Tactile artists impart touchable creations | Squamish Chief

Tactile artists impart touchable creations

This month at The Foyer Gallery: Mary Henderson's 'Mountain Madness: Scenes from the Backcountry' collage and Freda Hoff's 'Falling Leaves' of hand-woven textiles

Artist Mary Henderson allows us into her clandestine world of mountain madness through her collection of tactile collage pieces, assemblages of layered paper and paint.

Henderson said she's been creating art all of her life but has only been showing publicly for about a year.

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So why has she kept her talents all to herself? Because she has been too busy teaching and being active in B.C.'s great outdoors. And why now?

Henderson is elated to declare that friendly positive feedback and encouragement from others has given her the confidence to exhibit and share her work.

"Now it's fun, although taking that first step was scary," she said.

Henderson has naturally been pulled into the psychosis of the wilds. Her artistic inspiration is the stirring and wondrous enormity of the backcountry. She describes her passion like a natural high.

"There is nothing like the feeling when you are out there in the vastness of nature."

Having experimented in printmaking, watercolour and acrylic painting, Henderson attests to using water-based art materials. Collage, her current medium, is a compilation of tactile layers.

In this anthology of texture Henderson has explored line, value, shapes with a simple, almost naïve approach that is direct yet sophisticated in its sincerity. Henderson confirms that as a teacher her connections to math, outdoor leadership and being in the mountains all contribute to her artist imagery as a landscape artist working with abstraction in different ways.

Originally from Ontario, Henderson moved to the Sea to Sky Corridor 18 years ago and hasn't looked back. With a sketchbook by her side, Henderson enjoys mountaineering, kayaking, mountain-biking, open boating, backcountry skiing pretty much anything that affords freedom in the wilderness.

For more information contact her at mlillooet@gmail.com.

In the display cases local textile artist Freda Hoff presents her "Falling Leaves," an inviting exhibit of cozy, touchable hand-woven shawls and scarves.

"As summer fades into the hazy days of autumn we take more time to look at the changes in nature," said Hoff.

"The garden, a vibrant green a few weeks ago, is now yellowed by drying leaves and spent flowers. A hint of gold, rust and crimson is peeking through the trees. These are the colours I love. My favourite colours for the yarns I choose for weaving reflect this season. As I gather together the combination I will use to warp my loom, I picture the stand of maple trees just outside my studio window.

"I feel very fortunate to live in a place that has four distinct seasons. Although spring and summer are lovely here, we anticipate them so much and fill the time with so many activities that they quickly pass. Fall passes more slowly, allowing more time for reflection.

"In my collection of woven works, I have used yarns which I have purchased in Chile and Argentina where I have travelled recently. The merinos and alpacas combined with silk make for a lustrous, soft hand in shawls and scarves. The carpets are woven on a linen warp with a combination of sheep's wool, a rougher hand. When travelling, I try to seek out the artisan markets where wool is processed by the vendors."

Contact her at fredahoff@yahoo.ca.

Meet both artists at the opening reception Friday (Sept. 17) from 7 to 8: 30 p.m. at the Squamish Public Library.

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