Fashion

Anna Kari of Anna Kari Fine Knitwear

Anna Kari Knitwear

INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?

I am self-taught on the machine but I have always hand knit, so understanding and developing work on a knitting machine was not too much of a stretch. I fell into machine knitting after a career in developing printed and silhouettes for womenswear collections. I felt knitting had a certain warmth and vitality as a physical object and I wanted to pursue that. After finding and restoring a number of Swiss hand flat vintage knitting machines from the 1940’s and 1950’s, a process I really enjoyed, I began to develop swatches and full collections on the machines. Ever since that first machine I have really enjoyed the physical process of knitting on such wonderful pieces of equipment.

What do you love most about your process?

That I make 3D objects out of yarn, which is essentially a long line of twisted fibre. Amazing!

How has your practice changed over time?

My work has gotten simpler and more functional over time. I cram less ideas into one piece. 

What inspired you to become a craftsperson/artist?

 I have always been interested in making and building having come from a long line of craftspeople (basketmakers, violin makers, knitters, weavers and clockmakers!). I was always drawing and working with colour in some form.

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What is your favourite childhood memory?

 

Walking the dogs through poppy fields in England with the family. I always collected acorns, wild grasses and chestnuts on my walks.

If you could be any character from any novel, who would you be? Why?

Bathseba Everdeen from Far from the Madding Crowd. Although her character lived in 1874, she followed her gut, she made mistakes and she made bold choices. She was one of the first fictional characters I could identify with. 

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What do you like to listen to when you work?
Movie soundtracks and composers (Hans Zimmer and Ennio Morricone), industrial electronica and shoegaze.

 

Where do you turn for inspiration?

Colour wise I'm very influenced by my everyday and immediate surroundings so the colours in my garden and seasonal changes are places that inspire me. With knitting inspiration I look to the 1940’s and 1970’s for patterns and ideas. I also have a great deal of vintage knitting magazine from the 20’s to 50’s which I return to often.

Tell us about your workspace/studio.

My studio looks a bit like a car mechanic garage and a yarn shop combined. It is very spare and full of light. When I was a child my dad had a clockmaking studio in a restored 15th century horse stable and Ive always gravitated towards a space with character and light.

Where can you be found when you're not in your studio?

At the record store, going for walks, spending time with my son, and growing veggies in the garden. Music and the outdoors are my jam.

Anna Kari Knitwear at Black & Smith Country General

Clare Pearson of CP Metal

CP Metal Earrings

"Clare Pearson has studied Design at Sheridan College, Fibres and Sculpture at Concordia University and Jewellery at George Brown College. Her sculptural installations have been exhibited at various Ontario galleries (including The Art Gallery of Hamilton, McMaster Museum of Art and Hamilton Artists Inc.) and her work has found homes with private collectors worldwide. She references her background in design and three-dimensional art in creating the delicate elements of her jewellery. Drawn to the world of functionality, she has turned her focus to precious metals, creating small scale sculptures for the body. Clare works from her Dundas, Ontario studio for private collectors and galleries and is an instructor at Dundas Valley School of Art."
 


INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?
Thankfully, my parents have always encouraged creativity and I started at a very young age. My first art classes were at the Hamilton Art School which used to occupy the whole third floor at 41 King William Street in Hamilton.  Years later, that space was divided into small studio spaces and I rented a studio there for a couple of years. Now, that building is home to The Mule and Factor(e) Design Initiative. I was a full-time foundation student at DVSA, studied Craft and Design at Sheridan for a year, before our instructors went on strike. During that strike, I decided to switch my focus to the Fine Arts program at Concordia University, where I immersed myself in the faculties of sculpture and fibres. I spent many years after university as a member of the Osmosis Collective, working in my studio and showing in group exhibitions. I’ve always been a mixed media/assemblage artist and worked in 3D. When I was exploring media and tried my hand at precious metal fabrication, I was hooked. I’ve never looked back. Now it’s small-scale sculpture that can be worn.

What do you like to listen to while you’re working?
I really like music from West and North Africa.  Also Nick Cave, Tindersticks, Agnes Obel. To name a few.

Outside of your medium, what other types of art/design/etc are you inspired by?
Architecture and landscape design.

If you couldn’t be an artist/craftsperson, what would you love to be?
My dog. He has a very good life.

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Where is your studio located?
My studio is in Dundas. 

