At first glance, you see a complex image of a natural scene. Is it an oil painting, acrylic or watercolour? On closer examination the viewer is surprised to find that every element of the extraordinary piece is made up of strands of colourful wool yarn.
Kathy White is a textile artist who, with her musician husband, Doug White, has lived in Stratford for the past two years. Although she studied English at the University of Waterloo and began a career in business, White continued to explore the arts through courses at Fanshawe College in London, the Dundas Valley School of Art and Globe Studios in Kitchener. She studied a variety of techniques from oil to acrylic, watercolor to ceramics, and even spent time as a commercial graphic artist. Throughout all of it, she also pursued traditional needlecrafts, including embroidery and knitting. When her stash of wool yarns grew to alarming proportions, she realized that this was her preferred medium and began to create her signature textile art pieces.
She uses organic materials like wool and sweet-smelling beeswax to explore moments of natural beauty in rural Ontario throughout the seasons. The halo of fibres created by the wool softens the divisions between colours and adds a dreamy haze to her work.
White says she is motivated to use both the materials and skills that have been passed to her by previous generations of women.
Every Fibre of My Being, the exhibition by Kathy White, is presented by the Blyth Festival Art Gallery. The show is sponsored by Joan Perrie and curated by Carl Stevenson. It can be viewed in the newly renovated Bainton Gallery (next to the Box Office) in the Blyth Memorial Community Hall, from Friday, June 22 to July 14. The gallery is open during Festival Box Office hours.