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62  Yulia Brodskaya

61  Lotta Helleberg

60  Kit Vincent

59  Barbara Heller

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55  David Hanauer

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53  Pat Hertzberg

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42  Leanne Shea Rhem

41 Lizz Aston

40  Sandra Gregson

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38  Edith Meusnier

37  Lindy Pole

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34  Emily Jan

33  Elisabeth Picard

32  Liz Pead

31  Milena Radeva

30  Rochelle Rubinstein

29  Martha Cole

28  Susan Strachan Johnson

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26  Bettina Matzkuhn

25  Valerie Knapp

24  Xiaoging Yan

23  Hilary Rice

22  Birgitta Hallberg

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19  Mary Karavos

18  Rasma Noreikyte

17  Judith Tinkl

16  Joanne Young

15  Allyn Cantor

14  Pat Burns-Wendland

13  Barbara Wisnoski

12  Robert Davidovitz

11  Amy Bagshaw

10  Jesse Harrod

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


Bel Canto, 54x57”, cotton pimatex, hand-dyed, machine pieced and quilted.



401 Series: Lift, 38x40.5”, cotton pimatex, hand-dyed, machine pieced and quilted




Artist: Kit Vincent of Elizabethtown, Ontario, Canada

Interview 60: Kit exhibited in the 2012 World of Threads Festival  exhibition Variegated Threads in the Halls of Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre in Oakville, Ontario.

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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.



Kit Vincent lives in Elizabethtown, Ontario, Canada. She studied textile arts at the Crow Timber-Frame Barn in Baltimore Ohio, and recently completed a two-year Art Cloth Mastery Program with Jane Dunnewold in San Antonio, Texas. Kit constructs fibre art using fabrics that she has dyed and patterned with a variety of surface design processes. These surfaces are heavily thread-painted with machine stitching and/or hand embroidery. Her work has appeared in numerous shows in Canada, the United States and overseas, including Quilt National, in Athens, Ohio; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio; Museum for Contemporary Textiles, Montreal, Quebec; Patchwork & Quilt Expo, Lyon and Le Carrefour Du Patchwork, Val d`Argent, Alsace, France.

Kit is also a sought-after teacher who enjoys exploring as many fibre-related techniques and materials as she can and sharing these with her students.
Kit's Website


Artist: Kit Vincent


Tell us about your work?

I make contemporary stitched art. I use a mix of surface design with traditional quilting techniques, beginning with white fabric that I dye, print and paint. The nature of fabric is that it bonds chemically with dye, the colour doesn't sit on the surface as with paint and so it responds to my creative needs. Working with textiles causes me to look back and reflect on where I came from, but I savour the new that comes through my experience of working. I hope to express new ideas about this art practice that are linked to the past. I want every process and technique that I use, to contribute to the content of my work.


Big River Series: Chop, 43x72”, commercial and hand-dyed cotton, machine pieced and quilted

Big River Series: Chop, detail


From where do you get your inspiration?

Anything is game for adventure when it comes to working with colour and design. It may begin with a news event, a trip, the river that I live on (St Lawrence), or the rigs that I routinely drive next to on the 401 Highway. Any of these have been major sources of creative energy in the past; however, they are only departure points. They change and evolve as I work, often causing me great anxiety in the process. My objective is to produce stitched art that is motivated by metaphors for energy and movement. The subjects that I wish to address are universal and can suggest imagery evocative of nature, such as water, flowers, seeds and on occasion, vegetables.


 Big River Series: Fastwater, 40x60”, hand-dyed cotton pimatex, machine pieced and quilted

Big River Series: Fastwater, detail


How did you decide on this medium?

I find fabric to be a sensual and easily manipulated ground. It can be made to have weight, mass and texture. It is less constraining than stretched canvas. It can be dyed, painted, folded, cut, stitched and embroidered at will. I see this fabric less as cloth and more as un-primed, un-stretched ground. The processes that I use allow me to build in texture and layered meaning into my work.

