Heather Van Riesen

My interest in fibre art started with embroidery. I still find machine quilting a challenge and lack the patience for quilting rules and the precision of traditional piecing. I enjoy the Zen-like appeal of sitting quietly with needle and thread while stitching and beading by hand. Even more than colour, texture is what attracts me to fibre art. I both love and hate working with silk and all the inherent problems of material but nothing else has the same sheen or softness for manipulation.

I am drawn to black and white photography where the distraction of colour has been taken away and you are left with patterns, shadows and lines, where the texture has been revealed by colour's absence. These are the things that aid me in my ongoing journey and fibre explorations.

Thrift shops fascinate me as you never know what treasure you will find. Dupioni silk skirts, pure wool trousers, button jars, interesting yardage, old white cotton sheets and a collection of stamps are all items I have found in my search. The white cotton sheets are a treasure for dyeing and surface design but all too rare. Part of it is the challenge of recycling and repurposing but working with dyes, indigo, soy wax and paints are an increasing part of my creative process and cotton sheets work very well for this.

Lately I have been experimenting with the effect of the texture of hand stitching and fabric as a background for painting - a return to my art school days.