Two Rossland artists launched a fiber art exhibit at the VISAC Gallery in Trail on Tuesday night.
Perspectives: A Contemporary Fibre Art Exhibit features the felt work of Sarah Elizabeth and Theshini Naicker. The exhibition came about because Kristen Renn, gallery curator, wanted to do a fiber art exhibition and approached Elizabeth and Naicker about showing their work.
“I didn’t know Sarah’s work much at all, and she didn’t know mine, so we sort of got together, talked about general concepts and ideas,” said Naicker.
She has shown her felt work at VISAC once before, but this is Elizabeth’s first exhibition.
Elizabeth loved how the show came together and how the works were curated in such a way that there’s a progression through her and Naiker’s work as gallery goers make their way through the room.
“There’s a great juxtaposition in our styles. Theshini has got this beautiful, organic but also very technically and very striking work, this gorgeous work, and then she has this softer movement into the work,” said Elizabeth. “Then you’ve got the wild, really textured, not even, not perfect kind of look [of my work]. I just love how it works and complements.”
Elizabeth has been a practicing artist for 15 years, but only recently started working with fiber in 2013.
Naiker has been working with fiber for over 15 years now, but just came off a three-year hiatus. Before she took a break from felting, Naicker’s focus had been on wearable art, but now that she’s returned to the medium she’s started trying more advanced felting techniques and has been working on more wall pieces. She also dyes some of her felt, producing rich, saturated colours.
“This show has a lot of the natural fibres in it, but I do like working with colour,” said Naicker. “I dye all my own colours, because I find the commercial ones, the pallet is a bit limited.”
The pieces Elizabeth made for Perspectives use limited colour. There’s a purple wool used throughout many of the pieces that she bought from a mill. She chose the colour because the pieces were inspired by winter and mountain rocks, and she thought blue would be too cool. “One of my favourite things is that dusky purple light that you get across the mountains,” she said.
Both Naiker and Elizabeth used a variety of fibers in the works on display. Naiker said she prefers using finer wools — such as cashmere and Merino — because they felt faster, but she also uses slower felting fibers to produce different textures. Whereas she gets a lot of her fibers from Ontario, Elizabeth focuses on local fibers. Since last year she’s been building a fiber arts business that focuses on supplying fiber artists with local fibers, locally processed fibers, Canadian fibers or just unique fibers in general that are sustainably grown and purchased. She gets her silks — like those used in her piece “Shear” — from Darn Good Yarn, a company that recycles used saris’ silk.
The exhibit also features a variety of fibers that gallery goers are invited to touch.
Perspectives will be on display at VISAC until April 22.