What’s your favourite thing about your city?
I love being so close to the conservation area and all the trails.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
My family is from the North East coast of England- so I would love to live somewhere coastal. I’m drawn to Scotland’s West Hebrides. I have no issue with cold, grey and damp.

What do you love most about Canada?
That we haven’t ignored our responsibility to our fellow human beings fleeing countries of unrest.
 

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What brand/artist can you not get enough of?
The works of visual artists Berlinde De Bruyckere and Anish Kapoor.

What’s one thing you hope makes it big?
Widespread appreciation for all things handmade.

What's your favourite book?
Too many favourites. One I return to from time to time is Giacometti Portrait by James Lord.

CPMetal Rings

What's your favourite thing to do with your “down time”?
Trail walks with my dog, Kane.

If you could go to dinner with ANYBODY, alive or dead, who would it be?
Piet Oudolf and Tadao Ando. Together.

What’s one goal you’re working towards right now?
Live/work balance but I can’t sit still long enough to figure out how that works.

What’s your favourite thing to do over the holidays?
Bundled-up hikes on the Bruce Trail (with snow shoes, if the weather permits!)
I like making big pots of soup, followed by warm blankets and scotch.

 

 

Amber Aasman from Wild Blue Yonder

 
 

" (Amber) began crafting jewelry from wood back in 2014 - simply because I wanted a wood pendant and couldn't find anything I liked. So I began experimenting with found wood, lichens, and epoxy resin. As I wore my handmade pieces, friends and family began asking for similar ones, so I happily obliged. Pushing my craft and expanding my networks has allowed my to begin my own company, Wild Blue Yonder, in the spring of 2016. Based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, my jewelry is available in several stores, and is displayed regularly at events throughout the region. 

WBY jewelry is created using reclaimed materials, unused lumber scraps, or fragments of wood, bark, and lichen found on hikes and travels through the forest. Little details, often unnoticed in nature, are readily on display in my pieces. My jewelry is designed to inspire its wearer with a love for nature, and all the intricacies that lie therein."

INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?

I had been looking for wood jewelry for myself – and couldn’t find anything I liked. So I started making a few pieces, which friends noticed and began requesting them. Over a couple of years, my practice and craft was refined, and early in 2016 I decided to take the plunge, and start the business full time.

What do you like to listen to while you’re working?

I alternate between comedy podcasts (This is That, Because News, No Such Thing as a Fish) and French- learning podcasts. Once in while I’ll add some music in the mix too: Indie folk/rock, or old school jazz and blues.

Outside of your medium, what other types of art/design/etc are you inspired by?

I love pottery in all its forms – so earthy and interesting. In a second life I would try to be a potter.

If you couldn’t be an artist/craftsperson, what would you love to be?

Hm. This is genuinely the first time I have thought of this possibility. Can I pick music teacher? Because that’s my second job and I love it.

Where is your studio located? What’s your favourite thing about your city?

I do most of my work from my home studio, in Hamilton near Gage Park. It’s the attic floor of an old century home, with a big skylight, creaky wood floors, and I absolutely love it. I also sublet woodshop space off friends who run a carpentry business (Circle A Carpentry) where I do most of the rough cutting and sanding.

My favourite thing about Hamilton is…

The small-town feel, with big-city amenities. Particularly in the arts scene, it really seems like everyone knows one another, while also being really receptive to new faces. It’s a unique blend actually – and I have really been lucky to find a place in that community, despite being at the beginning of my creative career.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I would move to Whitehorse in a heartbeat – we visited there this summer and it was so beautiful.

What do you love most about Canada?

Our abundance of untouched wilderness – you would need a lifetime of lifetimes to get to it all.

What's you favourite thing to do with your “down time”?

Baking or cooking things for the first time, camping, canoeing.

If you could go to dinner with ANYBODY, alive or dead, who would it be?

I would want to have dinner with Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday – two amazing women making art in a time when both their gender and ethnicity were immense barriers – and yet that didn’t stop either of them from creating beautiful music their whole lives long. Inspiring for women and minorities today to keep working & creating unapologetically and boldly.

What brand/artist can you not get enough of?

I love the brand of resin that I use! Art Resin is a company in Burlington, ON (the proximity is total coincidence, they ship worldwide) and it is a no-VOCs, crystal clear and super durable resin. I swear by the stuff – and the company is full of awesome people!

What’s one thing you hope makes it big?