I am also drawn to the liveliness of the stitch when working with textiles. The stitch is an entirely different mark-making tool than a pencil or brush. I don't aim for perfect form when stitching or a perfect length of stitches. I want my stitches to speak, to add texture, and to sparkle if necessary. I want my stitching to be individual, a personal expression and not regulated in any way, not dissimilar from a drawing.

The other aspect I love about stitching is the ability to create texture. Texture adds interest to the surface and is something that other materials do not accomplish to the same extent. I can make the texture even; make it with slight variations; or create variegated textured surfaces. The unstitched spaces are as interesting as the stitched areas. I can also create line with stitch, an important element of design. Then there is thread colour; I can make that line speak even more within the work. I think of stitching as an endless opportunity to create impact.


Big River Series:  First Light, 42x60”, hand-dyed cottons and silks, machine pieced and quilted

Big River Series:  First Light, detail

Big River Series:  February Study, 73x60”, hand-dyed cotton pimatex, machine pieced and quilted

Big River Series:  February Study, detail


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

When I need a quick creative fix, I will sketch with whatever is available. I keep several notebooks going, in almost every room of my house, even in the car. So pen and ink are favourites with acrylic paints and collage (both fabric & paper) as runners up. When sketching, I see myself as being on a hunt - searching for shapes, patterns and objects that move me. It may be a shadow, shade, movement, weather, music or other art. Several small studies serve as inspiration for larger stitched pieces. Working with fabric can be expensive and time consuming as an art form. These small studies help to keep my work consistent and focused.


Ink sketchbook - showing surface design options

Bound ink sketchbooks - open


What bridges the works that you have created/are creating in differing media?

When designing with fabric on the wall, I tend not to use my original ink sketches or acrylic collages as templates for these larger pieces. Instead they serve as departure points. As I progress, I become obsessed with every coloured shape of dyed cloth and how it looks next to its neighbour. I am also careful when sewing a flat, sometimes curved seam, which unites these shapes and introduces an added line to the overall composition. The original sketch may sit close by for a while, but I will progressively move away from it, as I build up this larger work.

Once assembled, I then introduce additional line-work and texture to this new surface using free-motion machine embroidery. At that point, I will sometimes return to my original sketch for hints as to texture and other insights that propelled the composition in the first place. This process allows me to build up these compositions in a personal way. I want the techniques I use to enhance my subject.


401 Series: Lift, 38x40.5”, cotton pimatex, hand-dyed, machine pieced and quilted.

401 Series: Lift, detail 1

401 Series: Lift, detail 2


What specific historic artists have influenced your work? 

There are many, but I will mention three artists as they all loved fabric and found innovative ways to use it in their art.

Louise Bourgeois: France, 1911- 2010: This artist grew up surrounded by the textiles of her parents' tapestry restoration workshop. Fabric also played an important role in her artistic work. She was a life-long hoarder of household textiles, which she cut up and re-stitched, transforming them into art. I can relate completely to a statement she made about this work: 'I always had the fear of being separated and abandoned. The sewing is my attempt to keep things together and make things whole.'

Robert Rauschenberg: USA, 1925-2008: He was fascinated by the sculptural possibilities of fabric and didn't hesitate to use it in his work. For instance with Bed, 1955, he framed a pillow, sheet and quilt to a wall, scribbling over the surface with pencil and paint. I read that these bedclothes were his own, so this piece could be seen as a personal self-portrait. When I saw this piece in New York City, I was in awe with how powerful it was. I was fixated with the log cabin quilt section of that piece; a well-known and universal patchwork design that we can all relate to. Instead of painting a replica of this bed, he used the bed itself. The log cabin fabric blocks were transformed from their original utilitarian function to part of an overall work of art hanging on a museum wall. I was drawn to this subversive aspect of putting a soft hand-stitched bed covering into a hard-edged contemporary art setting.

