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The Saskatchewan Arts Board ensured that I had access to scholarships and grants that made my attending the University of Washington in Seattle possible. Five years later I graduated with a BFA in Sculpture.
I returned to Canada in 1970 and moved to Toronto where I worked as the slide librarian in the Fine Arts Department of the University of Toronto and then went on to acquire a Bachelor of Education with a major in Art and a secondary focus in Librarianship. For the next three years, I taught Art to grades 9-13 in a metropolitan Toronto school. These were my least productive artmaking years.
MIDDLE YEARS: (1977-1997)
It took two years to get a clear title to the Church and have all the renovations completed. During that time I rented a studio in the nearby town of Lumsden. Owning a sewing machine and being unable to create sculptures in this space, I proceeded to “sew” a few artworks. This required a whole new set of skills, which I began to acquire, mostly through direct contact with family members and other stitchers/quilters, by attending various workshops from the local guilds and by reading “the fine print” in articles and books about fabric art. How quickly we dismiss this kind of learning when it doesn’t cumulate into a set of credentials after our names!
In 1984, I had my first fabric-based exhibition at the Rosemont Art Gallery, in Regina, SK. The theme was a series of large scale landscapes based on a trip I took across the lower part of the province. After approx. 10 years, I was sufficiently established and was able to focus on my artwork fulltime - a privilege for which I am consistently thankful.
I am still engaged and challenged by the potential of fabric to reach people in a different way than does the more traditional art media and therefore continue to work primarily in this medium. We have a deep connection to fabric that has been generated by our being wrapped in it since we were born. I like to use that connection as a way to make people more responsive to my work.
In the late 80’s I also became very excited about Artist’s Books. Books offer a one-on-one interaction, a different kind of intimacy than fabric works on a wall. Making books entails another set of skills, which I am still actively pursuing.
I continue to live in Disley, SK with my partner of 20 years, Heather Elliott. I am able to pursue my art practice in a separate studio in the yard where I divide my time between both media. The stretches of concentrated studio time are interspersed with teaching a variety of workshops in both the fabric and book media. These workshops occur throughout the province and across the country, usually in the spring and fall seasons.
It is a good balance.
Life is good.
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