ibre & Form: Carmella Karijo Rother
August 2 – September 9, 2018 at General Fine Craft
opening/meet the artist: Sunday August 12, 2-4pm
Panniers and vessels: natural cotton rope and/or paper cord, machine-stitched
Carded wool felted bowls/vessels
Carmella Karijo Rother engages uncomplicated materials, tools and processes which resonate with her reflective manner of working, seen in the clean lines and pure forms of her pieces. The natural colours of the materials complement this direction towards clarity and simplicity, referencing the origins of the materials.
The abstract imagery of my silk canvases evolved from Quilt Art, wall hangings made with cotton fabrics in a more narrative style. Each silk piece has hundreds of iterations of a basic shape such as a curve or a trapezoid, covered with curved lines of stitching that flow in parallel marks across the canvas. The cut, layered and sewn assemblages are mounted on artist canvases, and have a painterly quality. It is when people come close and discover the reflective qualities of the silk and the stitched marks, that they see the work as textile in origin.
Making felt with carded wool has been described as a magical process of alchemy. When I became interested in the medium of felt it was with a view to creating 3-dimensional pieces. I was inspired by the idea of the pieces being held. Felt has a beautiful texture, and I have worked to enhance this, often using white wool, sometimes adding criss-cross lines of colour in black and red, my favourite combination with white. Of all the materials I have worked with, the felt pieces have been the most physical and the most challenging: being able to make sculptural pieces with wisps of carded wool never ceases to amaze me.One of the challenges in making sculptural fibre work is that the material is soft and pliable. I have developed techniques that allow the pieces to retain a firmness while preserving the inherent characteristics that initially drew me to the medium.
Panniers and vessels
Over time, I’ve come to learn that the process I favour involves working with few materials and simple ones, in being engaged in exploring the properties of each one. Currently I am discovering what I can do with a humble material frequently found in our homes: rope. To make the panniers and vessels I guide cotton and paper rope on an industrial sewing machine in one continuous spiral, from the centre coil to the top edge. Panniers are the earthier and often functional ones; vessels are studies in line, shape and volume. I think of them as pirouetting slowly round and round, as the pieces emerge.My sculptural pieces are intended to be appealing to the visual and tactile senses, to create an imaginative space to breathe, reflect and contemplate. Simplicity, grace and organic forms are what please me in my work. My goal is to make things of beauty that bring moments of joy and reflection into our homes. –C. Karijo Rother
The current exhibition fibre & form brings together work from three distinct periods: silk panels, carded wool sculptures and bowls, rope and paper cord panniers and vessels. Together, they tell the story of Karijo Rother’s extraordinary explorations as an artist pushing the limits of fibre within the realms of art and craft.
Coccon Series: hand-felted wool sculptures
“Felt-making involves engagement with simple materials and tools – wool, water, soap and hands. It is a process that resonates in the way that I work and is reflected in the clean lines and pure forms of my pieces. The natural colours of the wools that I use – mainly whites, greys, and browns – complement this direction towards clarity and simplicity, and reference the origins of the material I work with.
One of the challenges in making sculptural felt is that the material is pliable. Using techniques that I have developed, my pieces retain their firmness while preserving the inherent warmth and tactility of felt, features that drew me to this medium.
My sculptural pieces are intended to be appealing to both visual and tactile senses, to create an imaginative space to breathe, reflect and contemplate.”
Carmella’s home and studio are nestled in Gatineau Park, Quebec among century-old pines hung with pails for maple sap in the spring and flaming with colour in the fall. Her love of nature – the beauty, wonder and tranquility she finds there – is woven throughout her life.
Carmella has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master in Environmental Studies from York University. Her first career was in the field of nature interpretation and education, working at Ontario Parks and the Canadian Museum of Nature before she became an artist full-time.
Over the years she has been creating art with fibres and textiles – wreaths with natural materials, wall hangings in cotton fabrics, and Dupioni silk collages mounted on canvases – and she is now engaged in making wool sculptures, some with mixed media. Her pieces have an elegant simplicity that comes from her “less is more” aesthetic. She encourages people to touch and hold her pieces, to feel the inherent warmth and softness of felt.
Her most recent work are panniers stitched together from 100% natural cotton rope. They are sturdily made with thoughtfully designed handles for carrying.
Carmella’s work is in the City of Ottawa’s Fine Art Collection and recent exhibitions include Wall Space Gallery in Ottawa and Harbinger Gallery in Waterloo. Two sculptures will be featured in the international World of Threads Festival held during the month of November in Oakville, Ontario.