The word art may immediately conjure up canvases, brushes, and paint, but the realm extends far beyond a single medium. In fact, those working in textile arts regularly produce an abundance of goods that we employ—and wear—in our everyday lives that we may not realize fall under the far-ranging umbrella of art at all.
Luckily, this faction is well represented at the 21st annual Eastside Culture Crawl, which will fling open the doors of over 500 ateliers around the city from Thursday to Sunday (November 16 to 19). Below, a smattering of the textile pieces—from knit scarves and tuques to beady-eyed leather creatures—that you can expect to see.
1701 Powell Street
A textile artist with experience—and a healthy interest—in the world of architecture, local designer Hannah Newton brings a sculptural sensibility to her handcrafted leather bags. Her backpacks, totes, and pouches are vegetable-tanned, offering them a natural look, while functional pockets and buckles ensure everyday practicality. We’re a big fan of Newton’s Handbag No. 1, which boasts brass-ring handles and exposed stitch that impart a decidedly vintage feel.
Parker Street Studios
1000 Parker Street
Cotton, wool, and terry cloth are what traditionally make up stuffed animals, but self-described monster maker Lisa Lee crafts hers using leather. Most notably, the designer ditches the adorable bears and bunnies from our youth, instead favouring one-eyed beasts, fanged sea creatures, and other one-of-a-kind beings sporting fuzzy hair and droopy smiles. The leather ages beautifully over time, producing an heirloom toy that owners can pass on for years to come.
512 Victoria Drive
An accomplished textile artist and painter, Caitlin Ffrench has tried her hand at weaving, felting, crocheting, and everything in between. However, she has a particular talent for knitting and has crafted a wide assortment of wearables, including scarves, shawls, tuques, and even decorative doilies. Naturally dyed by Ffrench herself, most of the artist’s pieces are in dark, witchy hues, though she occasionally plays with vibrant yellows, reds, and blues.
The Megatroid Building
975 Vernon Drive
Brazilian fibre artist Mariana Frochtengarten creates textiles for the body that allow her to exercise her love of batik, a dyeing technique in which wax is applied to certain areas beforehand to prevent them from being coloured. Leggings, shirts, and socks are splashed in swirling shades of olive, crimson, and turquoise, while scarves are adorned with soft plaid and geometric patterns. Frochtengarten produces silkscreened and embroidered pillows that employ colour and pattern in liberal doses too.