Pat B.

I spent the past year working on a series and while I thoroughly enjoyed working this way, it did not spawn any new ideas that I might like to pursue.  I did however think about individual pieces and these pieces are all about colour and layering of designs.

Over the past number of years I have had the opportunity to work with an installation artist who happens to live right next door to me.  He is young, bright and his ideas are amazing.  He loves the idea of melding textile with steel or wood in a manner that gives both art forms their own significant place in the piece.  Working with him has challenged me in ways I never thought possible.  While they are his ideas, he gives me artistic freedom to interpret these ideas and make them possible.

Several years ago we did a very large project called Legacy which has been touring Ontario before heading to the West Coast.  This is an educational piece as well as environmental.  It was my task to create the banners above this sculpture to show the death of the fish and the blood red river.

Ken is an environmental artist and his enthusiasm has swept me along with his brilliant ideas.  There is an art show this year called World of Threads and textile artists from all over the world enter this exhibition.  Of course when my colleague saw this he immediately went to work to create a proposal, we only have four months to complete this if we get accepted into the show.

The interesting thing about this particular piece, when he started talking about it I immediately had a vision of what it would look like.  When he presented me with the conceptual drawing, I realized that we had both been thinking of exactly the same thing.  Now the hard part, for me, getting the idea exactly how I want it to look.

I have made a list of the steps that need to be taken to get the sampling done.  Number 1 is to make sure that I use only the material that is in my studio so I pulled out all the various white silk fabrics, yarns, ribbons that are in my stash and piled them on my dye table.  Dyes, I have on hand along with silk thread to sew this.

I have pulled out all the books that can help me, marked the pages, now to begin the work.

This piece is an environmental piece that depicts the plight of the pollinators.  Because we live in a major potato producing area, sprays are used to keep the pests in check but this has affected not only the honey bees, the butterflies, but also the hummingbirds.  The numbers have drastically reduced and this is very worrisome for the fruit and vegetable growers.  We are hoping this piece will bring awareness.

So, what does this mean for my work?  well, most of my summer will be spent creating this piece and using the tools I have learned not only from the courses that I have taken but also my instinct as a textile artist, to bring awareness not only to the environment but to the art of textile and fibre.  I love what I do and with the help of this particular course, I have dismissed my committee completely because they have outlived their usefulness in regards to my art; I have used up my stash or will have by the time I am finished with this project; and I am now keeping notes on everything I do and plan.

Image 1 shows the reclaimed cedar whale skeleton with the silk banners above.

Image 2 shows the silk banners, dyed, discharged 5mm silk.

Image 3 part of the conceptual drawing for our newest project.