Process

 

My art depicts real places and personal moments of joy and discovery.  Born and raised on the Canadian prairie, my work begins with exploring and capturing the land and sky around me.  I am deeply fascinated by the way the same big open landscape transforms through the day, into the the night, and with the cycles of our four distinct seasons.  When I head out on a photo shoot, I literally look for things to stitch.  For me, grasses are thread.  Leaves are ribbons.  A vibrant or moody sky is a piece of fabric with colourful dyes.

 

“To the attentive eye,

each moment of the year has its own beauty,

and in the same field, it beholds, every hour,

a picture which was never seen before,

and which shall never be seen again”  -Emerson

 

Because each moment on the prairie is in constant transformation with light and movement, I spend a lot of my creative time capturing things I love with my camera and bringing it back into my home studio.  I will look deeper into the images and continue to discover subtle surprises and new compositions that will make their way into my sketchbooks. Sometimes I am ready to stitch immediately.  Other times I will sketch out an altered version of the scene.  More challenging pieces will have me drawing out the entire composition with soft pastels or coloured pencils to understand how I would approach the elements in the piece with stitch.

 

Threadpainting - I begin by selecting background fabrics, usually one for the sky and one or two for the land. Then I stitch, using a technique known as free-motion machine embroidery, where I manually move the cloth under the running sewing machine needle in order to create my own stitches.  I will change threads often like a painter dips the brush into a new colour, to achieve the look I need.  I stitch directionally, emulating fine brush strokes or pencil lines with my thread.  

 

Hand Stitching - I am smitten with hand stitching the foregrounds in my art.  I feel that some things simply cannot be emulated with the mechanical sewing machine.  As I fill in a space with tiny hand stitches, I witness a timelapse-like growth of plant life spring forth at my fingertips.  The tactile nature of fibre brings the prairie flora to life.  This process brings me never ending joy as I hold a piece of beloved prairie in my hands.

 

Yarn Painting - For lack of better term, my 'yarn paintings' are entirely hand stitched onto felt canvas.  These deeply personal, impressionistic displays of the prairie have a more intimate feel.  They are created in a painterly manner using variegated hand dyed yarns from around the world.  Each stitch appears like a brushstroke of blended paints, and I build the scenes with thousands and straight stitches of varying lengths, covering the entire background.

 

My threadpaintings are framed under glass with double or floating matts in the same way traditional embroidery is preserved and displayed.  My yarn embroideries are more tactile and framed without using glass. Please click on 'How to Purchase' in the menu for more information.  Commissioned work available by request.

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