Call me biased, but I’d really love to see wood jewelry take a mainstage in the fashion world. I am obsessed with the possibilities, despite it being an unusual material for jewelry. Wood is warm, durable, and can be easily recycled/reclaimed. I’m not much of a gemstones fan so it makes it’s easier for me to happily forsake the diamonds for the lovely opalescence of certain types of exotic hardwood.

Do you have a favourite book?

I finally read “The Orenda” which was very compelling. Tough to read, but deeply informative and moving.

What’s one goal you’re working towards right now?

 

Get through this Christmas season with a healthy balance of busy-ness/success with relaxation and the peacefulness that this season is *supposed to* bring. We’ll see if I can nail it this year.

What’s your favourite thing to do over the holidays?

My favourite thing to do is spend a few days up at my family cottage near North Bay – it’s so peaceful there, and very special to me, since my grandparents built it in the 70s and my family has spent a lot of time there since. It can get so cold up there (a couple times it’s hit -30 or lower) but with the wood stove going, it’s the most delightful place to be.

Leanne Rhem from Gold & Ginger

 
 


"In 2013 Leanne Shea Rhem returned to Toronto from a whirlwind tour around the world learning traditional textile techniques and studying various forms of art. This is when Leanne founded Gold & Ginger and began developing patterns and surface designs for accessories, fashion and stationery. These designs were inspired by an ongoing collaborative watercolour and pen and ink illustration series with her partner, Zac Kenny. Coming from a textiles background Leanne has been sewing, designing and drawing for as long as she can remember. She now serves as owner, creative director and maker at Gold & Ginger. Her product line is a labour of love combining her interests in animals, colour, pattern and urban environments. Leanne has a commitment to bring well made, thoughtfully designed, quality items to the market place and practices a collaborative approach to design where she enlists the help of artist Zac Kenny.

Everything is designed and sewn by hand in Picton, Prince Edward County where the couple now lives."


INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?

Ever since I was a little kid I played dress up and was creating things out of fabric and paper, I just never stopped.

What do you like to listen to while you’re working?

I love music but I love movies more, I find that while I’m working if I have a favourite movie on - it’s a way for me to gauge how long a certain part of my process has taken and if I’m on track for a productive studio day. BBC nature shows and Disney movies are favourites of mine.

Outside of your medium, what other types of art/design/etc are you inspired by?

My husband and collaborator Zac Kenny is and abstract oil painter, a medium and style I never really appreciated until I saw his work. The colours he uses are vibrant and inspiring, he has this magical way of telling a story and conveying emotion with strokes of colour that I’m sure I’ll never truly understand.

If you couldn’t be an artist/craftsperson, what would you love to be?

An heiress that got to travel to work and look at art in the museums and galleries of the world. That or a mermaid.. I’m not sure haha.

Leanne Rhem's workspace in Picton ON.

Leanne Rhem's workspace in Picton ON.

What’s your favourite thing about your city?

We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many creative people doing and making such awesome things from the creative menus and fresh food available to the artists and designers we have as friends.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

I’m tempted to say Florence, Italy because it’s my favourite city to visit but I think I’d miss Canada too much.

What do you love most about Canada?

Too many things. As a maker deeply inspired by nature I love the seasons and the range of landscapes we get to explore most of all.

Do you have a favourite book?

I haven’t had time to sit down and read anything in such a long time it’s embarrassing but one of my favourites is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

When you get some "down time" what do you like to do?

Down time hardly exists for me anymore but when I can carve out some time away from the studio it usually consists of travelling to a beach and napping in the sunshine.

Pillows and bags by Gold & Ginger

Pillows and bags by Gold & Ginger

If you could go to dinner with ANYBODY, alive or dead, who would it be?

Frida Kahlo, the authenticity, colour and autobiographical nature of her work are a constant inspiration to me reminding me to be honest with the work I want to make. I’d love to be able to speak to her and practice my Spanish.

What brand/artist can you not get enough of?

Helena of Here and Now Shop is one of my favourite makers to do shows with and to buy from. Her work stained glass jewellery is gorgeous and she’s just about one of my favourite smiley people

What’s one goal you’re working towards right now?

I’m currently pregnant and a business owner so I’m doing about 100 things at once while growing a human, if that wasn’t enough I decided to add 3 new patterns to the product line for the holidays! Our new patterns will be ready to launch mid-November, I can’t wait to show you.

What’s your favourite thing to do over the holidays?

In my family we have a tradition that on boxing day we all stay in our pajamas, eat leftovers and have a movie marathon. It’s pretty much the best time ever.