Catherine Shapiro went to the San Francisco Art Institute for a couple of years in the late 1960’s. She immigrated to Canada in 1970 and settled in the Cariboo with her husband, where they set up a printmaking studio and Catherine started gardening. Moving to Vancouver in 1974, she continued making prints. In the 1980’s Catherine began working on a multimedia project which expressed her growing knowledge of
plants with a focus on women’s contributions to the development of horticulture. These interests lead her to make environmental works from plant materials that she foraged or grew including nettle, hemp, cedar, wisteria, artichoke, mallow, flax, abaca and bamboo. She has continued to use botanical sources for some of her materials and this gave her the opportunity to mentor a young artist in growing and processing indigo as well as to be artist in residence at MOP garden to carry out this project. After making paint from indigo she experimented with other pigments using plants, a bug (cochineal), soils
and minerals which she has been using on a new series of cast paper sculptures and paintings.
Delmar Williams is from the Squamish and Lil’wat Nation. He has grown up within his community and with elders who still speak their traditional language and sing traditional songs. As a child, his family would fish the Fraser River every year to sustain themselves through the year. He carries the ancestral name of Banksht from his mother’s family and the name Xwepilkinem (his father’s ancestral name) which refers to the man who slayed the two headed sea serpent. He continues to learn and grow his knowledge around ancient technologies and ways of knowing.
Delmar is a Big Game Hunt Guide in northern British Columbia and has worked with Outward Bound Canada as a professional guide for several years. Most recently, he has taught with the Seymour Longhouse program where instructors teach fire, cooking with fire, building tripods; making slahal sets (traditional native gambling game); hide tanning; basketry; and plant gathering. In the North Vancouver School District #44 he teaches high school students about wilderness survival, fire by friction, and ancient technology.
Jaymie Johnson is an interdisciplinary artist for whom site-specificity, social and environmental impact, and research through observation, experimentation, and collaboration are integral to the material form her practice takes. She uses a variety of media to explore the connection between art, ecology, and community, including plant materials through fibre processing and community engagement. Jaymie’s background includes studies in permaculture and practice in sustainable urban agriculture both globally and locally. Since graduating with a BFA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University in 2015, she has worked on numerous community-engaged and environmental public art projects as a member of the chART Collective and as Project Assistant with Border Free Bees. She continues to expand her fibre processing knowledge through projects and activities with EartHand Gleaners Society.
Nicola Hodges is a young community-engaged artist fascinated with fibre and all the ways we twist and form it into our everyday lives; she explores daily hand making and the possibilities of adornment in the practical everyday as a way to reopen the connection to personal traditions, natural materials and the land. Nicola has studied natural dyeing and weaving traditions at the Vida Nueva Cooperativa in Oaxaca Mexico; at sheep farms on the Scottish islands of Shetland, Orkney, and the Inner and Outer Hebridies; and at the Maiwa School of Textiles. Nicola is a knitwear designer and technical editor, and teaches knitting, spinning, and ropework.
Rebecca Graham is a weaver and artist of mixed northern European ancestry, and the third generation of her family in Coast Salish Territory. The recipient of the 2016 Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist in Craft and Design, she is a community project leader focused on three areas of inquiry: flax for linen, woven structures, and skins. Rebecca has been working alongside Sharon Kallis as the artistic director of the EartHand Gleaners Society since 2014.
Rosemary Georgeson is a Sahtu Dene and Coast Salish artist, writer and storyteller. The recipient of the 2009 Vancouver Mayor’s Art Award recognizing her as an emerging artist in community arts, Rosemary has applied her talents in dozens of theatre, film, and performance projects throughout Canada. Rosemary was the 2014 Storyteller in Residence for the Vancouver Public Library. Born to a fishing family, Rosemary worked as a commercial fisher-woman along this coast for three decades near the end of the last century and is currently researching her Coast Salish ancestry for her latest multimedia project.
Sharon Kallis With a “one mile diet” approach to sourcing art materials, Sharon works to discover the inherent material potential in a local landscape. Involving community in connecting traditional hand techniques with invasive species and garden waste she creates site-specific installations that become ecological interventions. Graduating from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1996 she began working materials from the land in 1999 and has exhibited and engaged communities with her practice in Ireland, Spain, Mexico and throughout the United States. At home in Vancouver Canada, Sharon works with Vancouver Park Board, Stanley Park Ecology Society, Artstarts, Community Arts Council of Vancouver and Environmental Youth Alliance. Sharon has received Canada Council and British Columbia Arts Council grants and was the 2010 recipient of the Brandford/ Elliott International Award for Excellence in Fibre Arts and has received Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Studio Design in 2016- as recipient, and in 2010- emerging artist. Sharon is the founding director of EartHand and the author of Common Threads: weaving community through collaborative eco-art, published in 2014 by New Society.
Tracy Williams: My ancestral name is Sesemiya and I am a proud member of the Squamish Nation. I come from a long line of Basketweavers. My grandmother Eva May Nahanee recalled learning how to weave baskets by coal oil lamp. My grandmother was taught by her grandmother. I am very honoured to continue this tradition within our family and community.
I have learned a variety of weaving styles and techniques from many teachers including: Brenda Kearns (Haida); Mary, John and Gay Williams (Lil’wat); Ed Carriere (Susquamish); Minnie Peters (Sto:lo); Hank and Inez Gobin (Tulalip); and Bernadine Phillips, to name a few inspirational people.
Cedar weaving makes me feel like I am walking in harmony with our Ancestors. There is a special responsibility that comes with gathering our natural plants and materials and taking care of our environment. My prayer is that our people will continue to love and enjoy this unique and spiritual art form.
David Gowman ( AKA Mr.Fire-Man)
“In 2002 I made a horn from a stick of elderberry wood. It took about two hours of labour to produce a sound. Fifteen years later, a band called the Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra entertains with the descendants of that horn (there are over forty as of last count). Looking back, that simple act of burning a shaft through the pith to make a chamber was a turning point leading to a decade of music, interactive art and instrument making.” David has been working at the Means of Production garden, managing the Empress (horn wood) trees, harvesting willow crops and slowly sculpting the hillside into a performance space since 2009 and is the principal artist at the MacLean Park Fieldhouse Residency since 2014, hosting weekly carving sessions. Beyond his Vancouver community, David has left an international trail of wooden horns with communities in Spain, Mexico, Italy and throughout the US. David is also a painter, flintknapper, toolmaker and entertainer.