artist

Flora & Fauna: Featuring Olga Wieczorek

 
Olga Wieczorek in her studio
 

Olga Wieczorek graduated with a BFA from OCADU in 2011, specializing in printmaking. She has since founded Kiss The Paper, a letterpress print shop operated from her home studio in Caistor Centre, Ontario. Apart from producing letterpress stationery and custom work, she produces limited edition woodcut prints. These prints are carved by hand and printed with one colour and one sheet of paper at a time. Her work is inspired by nature's bounty; whether plant or animal, and the natural habitats they find themselves in. She teaches workshops on letterpress and relief printing in Hamilton and Toronto, and hopes to keep this antique form of printing alive and thriving. Follow Olga online by following @kissthepaper

Birch Trees Olga Wieczorek
Chamomilla Olga Wieczorek

Olga is one of nine Canadian artists invited for our Spring Exhibition Flora & Fauna. Come see her works in person during the opening reception on April 13 (7-9pm). Exhibition runs April 12 - 26, 2019

Olga Wieczorek Studio

Flora & Fauna: Featuring Lesley Bergen

 
Lesley Bergen

Lesley Bergen

 

When describing Lesley's artwork one might use words like energetic patterns, lively colour and detailed dot work. Lesley's subject matter varies, but mainly consists of creatures of the forest, both feathered and fur.

Lesley's love of nature came to her as a young girl living on a hobby farm surrounded by acres of forest in Northern Ontario. She often would forgo Saturday morning cartoons to instead explore the woods around her home. In those early years drawing and art were always a favourite pastime and have continued to be till present day. Today living with her husband in Calgary, Lesley still finds the same inspiration from frequent visits to nearby Banff and Kananaskis regions of Alberta. 

LesleyBergenGreenBird
LesleyBergenBirdPurple

When creating her dotted acrylics Lesley enjoys working with different support mediums, not limiting herself to any one type. These include canvas, paper, wood panel, wood cut-outs, carvings and most recently papier-mâché. Influenced by the bold, bright cartoon colours of her early animation years after art college in Vancouver, Lesley likes to think of her current work as a fusion of folk-art and contemporary-pop. Her other artistic interests include sketchbooking, digital drawing, and the needle arts. She enjoys swimming, running, hiking and spending time with family and her dog Scarlett. You can follow Lesley and her studio practice online @lesleybergen

Lesley is one of nine Canadian artists invited for our Spring Exhibition Flora & Fauna. Exhibition runs April 12 - 26, 2019

 
Lesley’s studio space in her home of Calgary AB

Lesley’s studio space in her home of Calgary AB

 

Niki Kingsmill of Niki Kingsmill Fine Art and Illustration

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INTERVIEW:

How did you get into your art/craft?

I’ve been painting and creating since I was very young. Both my mum and grandmother painted themselves, so I grew up watching them. I was always making something.

What do you love most about your process?

I love how freeing it is. I can’t really explain how it feels to have an idea, execute it, and be so energized by what I’m doing!

How has your practice changed over time?

When I was younger, I was painting or drawing occasionally when I had time, but never took it too seriously. I then took a 4 month course at the AGO in Toronto while I was in high school. We learned all sorts of painting and drawing methods. It was a fabulous course that introduced me to so many new ways of making. I think this is when I realized I wanted to pursue art in University.

I went on to study Art History & Studio Art at Concordia University. I learned so much from my studio classes, but still hadn’t really found my own style. I believe it was only when I was out of school, and frustrated with my job in the financial industry, that I started to really experiment with the intention of doing this full time. I really wanted to get to a point where I’d feel comfortable leaving my job, and I did!

What is your favourite childhood memory?

We used to do an annual trip to Maine with my parents and brother. We would drive through Vermont and stay by the beach in Maine, and eat so much lobster! Many great memories from those trips!

What inspired you to become a craftsperson/artist?

Not sure what really sparked my interest, but I know I’ve always gravitated towards creative work. I knew I would never be happy doing anything else. And although I was scared to leave my job in the financial industry, I would have regretted it if I didn’t try!

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

My favourite books to read are Granta’s – they are a collection of short stories surrounding a particular theme, so the charcters are always changing. Too many wonderful ones to remember!

What do you like to listen to when you work?

I actually like to listen to artists like Tycho, Air, and playlists where there are no lyrics. I like to just have music on that lets me zone into my work.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

Everywhere! Online tools like Pinterest are great for inspiration. Instagram is as well because you can see people’s real photos of a particular place or subject. Usually those get me started on a train of thought, and I’ll keep notes of what’s running through my head. Just walking or driving also helps me to think, or visiting a second hand store that’s full of all sorts of unique treasures.

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Tell us about your workspace/studio.

I am very lucky to have a large home studio that lets in so much beautiful natural light. I have my prints and cards on display, room for my desk where I paint watercolour, and a corner for all my oil and acrylic painting at the easel.

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

I like to take a break and go to the gym, or I’m making something delicious to eat in the kitchen!

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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