I am very much controlled by the fabric that I find, and am constantly gifted with amazing vintage or recycled pieces of fabric that challenge me to think outside my normal set of inspirations or sparks in order to attempt to do just with the fabric. In this case, I was gifted a tea cozy made up of small pouch like fabric circles, very floral, almost victorian applique like. The original design of this shape came from the sugar sac quilts of the early 1900’s (thank you Louise!) when, during the depression, woman saved the cotton bags in which they bought sugar to be able to make quilts, as the supply of such frivolities was near impossible. By forming them into these floral like shapes, it allows the cotton to provide a layered warmth not otherwise attainable with a simple single layer of cotton (backings of course, were not available either).

In the 1970’s there was a renewal of this shape as applique, or as applique as a base for a garment, and this type of design could be found as vests, and home textile items; tea cozies, placemats etc. During this period it was more likely to find african inspired textiles (still cotton) being used instead of the pale florals of the sugar sac days.

I had thought of using this fabric to do small pieces, but then realized that I could use them as a way to create a hanging floral like arrangement, and that they could be worn, on a necklace, or a bracelet. Perhapsh it was also the end of winter that began to inspire me as I wanted to set forth the intention of spring, and so these pieces were my way of inviting in a little more sunshine!


The jewellery pieces will be on sale at ShopGirls in Toronto for Spring 2008


when is it?

When is it that an artist realizes that the work they do, though they can often not fully explain why they are driven to do it, is what drives their soul to go forward even if that forward is often an unknown?

My answer for that question this morning is this … when you find yourself in front of a garbage back full of scrap fabric donated to you by a supportive friend (and designer) and realize that 3 hours has gone by, with you still on your knees, still sorting, cutting, colour arranging, and generally spiraling into the void of inspiration with stories forming before your eyes as your hands take hold of those texture emerging from the piles. This for me, is the moment.


mellanGe …

the unification of textiles & mixed media to create a space for exploration & expression

As an artist I chose to live in finding my way back to my core; moving further into my work with themes of human nature; its elements of re-creation, self-discovery, emotional authenticity and spiritual expression while always presenting a sense of play. I believe in re-creation without losing origin as well as re-creation in order to once again find true origin; that we can shift or change paths many times in life, each time bringing us closer to our whole selves, our central, intuitive and powerful voice. I believe in artistic and community sustainability; in the use of vintage and recycled fabric and other materials whenever possible, as well as the practice of sharing with and supporting other artists in my community.

Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Catherine moved to Toronto in 1994 where she found herself introduced to the world of fashion design, thus finding her way to textiles, illustration and layout. She studied Fashion Marketing at Ryerson and went on to success in the Fashion Industry. In 2006 Catherine left the industry to start again, while still continuing with what always was. Catherine is a freelance visual/fiber artist, installation artist, coordinator and creativity coach (through her company mellanGe) registered with the Creativity Coaching Association. Her work captures the setting of a moment in life and growth, creating visual “glimpses” of something much larger than the moment behind the image. Her work captures emotional authenticity by playing with visual sarcasm. She invites the viewer into the setting of a life moment sometimes painful, sometimes playful, sometimes hopeful, always honest. Catherine uses poetry to create a dialogue with her work, at times incorporating words into the pieces, other times working with the narrative independently. Whether included or indpendent, her poetry acts as the voice of the images she creates, the narrator of the story behind the work. Catherine names Toronto, San Francisco, Gatineau and Quebec City as “home”, as well as other cities and the people within those cities as parts of her person and her inspiration.