Artist Statement

I approach fabric with the aesthetic of a painter, eager to get her fingers into the paint. I cherish my ofttimes drawing tool and brush; an obsolete industrial chain stitch embroidery machine. I find images and narratives in the landscape, in people, and in my own experiences. I am not often without my sketchbook. Ever curious and keen to experiment, I use many of my tools and materials in non-traditional ways. I am at my best, when I am creating.

Early in my career, my first pregnancy inspired a break from oil
painting, and a search for a non-toxic medium. A year of
exploration landed me in a relationship with textile and after 30 years, it still provides me with the greatest delight. I am enamored with fabric; I love the colour, patterns, and textures and how they feel in my hands. The stories and histories connected to each piece in the collection is like the chatter of old friends. Much of my path in this medium has been without a chart; there have been puzzles to solve and ideas, techniques, and methods to investigate. Most recently I have learned to use a laser cutter in our local maker space. This technology has transformed my process; it made possible a migration of salmon and all the berries of the season.

The images are collaged with fabric and then permanently attached to the canvas with the chain-stitched line of my embroidery machine. The Universal Movement Machine was invented in 1865 and named for the capacity of the needle and foot to move in a multi-directional way. By maneuvering a handle underneath the machine, I am able to guide a continuous line of stitches over a piece of fabric. Akin to the way that textile became my painting medium, embroidery became my line.

To explore the correspondence of drawing and embroidery I began to make contoured portraits with the machine. In 2003, Art Festival bound, the embroiderer and I set out for the first time to
demonstrate and perform in public. I was joyful. I had found
something that felt entirely on the mark for me. Terrifying,
challenging, fun, and full of intimate and creative exchange. The
outrageous idea of “drawing everyone in the Yukon”, came in this
first year. I will never draw all of us, but I have made a lifetime
commitment to embroidering as many of us as I can.

My practice is both personal and social, believing art has a function for both artist and viewer. The objective is to have the work connect with the audience; that there might be a movement of feeling, of memory, of thinking, and new ways of seeing. I feel I have a role within the community; to light up the imagination, and to advocate for creativity as an instructor, performer, and maker. It has been the discipline of portraiture where the interaction has been the most direct that I have experienced some of the deepest artistic and personal lessons.

Artist Statement