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QUINTE ARTS COUNCIL
For our newest Umbrella magazine, Quinte Arts Council dedicated the winter issue to celebrating the art of craftsmanship and how the lines between the two often blur in innovative and exciting ways. . We’ve profiled 12 artisans from Quinte who express their art through their craft; the seventh in this series is Hilary Rice of Mother Earth Studios in Center Hastings, Ontario.
Weaving is recognized as one of the oldest crafts in the world. In fact, anthropologists have found evidence of woven fibers in the Czech Republic 27,000 years ago. While throughout history different materials have been woven together (vegetable fibers and branches, for example), weaving is one of the main means of textile production achieved (in simple terms) by interlacing a set of vertical threads ( warp) with horizontal threads (weft).
Today, fiber artists like Hilary Rice pay homage to both the traditions of her craft and her own distinctive style: “I work with fibers and yarns, using techniques that have been developed for a long time. That’s part of the fun, knowing what I’m doing goes way back in time,” she says. “The resulting work, however, reflects my own sense of color and design, influenced by my unique life experiences.”
Hilary has always been interested in textile work. As a child, she learned to create simple embroideries inspired by her aunt’s fine work, but says: “It was the many hours spent in my father’s carpentry workshop that gave me a solid foundation in creative thinking. .
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Her exploration of working with fiber did not stop at sewing, dyeing, spinning and weaving. She learned how to manipulate fabrics, how to use heat to deform synthetic textiles, and developed skills in a wide variety of techniques that she was able to apply to her “canvas”: “The body of work I I created was truly art.
“I am known as a textile artist among those in the quilting world. But at the core of my being, I am a creator,” says Hilary. “After almost 20 years of developing and marketing the line of ‘Mother Earth’ art quilt patterns, dyeing cotton yardage and traveling across Canada teaching my techniques, I have retired to my home studio where I rediscovered my original loves for spinning and weaving, and pottery.
Woven textiles have traditionally served a function, and his “practical pieces” – scarves, shawls, sheets and blankets made on large looms like his 60-inch-wide Glimåkra in Sweden – feature hand-painted fibers, intricate patterns and even ornaments such as glass beads. His color palettes often reflect the seasons. “The color work is very satisfying,” she says.
“Weaving a painted/dyed warp that waves through a rich color scheme is one of my most delightful tasks!”
For more information, visit: www.mestudios.ca, Facebook @motherearthstudios, Instagram @motherearthtoo