In 1974, Rauschenberg produced a series of printed layers of silk, muslin and cheesecloth (Hoarfrost editions). The prints were intended to hang by nails on the wall, uncovered, so that they could move freely with the viewer. These resulted from his fixation on the large sheets of gauze used by printmakers to wipe down lithographic stones. When hung to dry, these strips shifted and floated in the breeze.

Henri Matisse: France, 1869-1954: Matisse owned a huge fabric stash; he also came from a family of weavers and so fabric was key to his visual imagination. His studio in Nice was a treasure house of Persian carpets, Arab embroideries, African wall hangings, and any number of colourful cushions, curtains, costumes, patterned screens and backcloths. In fact we see a lot of these in his compositions. He used what he called his working library of textiles to furnish, order, and compose his wonderful works of art. He was a powerful colourist and I believe that the fabrics he painted became the very fabric of his paintings.


Big River Series: River’s Edge 4, 14 x35”, cotton pimatex, hand-dyed, machine pieced and quilted

Big River Series: River’s Edge 4, detail


What specific contemporary artists have influenced your work?  

Nancy Crow, U.S.A. In 2001, I came across the work of Nancy Crow. When looking at her large bold fabric compositions I realized that sewing and quilting could be fine art. I was hooked. This was the kind of work I wanted to do. I pulled a dusty old sewing machine out of a cupboard and began to teach myself how to sew.

Nancy Crow pioneered the transformation of the quilt from a traditional craft into an evolving art form, in particular improvisation and freehand cutting. I love her creative spirit and artistic insight. I have since endeavoured to learn as much from her as I can. Below is a snippet from her artist statement. I include it here as I find it is so powerful:

"When I work on a quilt, I put away all thoughts that are not helpful and channel my energies towards relaxing and becoming one with my fabrics. Since I work intuitively, this is absolutely important. I begin to see shapes in my head and think about how to cut them out of my huge palette of colors that I have hand-dyed in my basement dye studio. I love being inside my brain and pushing myself to think in ever more complex ways because I know the ideas are there for the taking. It's all about being focused and disciplined and making use of one's abilities. And about being alone, in solitude, so one can think and feel deeply without interruption. I have definitely grown far closer to myself rather than to others because I see my quilt making as my experience which has nothing to do with other people."


Bel Canto, 54x57”, cotton pimatex, hand-dyed, machine pieced and quilted.


What other fibre artists are you interested in and why?

Dorothy Caldwell: Hastings, ON, Canada: Dorothy Caldwell helped me see and understand the unique qualities of cloth as it wears out, breaks down and how it can be continuously re-made into something new. Stitching, mending and patching create a textile surface of unintended beauty and the sense of "lives lived". It is from this practice that she developed her own vocabulary of marks that she uses in the making of her magnificent fabric constructions.

Dominie Nash, U.S.A: I am always struck by Dominie Nash's work. She constructs large colourful collages using fabrics that have been patterned, with a variety of surface design processes, including immersion dyeing, painting with dyes and pigments, printing, chemical resist, and discharge. Her surfaces are layered with dyed organza, machine stitching and embroidery. The colouring and patterning of the fabric is an essential element in these compositions. Whether her work is abstract or representational, she works with several layers, creating a sense of mystery and depth.




What is your philosophy about Fibre Art and what role do you think fibre art plays in contemporary art?

Fibre Art is a medium that has yet to be discovered and explored. I relish being part of that exploration. When I first pulled out my sewing machine, the art versus craft debate (that old saw) still dominated. Technology and multiculturalism have since ushered in a whole new palette of options and resources for those who choose to work in fibre. Traditional biases are finally on the way out. Today we see and often read about shows where work by artists trained in fine arts, are shown alongside work by fine artists using materials traditionally associated with crafts This is a good thing.



401 Series:  Wheels 10, 42 x 47”, cotton pimatex, hand-dyed, machine pieced and quilted

401 Series:  Wheels 10, detail


Can you talk a bit about the commercial viability of fibre art and do you find it more difficult to show and sell your work than non-fibre artists?

