I live in the forest, near La Ronge, Saskatchewan. La Ronge is a small northern community beside Lac La Ronge, a very large lake filled with islands, trees, bedrock slopes, and cliffs. I am intimately involved in this landscape, as an artist, and as a wilderness canoe tripper, hiker and cross country skier.
I make my art in homage to the total, central importance of nature, nature in its pristine state, nature that must be respected, if it is to continue to sustain us. Nature sustains me in all ways. I need wild nature to feel really alive and happy. I live where a network of lakes and rivers connect the forests and muskegs, which I ski over in the winter, and canoe and portage across in the summer. I make art to share this place, and to allow the viewer to consider the rich, and precious importance of an undisturbed ecosystem. My subject matter is determined by my experiences in this landscape, witnessing a forest fire, paddling across a lake on a long canoe trip, looking up close at mosses and plants, watching ravens play in the thermals over a frozen lake in the spring time.
My textile art is made with pieces of fabric that are cut and collaged together and then stitched and quilted, to give rigidity. I like the tactile aspect of fabrics, the patterns and colours available, and how soft and homey they are. I used to paint, but prefer the hands-on aspect of textile work, as well as the various processes that the production involves.
I begin by sketching ideas, progressing from thumbnail sketches to a large drawing of the chosen composition, with coloured pencils. Or, I base my fabric work on one of my paintings. I sort and choose fabrics that suit areas, and begin to collage cut-out pieces, following the drawing I have made. The nearest fabric store is 250 km away, so I make do with what I have, which can lead to fresh and unexpected solutions. Sometimes I paint or dye fabric to achieve a desired colour. I place the pieces down loosely, allowing for many changes, moving and exchanging pieces in the manner of a collage. Finally, I sew everything in place, first with a satin stitch to stop any fraying and give a strong outline to each shape, and then with free-motion stitching to adhere the 3 layers, to add more lines, to embellish, and to create some depth to certain areas. The process varies from the purely creative, dynamic stages of design, drawing, tracing, and collaging, to the meditative ironing and hand basting of the layers, and then to the precise craft of the final machine sewing.