1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
Hello! I’m Allyson, a Fibre Artist and Designer based out of Montreal, Quebec.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
My work is obviously tactile, being that it’s a physical object, and exhibits a great deal of texture that can only fully be appreciated in person. I actively explore and highlight various design elements in my work such as space, shape, texture, colour etc. This focus definitely controls the overall aesthetic of my work whether i’m aware of it or not!
Someone recently told me that my work is playful and yet sophisticated, which I think very aptly and simply explains what I aim to convey with each piece (and maybe in my personality a little bit too).
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I’m working solely with fibres right now, so I would be cheating on weaving if I claimed that any other medium was my favourite. Why? You can do so much with fibre because it’s a soft material. It’s flexible and can be manipulated in so many different ways. It’s a material that never stops giving, and is also very forgiving.
Before I began my work with fibre though, I really loved working with wood and other hard materials as media for creating sculptural pieces. I still incorporate wood through the use of wooden dowels to hang my woven pieces, but i’d like to work more with wood and fibre on a larger scale in the future.
4. What is your artistic process like?
I work from home, and I live alone, so i’m in my head 99% of the time. Somehow I manage to stay somewhat sane in that bubble, but when I work I like to alternate between listening to music, podcasts, CBC radio, or shitty TV. Having noise in the background really helps me to focus and separate my thoughts.
On an average work day, I wake up between 7-8am, and have a slow morning enjoying a big black coffee and listening to the news on the radio. I start working around 9, typically starting with any computer work or heading out to ship orders or to pick up yarn and shipping supplies. I’ll break for an hour or two for lunch, and then around 1-2pm I start weaving. I’ll weave until dinner, breaking for 30 minutes to an hour, and then weave until i’m satisfied with what i’ve accomplished in the day (usually until 11-12am). From an outside perspective that might look like a very long day, but I always feel that the day passes much quicker than i’d like because I love what I do. There are never enough hours in a day.
I should probably mention that I started working for myself full-time just four and a half months ago. I’m really hustling right now because I need to…but this time also coincided with a very dark and cold Canadian winter, so i’ve been lucky to be able to hibernate indoors and not feel too guilty about it.
I don’t spend too much time thinking up new designs. I don’t think that i can schedule that type of thought, so I let it happen organically. Sometimes I think of an idea as i’m drifting off to sleep- when my mind is the most at peace, or most often- when i’m in the middle of creating another weaving. Working from piece to piece like that is very telling in regards to my creative process. I think that it shows how one work inspires the next, and ultimately results in designs that are original and genuinely my own. I don’t always have an idea in mind when I start a new work. Sometimes I just have a specific colour palette in mind that I think would be complimentary and I want to explore that further. Because of that loose process I stick to relatively small-scale pieces. This prohibits me from getting too attached to the work, and they end up becoming tests for what may then be turned into larger pieces.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I do my best to avoid the work of other fibre artists/ weavers and the internet altogether, and instead take my inspiration from areas of my physical life. I am curiously interested in the good design of everyday objects and environments, and I think that a lot of my inspiration manifests itself subconsciously through various media that I absorb from my surroundings.
I know that that is very vague haha, but I really can’t think of anything or anyone specifically that inspires my work. Inspiration just kind of comes and goes, how and when it wants to.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
That’s a tough question to answer. Because first i’d have to define “art”, and that’s a doozy. I pay more attention to the design of things. Design is present in every aspect of life, and that affects the way that I view everything. Good- thoughtful, consumer-centric design is so satisfying to discover in the wild, and that motivates me to create work with similar principles in mind.
7. Where did you study?
I studied Studio Art at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years i’ll be 28, hopefully still hustling to maintain self-sufficiency, and creating larger work in collaboration with other artists/designers. I don’t really have a “plan”. I think i’ve decided to just work hard at improving my skill while following the natural ebb and flow of work and life as I grow as an artist and as a person. I’ve learned that thinking that far into the future can disrupt the present in counter-productive ways for me, so i’ll just have to wait and see.
9. What about in ten?
In ten years i’ll be 33…hopefully still hustling haha, more established as an artist in my craft, and maybe mothering a kid or two.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
To put it very simply, I want to make work that both appreciates and yet challenges the traditions of the craft. It’s not an ultimate goal, but an ongoing one. Keeping this in mind helps to motivate me and push me forward in my practice. It also helps to protect my spirit from getting dragged into the big swamp of weavers that all seem to be doing the same thing.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Chips are pretty great, but i’ll say shepherd’s pie because it makes me very nostalgic.
12. Favourite book?
Josef Albers, Despite Straight Lines by François Bucher (for sentimental reasons).
13. Favourite genre of music?
14. What are your hobbies?
I really enjoy riding the subway. I’ve been spending almost all of my time working lately, but when I let myself take a break, I ride the subway to the end of the line and browse around a thrift store. Probably sounds pretty boring and lonely haha, but it’s maybe less of a hobby and more of a kind of therapy for me.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
A comedian or a psychologist