the Arts Grant, she has presented her multidisciplinary work in museums and galleries around the world.
Lauren Brinson in an interdisciplinary artist from Newfoundland and Labrador working in Victoria BC. Her work explores value structures in cultural textile practices through their relationships between utility and aesthetics. Through active and passive objects, Brinson works to remind, implicate, and question tacit bodily associations to textiles.
Sofia is a Toronto-based textile artist born in Peru. Her practice consists of examining and pushing the way in which textiles are experienced by recreating visual renditions of them and thereby challenging their general perception. Driven by her interest in the visual representation of textile construction, she aims to re-purpose the functional and visual meaning of them.
Sofia's work is based on finding a new visual language inspired by a phenomenological approach to textiles. With this she wishes to explore the limitless boundaries of imagined physical interaction that fills the void left by playing with the material and immaterial.
Vanessa Dion Fletcher is a Lenape and Potawatomi neurodiverse artist. She graduated from The School of Art Institute of Chicago in 2016 with an MFA in performance. She has exhibited across Canada and the US, at Art Mur Montreal, Eastern Edge Gallery Newfoundland, The Queer Arts Festival Vancouver, and Satellite Art Show Miami. Her work is in the Indigenous Art Centre, Joan Flasch Artist Book collection, Vtape, Seneca College, and the Archives of American Art. In 2019, Vanessa was supported by the City of Toronto Indigenous partnership fund to be Artist in Residence at OCAD University.
Kathryn Hernden uses masking techniques when applying paint to canvases. This allows her to achieve the precision necessary to complete these complex geometric shapes and radial patterns. Most of the line work is then embroidered. Using long stitches, Kathryn creates perfectly straight lines that coalesce and diverge throughout the composition. Variations in value are created by the proximity of the threads. The application of traditional craft processes ie. embroidery, to the canvas, a spot usually reserved for painting, challenges the conventional notions of what qualifies as art and what qualifies as craft.
Zainab Hussain is a multidisciplinary artist and illustrator based in Ottawa, Ontario. She received her BFA from the University of Ottawa in 2014 and is currently in her second-year of as a MFA candidate there. She has exhibited her work in Canada and the United States, notably at the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum in Milwaukee, and Shirin Gallery in New York City. She is the recipient of the Ineke Harmina Standish Award, the Suzanne Rivard-Le Moyne first prize and was a long list nominee for the Scotia Bank New Generation Photo Award.
Working in photography, paint, textiles, sound, plants, text, and installation, Hussain is interested in the intertwining of multiple histories and narratives, the notions of untranslatability, what is hidden and revealed, and the authenticity of memory and identity. She is especially interested in the way fashion plays a role in constructing identity and acts as a screen between the self and the other. The fabrics she uses are always either a cast off or part of a precious collection, as she is interested in the histories and narratives held within fabric.
Esther Imm is an emerging textile artist and hand quilter that is drawn to quilt design as a way to construct abstract pattern into tactile form. Her work is based on intuition, experimentation, and collaboration. Each design is found through experiment, using scraps from prior projects. All works are completed by hand quilting.
Trish Johnson comes from Capreol, a small railway town in Northern Ontario. She graduated from the University of Toronto where she studied Art History and English Literature and from the Ontario College of Art where she studied photography. Trish lives in Toronto with her husband and her cat. Her four children have all grown up. Trish has been hooking rugs since 1988. Her designs are mostly inspired by her own photographs. Many of her rugs tell a story about her family and the places they have called home. Her work is her visual diary. She was chosen as Rug Hooking Artist of the Year by the Hooked Rug Museum of North America in Hubbards Nova Scotia. Her work has been included in Paulette Hackman’s “Story Rugs and their Storytellers” and most recently in Tamara Pavich’s, “Designed by You”.
Nanhee Kim is a multidisciplinary artist and innovative designer based in Toronto. She specializes in sculptural knitted textiles and architectural knitwear inspired by the complexity of natural structures. Kim's work has been selected for juried exhibitions such as 'Craft Nouveau 2020' at Blue Line Arts (USA), ' Craft Forms 2019' at the Wayne Art Centre (USA), 'Beyond the Surface' at the St. Louis Artists' Guild (USA), as well as 'Fibreart International 2010' at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Her pieces have also been exhibited at Pitti Uomo (Italy), Indigo Paris, and the New York Design Center. Kim's work has been featured in International Textiles and Interior Design magazines. Kim received an MFA with Honours from the Rhode Island School of Design; a BA in Textile Design from Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London (England); and a BS in Fashion Design from Dong-A University (South Korea)
Marie-Hélène Martin was introduced to textile crafts and sewing techniques at an early age by her mother and grandmother. This led her to pursue a DEC in Fashion Design at the Campus-Notre-Dame-de-Foy. In 2013, after holding various roles in fashion companies for 9 years, Martin continued her studies by enrolling in a DEC in crafts: Textile Construction, at the Cégep Limoilou/La maison de métiers d'art de Québec, where she fell in love with traditional and jacquard weaving. Martin is active in the textile artists community, as a member of Module: Groupe de recherche en tissage jacquard and as a workshop instructor both at la maison des métiers d'art de Québec.
Bettina Matzkuhn has worked in fibre for over 30 years with an emphasis on embroidery and fabric collage. She holds a BFA in Visual Arts and an MA in Liberal Studies from Simon Fraser University. In the 1980s she animated and directed three award-winning films using textiles for the National Film Board of Canada and an interest in narrative continues to inform her work. She explores personal and social narratives about history, geography and the natural world, using a wide variety of textile techniques, materials and presentations. She exhibits her work across Canada and internationally, writes professionally on the arts, volunteers, lectures and teaches.
