As a young child in a frugal household, Joanne Fisette had to hone some thrifty improv skills in order to become an artist.
“We never considered ourselves poor,” she said, “but we couldn’t afford the store-bought clothes so I started making my own patterns on the clothes I already had when I was about 9 or 10.” At her rural homestead in Allan, Saskatchewan, Fisette said that fabric was one of the few materials she had on hand, so in order to creative vision to transpire, “I basically designed and sowed my own clothes. When I would go out shopping I would get my ideas from the things that were on display.”
When her older siblings began having children, she began making quilts – never in the traditional style though. “And that progressed into wall hangings.”
Years later, after the birth of Fisette’s first child, Fisette remembers feeling inspired by beautiful paintings she was looking at. She figured out that those ideas could easily be incorporated into quilting – by using fabrics instead of paint.
“I just love playing with light and shadow. As a teacher, I like getting people to actually look at the world around them and see it in a different light. It’s about taking what you see and creating a piece of fibre art that shows it from your perspective.” Fisette said most of her ideas are generated out of the mundane aspects of nature.
“You know how you drive by stuff and don’t really look at what’s in your surroundings? Until you actually stop and actually see what’s all around, you can’t appreciate all the effects that light and shadows are having on our world.”
She says she’ll have to live to be 150 if all of her ideas are to ever materialize.
But until then, she’ll be sharing her techniques with other art lovers interested in fabrics. As part of a series of workshops this month sponsored by the Peachland Arts Council, Fisette has a one-day workshop coming up on Jan. 27 at the Peachland Little Schoolhouse.
Her class will show people how to transfer images, paint on cloth, make stencils, alternative printing methods, and how to make your own fabric paper.
“Lot of times when people take classes, they buy class supply list and may have to buy things they’ll never use again. This class is a sampling of different techniques.”
The six-hour class costs $50 and all supplies are included.
“Everything supplied, they can come try different things out and see what they like without investing a lot of money in it.”
But before it’s time to learn about fabric art, the Little Schoolhouse will be a classroom for a beginners acrylic art workshop.
The workshop will be led by Roberta Farreley who has been teaching for the past 40 years. She’s looking for art lovers who don’t know the first thing about painting.
“You never know what’s inside of a person until they try it,” she said.
“My father was an artist, he started me at the age of 4. He inspired me.” During her classes, Farreley’s students often find themselves getting pushed farther than they thought they could go.
“If somethings difficult I encourage them to try it at least and see what comes out of it,” she said.
“I encourage them to paint scenery, impressionism, realism – not much abstract though, that’s too easy.” Farreley will be teaching six four-hour classes for a total cost of $60. “And they have lunch as well.”
To sign up for either workshop, contact Sharon McPhee at 767- 6556 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To see some examples of fabric art, check out joannefisette.com.