Every once in a while we chance upon art that leaves us awestruck. A jaw-dropping calendar of photographs I received in 2015 had imprinted on me the beauty that can be found in this world - and the equally staggering destruction of our climate.

The calendar was created by Louis Helbig, based on aerial photographs from his book Beautiful Destruction, of the Alberta oil/tar sands, and the messages he conveys through his medium and the guest excerpts by several well-known personalities.

This calendar still hangs in my studio, 7 years later, so struck was I by his work: the patterns captured from the air, the expressive perspectives, the barrenness of the landscapes. My hope was that one day I too could capture such beauty in my art, developing my own artistic eye to see these unusual lines, forms, movement and patterns.

While my focus may not be about climate change (although it is a meaningful and important topic), I have begun in the last few years to capture the lines we find around us, both natural and manmade, and often altered or corroded by the elements. My Lineations series has been all about these lines. 

Tree Rings

I like to photograph these elements close-up, capturing snippets and affected areas that have rusted, corroded, decayed, weathered. The Japanese philosophy, Wabi-sabi is all about the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, and plays a part in my art these days. This concept has given me a unique perspective as I look at the world around me. I now see with new eyes the beauty in rust, a flower past its prime, peeling paint, crumbling stone, the wrinkles in aging hands.

During a hike on a local trail last month, we happened upon a number of abandoned and rusted items - farm equipment, cars, a stove, fridge, tools - seemingly left behind on what used to be a farm in the 1950s. I likened these discards to outdoor art - and took many photos -  suggestive of ideas for my own future fibre art.

A few years ago I embroidered a series on hands - the aging hands of four women over the age of 80 - along with a small biography on each of the very creative women I picked. I'm still fascinated with hands, as there is so much history, wisdom, and experience in their lines and scars. I called this series "Hands of Time".

To represent the timeworn lines of my subject, I like to use the sew 'n slash technique of layering fabrics, then cutting and distressing with agitation and heat, as well as adding embellishments, all revealing the characteristics and secrets hidden below the surface. 


"Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try...