I’m an artisan, dyer, and designer obsessed with all things textile. Trained originally as a biochemist, my career has taken detours through cell biology, immunology, botany, and sustainable interior design. I grew up in Nova Scotia, where I learned rug hooking, but now live with my husband and two children in Edmonton, Alberta.
I’m currently taking a research sabbatical from my design business to study the slow design movement, which strives to combine sustainability, locavorism, skilled artisanship, and timelessness, and to refine my aesthetic as a textile artist.
I am also part of the small-but-mighty team of volunteers at The Local Good, whose projects and events revolve around themes of sustainability, localism, and community-building (I'm currently serving as Past Chair after eight years in various roles on the organizing team). I also write about bicycles at Loop-Frame Love and the slow movement at Sustainable Slow Stylish. My organizing, writing, and textile work are all guided by the importance of place in shaping and preserving culture, and the twin imperatives of mitigating and adapting to anthropogenic climate change.
I am fascinated by historical and regional textile techniques and traditions - such as hooked rugmaking, lacemaking, and natural dyeing - that are threatened with extinction by modern industrialized production techniques and a globalized, internet-disrupted economy. Combined with my interests in the slow movement and permaculture, this might suggest a neoluddite stance when it comes to science and technology - but my first career was as a biomedical research scientist. I am inspired by work (such as the bio-art genre) that bridges the worlds of science, art and craft and explores the tensions inherent between them. The long-term goal of my artistic practice is to explore ideas related to craftivism, slow design, sustainability and science, while re-establishing local textile skills and production to ensure community resilience.
I was initially self- and peer-taught in my media of choice, but was fortunate to find phenomenal mentors along with helpful instructional books, blog posts, and online videos. From Andrea Wilson, I learned shuttle tatting; Jeanne Field, Anne Boissinot, Carol Harvey-Clark, and Regina 'Babe' Jones were generous with advice in my first few years of rug hooking; and Lesley Stafiniak has instructed me in indigo dyeing and shibori techniques. I also owe a debt of gratitude to textile artists Deanne Fitzpatrick, Michelle Sirois-Silver, Lori LaBerge, Donna Hrkman, Brigitta Phy, Laura Pierce, and Laura Marchbank - all of whom taught workshops in the past couple of years that expanded my horizons as an artist and rug hooker. I am a member of the Edmonton Rug Hooking Guild, whose fellow members are a source of friendship and inspiration; local instructors Laurie Wiles, Cec Caswell, and Janet McLean have all been especially helpful.
I am also a member of The International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers, and had the privilege of attending the 1997 (Oak Island, Nova Scotia) and 2015 (Victoria, British Columbia) triennial conferences of that guild.