How might you feel about shredding an artwork you were on the cusp of completing? Or of trading your work with someone else, and seeing them finish and sign it as their own?
It seems an unconventional method of art-making, but Canadian textile artist, Shannon Wardroper, uses these and other experimental techniques in her own work and when teaching students her craft. It is something locals will get the opportunity to emulate at an art workshop she is hosting in Sun Peaks on Nov. 16 to 18.
Wardroper is renowned for her collage-like prints on large panels of kimono silk. She creates her art through a series of repeated screen printing, wax dying, weaving and appliqué layering stages.
“It is a very involved process,” Wardroper admitted.
Her resulting designs merge material and motif in a way that is vibrant and rich in meaning.
Wardroper’s artistic approach is partly inspired by the years she spent living and studying abroad, in Japan, Thailand and England.
“Much of (my) work is really a travelogue of much of my time spent in different countries,” she said.
Certainly, after observing performance artists and rituals like tea ceremony in Japan, Wardroper finds her art practice evolved to a form of “performative inquiry,” that is, “ways of learning that use unusual methods in the study of arts.”
In regards to her preferred specialty in textiles, she mused:
“There’s not too much difference between dye on silk, and oil and canvas, aesthetically.”
Yet, the lengthy and physical processes of working with different fabrics and other materials, building and deconstructing layers, and using less conventional artistic techniques, facilitates a different art-making experience for textile artists.
As one example, Wardroper explained:
“It’s immersive and incredibly sensual, as you can imagine, being surrounded by all this silk and colour. You enter that lovely gap, that sensual gap, when everything else falls away.”
With her focus now on teaching, Wardroper encourages her students to “mine their experiences for something that is meaningful to them, in terms of their image making,” but to also “experiment and play a bit” with their art, as she does.
Her goal is to challenge traditional Western methods of art-making and to inspire a more experimental and collaborative approach in her students.
“The cutting up (of the art) is kind of terrifying for people but it’s a good emotional exercise too, I think,” Wardroper smiled.
“It can be quite thrilling to see the results. People are usually very surprised and delighted with what they depart with. You sorta gotta suspend your disbelief and see what comes of it.
“It is very rewarding to see what students do. It’s inspiring,” she said.
Participants in Wardroper’s three-day workshop, held at the Burfield Lodge, will learn and practise the artistic techniques she uses to create their own print collage on silk.
To register, and for more information, contact the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org.