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Supporting the careers of Canadian craftspeople since 1931.
Supporting careers of Canadian craftspeople since 1931.

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Featured Artist: Valerie Carew

Featured Artist: Valerie Carew

Visit the Craft Ontario Shop for Valerie Carew's featured collection Shoreline Roamers: Lore and Embodiment, on display in the Feature Window from April 12 to May 11, 2024.

Click here to see the whole collection available on the Online Shop!

In her body of work Shoreline Roamers: Lore and Embodiment, Valerie Carew
recalls and interprets settler folklore and landscape to speculate: How might woodland spirits camouflage and roam the wild? Carew's family roots in Newfoundland and New Brunswick have influenced her experiences within the wilds of Canada as well as her art practice. Traditional hand hooked rug making, characterized by utility, material reuse, and pictorial storytelling, is re-configured into a collection of land immersive masks, three dimensional topography sculptures and brooch pins. Some of the masks adopt animal characteristics. All depict wild locations dear to the artist. As a collection, the pieces transport the viewer to eastern Canadian dreamscapes and shorelines.

This exhibition offers a process of becoming. By mapping slow, high labour rug
making, as well as what is understood about the function of rugs onto the body, Carew re-crafts how we perceive, perform and experience identity and corporality. The colonial settlement artifact, re-made into that which is alive and changeable, underscores the agency of the object, and conversely, limitations to human agency. When activated by the body, the domestic object moves, it is biomimetic, unsettled and wild.

Material preparations such as sourcing plants for natural dying, processing and hand spinning sheep’s wool, and fish leather tanning are added to her signature use of repurposed household textile, metallic synthetics, beading and whip stitched sculptural elements. Carew works from her home studio, pulling materials from her living space and incorporating them in her work.

Valerie Carew, (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist in Toronto who explores human relationships with land using textiles. Embodiment and role-play are combined with rug making to express dwelling, identity and the self. Valerie’s hand hooked sculptural works are designed for the human body, then animated using photography, video, performance and mechanical motors. Memories of land and home are harnessed for new world building, made from a desire for connection and escapism. Carew hopes to re-wild and unsettle the colonial footprint, and connect inside and outside worlds through art.

Carew is an award winning graduate from the Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design Program at OCAD University, where she received two scholarships and the 2016 Outstanding Exhibition award for her thesis Enclosure Movement: Comparative Dwelling and Embodiment (2016). She is a recipient of grant funding from Canada Council For The Arts to perform her piece Body Coiling at Craft @ The Edge Conference in Bona Vista, Newfoundland (2020), and has exhibited and delivered art talks internationally. She was featured in Fibre Art Now Magazine (Summer/Fall 2021).

Carew references Canadian ecosystems in Ontario, Quebec and costal areas in
Newfoundland. These areas are the contemporary and ancestral territories of the Algonquin, Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Haudenosauee, Annishnaabe, Huron-Wendat, Mi’kmag and Beothuk Nations.

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