I have worked in the fibre medium for over 30 years with an emphasis on hand embroidery and fabric collage. Many have used textiles throughout human history to tell stories; I am part of this continuum. In the 1980s I animated and directed three award-winning films using textiles for the National Film Board of Canada and an interest in narrative continues to inform my practice.
The various fibres and the range of stitches form a language I have used since childhood. I use it to articulate my own preoccupations: my ambivalence around my German heritage, personal turmoil, an admiration for the maritime community and the degradation and resilience of the natural world. I also tell simple tales of companionship depicting local life and adventures. With input from other disciplines –a sailmaker, a meteorologist, a naturalist– I keep cluttered sketchbooks full of research that informs the work. Much of my work is two-dimensional, but I have also recently explored new forms, pieces that are interactive, and digital animation. The form each piece takes reflects its theme and I want the viewer to be surprised, engaged and compelled to look more closely.
I grew up around sailboats on BC’s coast, and hike in many corners of Canada, hence a love of charts and maps. They allow me to express disorientation, anxiety, longing, and memory. I am attracted to maps because –like embroidery– they depend on extreme detail. The opulent surfaces of textiles reflect how I see the minute flora on the ground, but also the grand sweeps of mountains and weather. My geographies are made of thread and metaphor.