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13  Barbara Wisnoski

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11  Amy Bagshaw

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9  Emma Nishimura

8  June J. Jacobs

7  Dagmar Kovar

6  Ixchel Suarez

5  Cynthia Jackson

4  Lorraine Roy

3  Christine Mockett

2  Amanda McCavour

1  Ulrikka Mokdad


Shroud, installation detail from 2006-2011, burlap.


Unravel and Thaw (Penelope's Shroud), 2006, Burlap, multiple video projections, chair, rug, bucket, ice, Stony Brook, NY


Artist: Amy Bagshaw, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Amy Bagshaw exhibited "Shroud" in the 2009 World of Threads Festival show Common Thread International Juried Exhibition Part 3. In 2012 she exhibited in De rerum natura (On The Nature of Things).

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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.



Amy Bagshaw earned her BFA from Queen's University in 2002, and MFA from Stony Brook University, New York, with a focus on fibre installation and multi -media in 2006. A Graduate Women's Studies Scholar, her practice extends to Gender Studies and Visual Theory. Dividing her time between Toronto and remote Northern Ontario, Bagshaw articulates the experience of isolation and protection in her landscape inspired, intermedia work, which draws from decades as a painter and mixed media artist.

She has exhibited through Canada and the United States, being a part of Vancouver's Drawing Festival in 2010, The International World of Threads Fibre Arts Festival in Oakville in 2009, and a solo exhibit in SoHo in 2006. In addition, Bagshaw has shown at The Agnes Etherington Art Center in Kingston, The Agnes Jamison Gallery in Minden, and participates regularly in the yearly Fibre Arts exhibition Hard Twist at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. Bagshaw has received an Ontario Arts Council Grant, has taken part in a Self Directed Creative Residency at The Banff Centre, has completed an internship at The Brooklyn Museum, and her work can be seen on the cover of Feminist Time Against Nation Time (Dietrich and Hesford, 2008). She is a Professor at Georgian College in Barrie, and at Centennial College in Toronto.



Forest 3 (burlap, aspen, red oak) 2010


Artist Amy Bagshaw


Tell us about your work?

Inspired by the textural and process based qualities of burlap, I manipulate this fibre to create large-scale installations, as well as smaller scale fibre-paintings. These abstracted fibre-paintings explore my response to the emotive and sensory experiences I have in the woods.


From where do you get your inspiration?

I am interested in exploring a non-imperialistic relationship with nature, so I draw from my own experiences in the woods. I have spent much of my life deep in the Northern Ontario forests and feel that abstracting these personal sojourns is where I want to continue to take my work. I was also very honoured to participate in a Creative Residency at the Banff Centre in the summer of 2010, and much of my newer work is influenced by the coniferous forests of the lower Rocky Mountain region. My large scale fibre installations are inspired by the installation space, whether it be a historic building or a warehouse.



Forest: Evening Sky (burlap, aspen, red oak, acrylic) 2010


Forest 2, 2010, burlap, red oak, aspen, 3 ft x 20 inches


Why did you choose to go into fibre art?

I have worked in paint, sculpture, and new media, and found that fibre art was a wonderful way to step into all 3 genres, while maintaining a hand worked process. In this way, I can combine 2-D media, such as painting and drawing, as well as video, and sound, with the flexible and adaptable sculptural material of fibre.


Which is your favourite fibre medium?

Burlap. I take burlap sheets, de-thread each thread by hand, tie each of the smaller de-threaded strings together to make one very long thread and then manipulate the material by knitting, coiling, weaving, wrapping and sewing with it.


Penelope's Shroud, video still projection for unravel and thaw installation, 2006, size varies


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

I use a painterly approach when working with the burlap, and try to create pieces that use both the burlap and any additional media in a mindful way. In other words, if the project is best articulated with using video and fibre, or paint and fibre, I am open to incorporating whatever medium best suits the piece.


What specific historic artists have influenced your work? 

I am inspired by fishermen and women who weave nets, and the long Canadian landscape art tradition.  Usually a skill gendered towards women, knitting has also long been associated with sea men.  I am inspired by the global adaptation of this skill and the functional and metaphorical uses of the 'net.'  Canadian landscape clearly has a strong imperialistic, persuasive, and aesthetic tradition in Canadian art. Artists such as Michael Snow and Diana Thornycroft begin to play and subvert these traditional responses to the diverse views and land.  By working with this historical landscape dialogue, while simultaneously bringing a new, fibre based approach, I hope to insert myself in our long standing visual relationship with the land.



Shroud, installation detail from 2006-2011, burlap.



What specific contemporary artists have influenced your work?  

Elena Herzog, Magdalena Abakanowicz, and Eva Hesse all inspire my art making practice. Elena Herzog, her deconstruction of rugs, which she then loosely reconstructs on walls, read as memories and transfer the art object from the floor to the wall.  I am inspired by her textural handwork, her influence and insertion into the fibre material, and the reconfiguring of the once-rugs onto the wall surface, which maintains the sculptural qualities as well as suggests wall hanging and fibre drawing.  

Magdalena Abakanowicz and I share an interest in textural and hearty material. She worked with burlap and I am interested in her biomorphic shapes, her installation work (that often include an exterior setting), and the scale of her monumental sculptures.  

Lastly, Eva Hesse has influenced my work because of her obsession with process, repetition, and material. Though she may repeat a form multiple times, her sculptural works still maintain an organic individuality.  She was invested in the moment, not in the longevity of her creations and she worked in multiple materials that showed her eye for textural surface and sensation, all of which inspire my own practice.


Woods 1, 2009, Pine, burlap, oil, 6 inches x 12 inches.


What other fibre artists are you interested in?

I like Allyson Mitchell's (Canadian) humourous and whimsical use of textile in her work. Combining multiple materials in a variety of sizes, her sculptural work is fantastical while reminding me of childhood characters and memories.

American Jennifer Brooke Marsh's collaborative quilt installations and her work with the International Fiber Collective really speak to the growing community of engaged fibre artists.  Some of her work includes wrapping gas stations and other buildings with knitting.  Though I wouldn't say that my work is as collaborative as Marsh's work, or as figure based as Mitchell's art, I appreciate these artists and how they are bringing fibre arts to and with the public.


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

Fibre arts seem to have a shifting relationship with mainstream contemporary art. At times fibre arts acts as a reaction to digital and industrial art practices and technologies. At other times, fibre arts resides firmly as a media as stable as painting or printmaking; constant, as oppose to reactionary or trendy. I like to think that fibre arts straddle and blur the hard boundaries of craft, fine art, and global/local traditions, and this lack of genre specificity allows fibre arts to be contemporary while referencing the historical.




Shroud, at the World of Threads Festival, Common Thread Internaional Juried Exhibition Part 2 at B42 Gallery n Oakville.



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

I was very excited at the prospect of exhibiting with fibre artists from around the world and continuing the dialogue of fibre arts in contemporary art.


Where do you imagine your work in five years? 

I hope to still be obsessed with some thing, some material, some idea, some place. So much so, that I can't help but to continue to express those obsessions visually and experientially.


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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.


Detail: Shroud