Story By Betty Carpick
We all experience journeys of growth through beginnings and endings. For artist Katrina Craig, articulating universal emotions with treasured mementos and the nuanced properties of natural fibres is not only an act of care and compassion, but also a catharsis.
From October 3 to 30, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, in partnership with the Manitoba Arts Alliance, will host Craig’s compelling work, The Process of Closure in the Community Room. On October 21, Craig will present an afternoon workshop for the general public, “Dissecting the Layers of Our Lives.”
Craig is from the tiny village of Arlington near Tyne Valley on Prince Edward Island. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in textiles and fashion from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University and has lived in Winnipeg since 2014. Her connections to the often-unacknowledged skills in women’s craft led her to use the intimacy of textiles as an expressive arts medium onto itself. Her work explores the poignancy of hidden lives, vulnerability and heartbreak through relationships to physicality and surroundings. In Craig’s own work and, often, as a part of her process with others, she uses weaving and fibre work to encourage a peeling of the elements of our lives that keep people bound to the past when the future may offer new possibilities. Or, as Craig’s Instagram description states, “Shedding our skins so we can see each other.”
For The Process of Closure, Craig invited donations of sentimental objects of heartbreak. Her intention was to honour the act of release, the objects, and the stories as an expression of the physical and emotional experiences that are kept under the surface and revealed only to those who are closest. The gifts included snowboard boots, a book about human sexuality, two wedding bands, a stuffed animal, a beeswax candle, a David Bowie Ziggy Stardust record, and a pair of journals. Craig has deftly unraveled, interpreted, and reworked the materials to transform them into 15 exquisitely woven wall hangings.
The workshop, “Dissecting the Layers of Our Lives,” invites participants to use visual mapping and mark making with embroidery to understand the complexities and progressions of individual personalities and lives. It will be an excellent opportunity to learn from Craig and experiment with the ways that fibre arts can act as a mediator between experiences and self.
For more information and to register for the workshop, visit theag.ca