Caitlin Ffrench is a textile artist working in East Vancouver (unceded Coast Salish Territories). She regularly teaches workshops in different applications of textile arts and natural dyes, is a knitwear designer, and tries to spend as much time as she can outside.
Caitlin received a BFA from the University of British Columbia (Okanagan) and she attended the Kootenay School of the Arts for their textile program.
“I spend a lot of time running around the woods collecting things to dye with. I believe that clothing security is just as important as food security- and that we can find brilliance in even the hardest things. I make most of my own clothing (partially because of my beliefs in clothing security, and partially because i’m 6 feet tall- and finding clothes that fit is hard). I also weave, spin, felt, do surface design (screen print, eco printing), knit, crochet, dye, wildcraft, dance poorly, sing even more poorly, and ride bikes.”
Thanks to PR Arts Council, MAS, FibreSpace Ecouture Wearable Fashion Team, Academy of Music for sponsorship.
FREE ARTIST TALK is AT 7pm Friday Nov 4, MDD Studio
REMAPPING is a series of artworks based on changing the conventions that bind us. “The map” is broken down and then recreated in various modalities of sound, painting and walking.
The Walks: I treat the map as an intentional piece of history and explore these human systems through experience of place in the present day. The maps are usually found, discarded or gifted and used as a starting point for routine walks and research. From Guy Debord in the early 1950s to Richard Long, Janet Cardiff, and Esther Polak more recently, contemporary artists have returned again and again to the walking motif. Today, the convergence of global networks, online databases, and new tools for mobile mapping coincides with my interest in walking as an art form. The rhythms and repetition of familiar walking patterns start to “remap” existing boundaries.
The Paintings: The map is visually restructured through mixed media collage and paint built from the found environment. I attempt to make something new from the past and reorder information just as each systemized map has been created previously. The paintings become saturated with both disparate and unified visual information. Details such as birdsong, flora and fauna as well as concepts around birth, decay, growth and rejuvenation provide cyclical rhythms which predominate the work. The paintings have a perception of moving lines, shifting spaces and disappearing and emerging forms.
The Sounds: Stories and sounds are linked from place to gallery setting through audio. Field recordings and interpretive sounds, snippets of human experience are gathered from site specific locations and neighbourhood walks. The result is a heightened sensory experience; listening, looking and rethinking environments and contemplating conventional knowledge systems. The geographical, historical and cultural context of a site or object are central themes to the recordings while physical spaces become areas of exchange and exploration. Themes emerge such as presence/absence, the commons, loss and shifting perceptions. The virtual recordings also raise questions about established truths, singular narrative histories and authorship through the fabrication of new stories.
I had an amazing 3 week artist in residence experience at Terra Nova National Park. Thanks to Parks Canada and The Rooms for hosting me!
Exploring the area: South Broad and Minchin Cove, Terra Nova Park
I created an audiowalk for the Park at http://www.projectart.zone
On Saturday June 14, 2014, approximately 150 people from the region gathered at the Tla’amin Salish Centre to reflect on our relationships with place, and our responsibilities to each other and the land. The event was called Converging visions: Listening, learning, understanding, and was the result of a number of important partnerships — giving additional meaning to the event’s title.
Powell River Voices (with support from the Taos Institute) and members of the Tla’amin Nation began planning the event together several months prior. It was in the very early stages that the Malaspina Art Society and Community Foundation became significant partners as well, with the bridging of this event with the Powell River artist in residency program. Some of artist Landon Mackenzie‘s work creatively explores changing relationships with place and their implications. Mackenzie is a full professor at Emily Carr in Vancouver, and was invited to do an artists’ workshop in Powell River the same weekend as the Converging Visions event. The artists who participated in Mackenzie’s workshop were invited to contribute art to the Converging Visions event as part of a multi-media installation at the Salish Centre. The art installation circled the hall, and invited participants in the Converging Visions event to take time to reflect on the different interpretations and implications of our varying relationships with this place many of us call home.
In addition to the artists’ work, there was a talk by archaeologist Colleen Parsley about significant findings of a Tla’amin village site at Shelter Point on Texada Island, an intergenerational discussion about changing relationships with the place and what that means for us moving forward, a song performed by local singer/songwriter Devon Hanley, three short locally produced films that share additional perspectives on the importance of our relationships with place, and singing and drumming by talented Tla’amin youth. There was a kids’ corner with nature crafts and stories, delicious food prepared by Maggie Wilson, a thorough timeline of the Tla’amin history posted on the wall, displays by the museum, and more to engage the senses and the imagination. There was also lively participation in discussions around how we might be more deliberate about how we relate with this place as we face difficult political, cultural, and economic realities.
Here is one resource that generated a lot of interest and discussion at the event: a Sliammon-Historical-Timelinein the era of contact with settlers, courtesy of the Sliammon Treaty Society.