Fibre interests her as a language of visual narrative. Textile has a long history of inscribing social and personal stories. Her work is a part of this continuum. The various fibres and the range of stitches form a vocabulary, a language she has used since childhood. She uses this language to articulate her own preoccupations: her ambivalence around her German heritage, the turmoil of illness and divorce, an admiration for the maritime community and the constant degradation of the natural world. She also tells simple tales of companionship depicting local life and adventures. She has sought input from other disciplines: a sailmaker, a meteorologist, a naturalist and keeps cluttered sketchbooks full of research that informs the work. Much of her work is two-dimensional, but she has also recently explored sculptural work, pieces that are interactive, and digital animation. The form the work takes reflects its theme and she wants the viewer to be surprised, engaged and compelled to look more closely.
Bettina grew up around sail-boats on BC’s coast, and has hiked in many corners of Canada, hence a love of charts and maps. They allow her to experience disorientation, anxiety, longing, and memory. She is attracted to maps because like embroidery, they depend on extremes. The opulent surfaces of textiles reflects how she sees the minute flora on the ground, but also the grand sweeps of mountains and weather. Bettina's geographies are made of thread and metaphor.
Yasmeen Nematt Alla is an Egyptian-Canadian artist whose practice approaches immigration and refugee narratives from an interpreter's perspective. As someone who lives between cultures, she deciphers the language barriers that are attached to alienation. This extends to creating gestures of care and empathy, one that are founded in exploring solitary experiences and discovering points of connection within them. She considers how art-making can bridge the gap between what we know and what we hope to understand. Entranced by the power of text and its ability to dialogue with the onlooker, she creates sentences that act as portraits for herself and those who share similar circumstances through sculptural, interactive, and performative gestures.
Tammy Ratcliff was born in Toronto in 1966. She studied printmaking at BealArt in London, Ontario and has been printing since her first class in 1990. She lives in Guelph with her family and works full time at her practice in her own studio. Her work has been shown extensively in group and solo shows, most recently SHIFT: Environmentally Responsible Print Practice exhibition at McMaster Museum of Art in Hamilton, RED at Renann Isaccs Contemporary Art, Guelph, Print City: Detroit, Art Toronto with Open Studio, World Washi Summit and Printopolis, Toronto. Tammy has received provincial grants and various awards for her artwork since first exhibiting in 1993 and was awarded third prize in Open Studio's National Printmaking Awards in 2010. Her work is included in numerous private, public and corporate collections, Dan Donocan Collection at St. Michael's, Stratford Gallery, Art Gallery of Guelph, Ernst & Young, and Cambridge Art Galleries to name a few. Tammy has travelled with her work, notably to residencies at Frans Masereel Centrum in Belgium, Spark Box Studios in Picton, Ontario and Prima Ink in Tromoso, Norway in the summer of 2016.
Tammy is inspired by the botanical world and its many examples of imperfection and impermanence. From this viewpoint she uses traditional textile techniques to manipulate her etchings and monoprints on handmade paper, creating renditions of functional textile pieces. Items whose utilitarian value might be lessened as they become threadbare and fragile through use are thus transformed into artifacts of shared memories and the passage of time.
Lois Schklar's work has been shown in exhibitions throughout Canada and the United States. Her burlap sculptures are in the Bronfman Collection, Claridge Investments, Cambridge Art Galleries and The Key Corporation.
Schklar has received grants from the Toronto Arts Council, Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council. Thirty Years of Dolls (2011) was a retrospective exhibition created with the assistance of a Craft Ontario award and an OAC Exhibition Assistance Grant. In 2013, she was awarded an OAC Multi/Integrated Arts Project Grant for Collected Memories, a drawing installation with professional dancer, musician and lighting designer. Most recently (2018), Schklar received a Canada Council Explore and Create Grant.
Lois is also an educator, facilitator, keynote speaker and curator. In 1997, she curated Dolls: Reclaimed at the Ontario Crafts Council and in 2008 she organized the exhibition, Drawing On at *new* gallery in Toronto. Lois received an OAC Visual Artist Project Grant for Research and Development for The Art of Packing (2014).
Currently Lois is a member of Red Head Gallery at 401 Richmond Street West in Toronto.
Carl Stewart is a weaver living and working in Ottawa. For more than 25 years his socially and politically engaged and enraged textile work has celebrated, memorialized, documented, and commemorated the intimate, the fabulous, the egregious, and the tragic.
Alma Louise Visscher (University of Alberta, MFA, 2012), works with textiles to create installations, sculptures, and drawings that examine material culture, soft architecture, and the language of abstraction. Her work has been shown in abandoned buildings, universities, public parks, suburban malls, and dollhouses with exhibitions in New York, Iceland, Germany, and Edmonton.
Saskia is a textile artist educated and trained in the B.A. Honours Embroidered & Woven Textile program at Glasgow School of Art, Scotland. Saskia grew up in England, traveled extensively from an early age, which is a visible influence in her work. Saskia's early exposure to multiple cultures is found in her love of unconventional colour-pairing and rich textural detail. The tactile nature of the textile medium is where she feels most creative and expressive. Using the sewing machine and her colourful embroidery threads as drawing tools, Saskia 'free' stitches her playful patterns and images creating a rich personal narrative. Her recent work celebrates the domestic rituals surrounding tea, the history, the china, the memories of connect and comfort of this shared tradition. Alongside this, Saskia incorporates her love of nature, especially birds.