SAYWARD JOHNSON is a textile artist who works with copper and copper alloys. Her weaving and knitting explores a fascination with fabrics that adhere to the laws of metalsmithing as well as those of textiles, presenting traditional textile techniques and patterns in unexpected contexts.
Sayward is interested in the juxtapositions of the new made old, the merging of fine craft techniques which may appear incompatible. Using traditional techniques such as loom weaving, knitting, crocheting and embroidery, she creates wall hangings and small sculptures of copper wire, often treated to robust patinas of blue, green and turquoise.
She says, “Copper can take on any shape or form. 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. Copper is resilient and feminine, both hard and soft. It serves as a metaphor for the human experience.”
Originally from Danvers, Massachusetts, Sayward Johnson 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 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.