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13  Barbara Wisnoski

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8  June J. Jacobs

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6  Ixchel Suarez

5  Cynthia Jackson

4  Lorraine Roy

3  Christine Mockett

2  Amanda McCavour

1  Ulrikka Mokdad


Ixchel Suarez working on the tapestry Impressions in the Savannah.


Man of a Thousand Faces,  Best of Show for Guilded Threads 2007


Artist: Ixchel Suarez, Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Interview 6: Ixchel Suarez was Winner of Best in Show for the 2007 World of Threads Festival exhibition Guilded Threads. She exhibited in the 2009 Common Thread International Juried Exhibition Part 2. She also showed in the 2012 exhibitions De rerum natura (On The Nature of Things), and Quiet Zone and Memento Mori.

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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.




Ixchel Suarez has been an artist for 30 years and has explored diverse media such as painting, photography and fibre art. Her profound interests in textiles led her to studies in Mexico and Europe.  She has earned a BA in Graphic Design, MBA in Museum Studies, and Post Graduate Course in Contemporary textiles in Poland, History of Art, Pattern Design and Natural Dyes. She has been a lecturer, workshop leader and teacher. She has been a docent at the textile Museum of Canada and Founder of Oakville Tapestry and Painting Studios. She is a member of several Art and  fibre related organizations. Ixchel just received a Mid-Career Visual Arts Grant from the Ontario Arts Council. View Website



Ixchel Suarez
at the 2009 World of Threads Festival


Yukon Fields, Tapestry Haute-lisse, wool, silk, linen, cotton, metallic threads, raffia, yute, synthetic. 1.30 m H X 1.10 m W, 2008


Tell us about your work?

I am a textile artist and have been exploring possibilities through diverse textile techniques (weaving, batik, printing, dying, paper, etc.) Through this search, I found in weaving, a way to express my needs by the use of diverse materials and non-conventional tapestry techniques.


From where do you get your inspiration?

For a long time my inspiration was in the Maya Culture. My grandfather was an archaeologist so at home we had a lot of literature for me to explore. Not only was this interest in their ideology and cosmogony, but also the abstract shapes that fused into fibre forms.

Another very important part of my inspirations has been photography of simple details of nature interpreted through textures. Shapes, colours blend in ideas at the moment of a photo shoot. My camera and my eye can sometimes see woven ideas!



Soul of the Tree, Tapestry Haute-lisse, wool, silk, linen, cotton, metallic threads, raffia, yute, synthetic, 1.65 mt. H X 1.45 m W, 2010


Man of a Thousand Faces, Tapestry Haute-lisse, wool, natural dyes (cochineal, indigo, marigold, brazil wood.) cotton, raffia, metal, 1.18 m H X 1.47 m W, 2007


Why did you choose to go into weaving?

Tapestry weaving is a medium of vast possibilities and in my case, I can tell you that the different materials, whether natural or synthetic, have guided my way through. Textiles are the closest materials from early settlements, in all cultures and time. It is something that it refers to comfort and warmth. The visual experience of feeling-seeing textiles is always appealing. I just LOVE working with fibres!


What other mediums do you use, and how does this inform your fibre work?

I used to paint and love photography. When I was growing up we had a dark room at home and we used to do prints with my dad, altering the grains or visual effects. Now with the new technologies, I am going back to photography to explore details of nature and interpret them though my tapestries. It helps me guide my cartoons for the weaving.


Impressions in the Savannah, Tapestry Haute-lisse, wool, silk, linen, cotton, metallic threads, raffia, synthetic, 1.60 m H X 2.60 m W, 2007


What specific historic artists have influenced your work? 

I think I always loved the series of the Lady and the Unicorn Series of tapestries. The monumental productions of tapestries from the XIV to XVII C. After that I found out about Jean Lurcat in France and the influence on the new vision of tapestry. It was possible to break the established rules!


What specific contemporary artists have influenced your work? 

There was this exhibition in 1985 that came to México from Contemporary Polish Art! WOW, since then, I was just focusing on them, their styles, proposals, ideas. The formats regarding the three-dimensionality and the use of ALL kinds of materials! I had to go there and explore them. That's how I ended up studying in Lodz, Poland for a year and a half! 



Blue, Tapestry Haute-Lisse, wool silk and indigo dye, 57cms.  W  X 113  H cms. 2000


Lodz-Freezing Rain I, Tapestry Haute-Lisse, Wool, cotton and linen, 1.60 m H  X 1.12 m W, 1995


What other fibre artists are you interested in?

There are many fibre artists I love. I can mention just some particularly in tapestry like Magdalena Abakanowicz or Ewa Latkowska-Zychska, both from Poland or Marcel Marois from Quebec….But I like different fibre techniques, not only tapestry, like paper as pulp only.

I have a lot of interest in what Bulgaria, Poland or France is proposing. South American Fibre art is giving some points of interest, especially from Argentina considering explosions of textures and diverse materials.

Japan has been a leader in fibre art, though sober, simple and clear ideas, I tend to prefer the more dramatic contrasts of textures through materials.


Ixchel's Studio in Oakville, Ontario


What role do you think fibre art plays in contemporary art?

Fibre Art has been a very controversial catalogued art expression. Between Art and Craft there is a very fine line and this tends to determine who does what or who gets into museums and galleries. However, I believe that as Fibre Artists we have the opportunity to remove that tag and start positioning Fibre Art into a Fine Arts level.


Tell us about your studio and how you work.

I moved to Canada 5 years ago and I have been moving quite a lot since then. I used to have a great studio and Fibre Art School in Mexico, but due to my husband's work we have been on the move, from Mexico to Spain to Mexico and now here to Canada. This has been a bit difficult to settle and do my work. I prefer to work in large formats so it is not always easy to find space. Today I have quite a comfortable studio that gives me the possibility of creating large formats. I also teach painting and tapestry there, so it is a "creative hub" and really inspires me to work.


Ixchel working on Impressions in the Savannah.


Where do you imagine your work in 5 years? 

I am working on a new series of artworks in larger formats. I have already two promised exhibitions; one of them is in Sept 2012 in the main gallery at the Burlington Art Centre. I am looking forward to promote this new exhibition throughout some provinces. This major exhibit comes at a time when we were just granted Canadian Citizenship, and the works reflect images from our visits to some Canadian Provinces. I am honouring this beautiful country that allows many of us to keep creating in each of our own mediums. I hope in a time frame from here to five years we can see more tapestry than in the earlier years. It would be fantastic to have a commission to weave a tapestry for a public building!


Which World of Threads Festival have you exhibited in?

I participated in 2007 in the Guilded Threads Exhibition, and 2009 in the Common Thread International Juried Exhibition Part 2 at Towne Square Gallery. I was also part of the festival organizing committee for 2009.


What was your motivation for submitting your work to the World of Threads Festival?

I really think it is a fantastic forum for fibre artists and creators to showcase and stand side-by-side with diverse fibre techniques. Being such an important International festival, it is an honor to participate, especially being held in our own Town of Oakville!


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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.


Impressions in the Savannah in the Common Thread International Juried Exhibition Part 2 at Towne Square Gallery, Oakville, Ontario, Canada, 2009