Christina Rae Carrigan
I would describe my artwork as contemporary mixed media grounded in fibre. I enjoy working with different types of textile and natural material and have been working in various mediums since I was a teenager. When doing my Fine Arts degree, I focused on two-dimensional work, such as illustration and painting. I have been working with fibre since 2016, and I began this current body of work in 2018.
I always had a lot of kinetic energy, and played a lot of sports growing up. That physical expression is vital to me; it makes me feel complete. I think creating art allows me to channel that physical expression in a different way. That’s why I like to work with tactile mediums and mixed media in order to produce something that is tangible in the 3D environment.
In 2015, my mother sent me a box of linens from my great-grandmother’s house. There were a lot of beautiful embroidered runners and wall hangings that she had made. That is how I became interested in learning embroidery, and started exploring textile artwork. I began with materials I had on hand, putting various elements together through trial and error, eventually incorporating foraged natural materials with my embroidery work.
I am originally from the West Coast, where the seasons blend together more than they do in the North. Before moving to Yellowknife in 2013, I had never lived anywhere with such distinct seasons. I still find it extremely fascinating to see how the landscape looks in the summer versus the winter, how drastically if shifts throughout the year. I also noticed that the seasons affected my mood and I wanted to tie those two elements together in my work. Part of my exploration is connecting the way I feel as the seasons change to how the landscape evolves, finding a common tactile representation of that connection.
I start my creative process while out in nature. I observe the land throughout the year, collecting branches, lichens, and other natural elements found along the way. In order to create the total body of work that I envision, I need to be planning ahead. I have to time the foraging process to align with what I want to produce and what emotions I want to emanate. I have to gather and dry the materials, and see what I have left to work with once all the foraged items have dried. I cannot rush this process and it has taught me some valuable lessons in patience.
There’s a lived experience associated with what I create. There’s a process to it, and the process makes the artwork unique. Eventually, I would like to offer a physical environment for people to be with an entire body of work representing all seasons. If people can be with my artwork, I would hope that it would evoke some connection with the land and their own emotions, specific to year-round natural cycles.
Christina is originally from the West Coast and now lives in Yellowknife. She is a mixed-media artist, currently focusing on embroidery work incorporating foraged natural materials. She draws inspiration from multiple artists working with fibres, textiles and found florals.
Christina’s works start as freehand sketches and are stitched by hand from her cozy little studio in Yellowknife. Her ongoing collection of embroidery work can be viewed and purchased on Instagram @vinterskap.