Canadian fiber artist Alison Syer presents her diverse portfolio and talks about her goals as an artist. Enjoy!
ABI: You have a great love of pattern and colour. What do you plan to do with it?
AS: I currently sell my work at local shows and studio tours, on consignment in shops, and online in my Etsy shop. I would like to add to that by teaching workshops, which I am working on, beginning with topics like Artist Trading Cards and creative sketchbooks.
Also, I’d like to create new surface designs – designs in various media to be applied to textiles. I have used Spoonflower to print some of my designs and used these fabrics in my own work, but do not yet license my designs to any brands. This is something I would like to work toward.
Although much of my work is textile based, I also paint in acrylics, I have been painting a series of abstracts based on butterfly markings and colours.
ABI: What does your textile work encompass?
AS: Primarily I work on two types of textiles. One is silk clutch bags, embellished with stripes in contrasting colours, and wavy decorative stitching, silk lined inside, with a small pocket and strap.
These are fun to make, partly because of the variety of colours available, and the combinations I can put together. The other is a collection of framed free motion embroidered butterflies and moths. In contrast to the abstracts, these are representational, inspired by natural history.
ABI: What technique do you use to create your butterflies?
AS: Free motion embroidery – I start by shredding silk yardage, and the stitching is carefully hand manipulated under the sewing machine. Each one is based on a species of butterfly, mimicking the colours and markings as closely as I can, and creating a life-size textile version of the insect.
These pieces combine deconstruction and reconstruction in the technique and the idea of preserving specimens from nature. They take several hours of work to make. They are then framed like Victorian natural history displays. The series is titled Psyche, which translates to mind, soul, or butterfly.