Fibre art evolved from the craft world. In the past, practitioners handed down well-worn motifs, designed patterns and sewed precise repetitive designs. This practice was largely regarded as women's work and its products were meant to be practical and utilitarian.

Today, fibre arts represent a thriving 6 billion dollar business in the USA. A 2006 survey estimated the number of quilters to be 27 million, up from 15 million in the US in 1994. Textile arts and quilting in particular, has become a hugely popular activity and one that is deeply rooted in our North American psyche. That has been both a blessing and a curse.

It is difficult to be taken seriously as an artist today when the chosen media is still categorized as 'folksy craft.' I believe that the popularity of today's fibre arts has made it suspect as a serious art form and has contributed to a lack of attention or acceptance from the fine arts community. I have also found certain well-established galleries to be shy about championing fibre art to their clientele. This is compounded by the mistaken impression that fabric is a fragile medium and therefore difficult to conserve, as if glass works or ceramics are any less fragile.


Bel Canto 2, 28 x32”, cotton pimatex and silk broadcloth, hand-dyed, discharged, machine pieced and quilted


How does your early work differ from what you are doing now and please explain how you developed your own style?

I came to stitched art roughly ten years ago. My early work represents numerous explorations into all types of imagery and media. Some of this work has been representative, namely the embroidery and surface design work. I also experimented with fabric collage that eventually brought me closer to abstract design. Currently I work with abstract imagery, focusing on my own designs.


Lancaster Series:  Swept Up, 41 x31”, hand-dyed silks and cottons, fabric collage, machine quilted and heavily embroidered.

Lancaster Series:  Swept Up, detail

Wild I, 51x45”, hand-dyed, discharged silks and cottons, fabric collage, machine quilted and embroidered.

Wild I, detail


Tell us about your studio and how you work:

I have an 800 square foot studio located on the ground floor of our house. It faces southeast with a river view. Distracting? Not at all! The room is equipped with three 8'x 8' design walls, a large cutting surface and an even larger sewing table (made from a repurposed government desk) that measures 4' x 8'. This table houses two sewing machines, a Janome for piecing and a Bernina for embroidery. The table is large enough to allow large textile pieces to puddle freely on the surface, as I free-motion stitch. Without this surface, my larger works would drag on the floor.

I have also repurposed our laundry room, where alas very little laundry gets done. This room is equipped with a separate exhaust system from the rest of the house and so functions beautifully as a surface design lab, where I can dye, paint, stamp, discharge and otherwise distress many bolts of silk and cotton fabric.

During the summer months I also have access to an old dockside summer cottage. It is now my 'summer art shack'. It has electricity and running water (albeit from a hose). I can really make a mess in this wonderful space on very hot days that are ideal for surface design work.

Studio view during the Open Studio Tour sponsored by the Thousand Island Arts Group in 2009

Studio view of one of three design walls at work

Studio view with cutting table and ironing station.

Studio view of ironing station with a fabric collage underway

Studio view of ironing station with a fabric collage underway

Re-purposed dockside cottage showing print table.  Silk-broadcloth panels pinned and ready for next-day silk-screening .

Summer Art Shack - re-purposed dockside cottage showing fabric paint on print table

Summer Art Shack - a re-purposed dockside cottage showing fabric paint on print table

 Summer Art Shack - a re-purposed dockside cottage

Dye run showing pimatex cotton ready for second application of colour.


Where do you imagine your work in five years? 

I want to find a way to incorporate fabric that I have textured and patterned into my larger work. I love to play around with surface design on cloth (and paper) but I have not yet found a satisfying way of incorporating these pieces into my current work.


What interests you about the World of Threads festival?

The fact that the World of Threads Festival is a Canadian initiative is inspiring, and that an international community has been formed is wonderful! The possibilities to exhibit my work and the numerous opportunities to meet other artists make it even better.


Lancaster Series: Refuge, 28x28”, hand-dyed silks, cottons and wool felt, fabric collage, machine quilted and embroidered.



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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.