I am a textile artist who works with copper and copper alloys. My weaving and knitting explores my fascination with fabrics that adhere to the laws of metalsmithing as well as those of textiles and furthermore, presents traditional textile techniques and patterns in unexpected contexts. I am interested in the juxtapositions of the new made old, the malleable made work-hardened, and the merging of fine craft techniques which may appear incompatible. I am interested in copper’s metaphoric and mutable qualities, in its ability to serve as a metaphor for the human experience. It rusts blue, green and white, it tarnishes like burnished bronze, it heats to a red-pink before burning, it becomes stronger when worked, and brittle when over-worked. It can take on any shape or form beneath hands, a hammer or a dye, but the traces can never be erased. It is resilient and feminine, both hard and soft. The oxidization process used to acquire the vibrant blues and greens takes up to a month and no two pieces are ever the same, nor can their outcomes be predicted.
I am interested in the ability of a single wire to transform into a larger, stronger entity. I find beauty and meaning in natural processes that cannot be controlled, such as decay and the transformation of surfaces through erosion and new growth. In my most recent work, I am exploring the usage of traditionally female handicrafts such as knitting, weaving, crocheting and embroidery as not only expressions of art, but as cathartic methods of coping and transferring grief.
– S. Johnson, 2017
Originally from Danvers, Massachusetts, Sayward is a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Before feeling called to pursue art, she lived all over Canada and spent years working in forestry. She currently lives in Chelsea, QC with her husband and young daughter.
She is an active member of the Enriched Bread Artists collective in Ottawa. She teaches workshops regularly in the Ottawa and Outaouais regions. Sayward has exhibited across Canada and sold her work to private collectors in the US, Canada and Europe. In 2016 her work was added to the City of Ottawa’s collection.