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Artist Story

I’m a fibre artist. Making Canadian heritage craft in contemporary ways intrigues me. My current focus is to use fibre crafts to tell modern stories. I like to use a hooked mat – which at first glance will look warm and welcoming – to talk about Canada’s darker history. I choose to tell human – and often dark – stories through animal imagery. I want to make art that makes people think, and animals seem to draw people in easily so that I can get my message across. Humanity and its idiosyncrasies continue to inspire me in myriad of way.

What I like the most about creating art is the storytelling. In 2019, I did a series that I called “Swept Under the Rug” where I highlighted stories that we don’t really like to talk about like the Sikh people on the Komagata Maru or the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. While exhibiting my piece on the Butterbox Babies, a woman came to me and said, “My daughter said your piece is her favorite in the show. She said it was sad but she didn’t know why”. To me, that is exactly why I do what I do. That girl now knows that art creates feelings. And feelings create compassion. And, I believe, compassion is what will keep us from doing these horrible things over and over again.  

I start my creative process by making sketches. Then, I will make a plan from that sketch. I work with recycled fibre by using clothes that are destined for the landfill or clothes that are in great condition but somehow out of fashion. I normally find what I need from second hand stores. If I need a larger amount of a certain colours or a specific material, I order from Canadian artisans who hand-dyed the fabric themselves. I think that adds to the stories and the intent behind what I do.

I think my entire perspective on art changed when I moved up North. I’ve always been a city girl, but the North changes you! If your eyes are open, you are engaging with nature in some way. Nature is now a part of everything I create in some ways because it is the backdrop of everything here and consequently a tremendous source of inspiration for me.

Artist Bio: 

Janet was born and raised near Vancouver, moving North to Yellowknife in 2004. Raised by her mother and her Scottish grandmother who loved to sew, Janet learned to knit at a very early age. Growing up, she attended art camps and learned to draw and paint. Having always loved crafts, she would mix those techniques within her art projects early on.  Today, Janet sells some of her smaller art pieces through the Guild of Arts and Crafts in Yellowknife. Her conceptual artwork is usually sold at the art exhibits she takes part in all around the world every year.

Last Updated: August 7, 2020

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