Lorraine Roy is a textile artist who creates vibrantly multilayered fabric collages and teaches workshops in her rural studio on the Niagara Escarpment near Dundas, Ontario.
I love the rich textures and colours of your work, especially in combination with your simple, elegant compositions. What is the unique appeal of textile as artistic medium for you?
No other medium has such richness and depth of colour and texture. Fabric is pervasive in our lives, yet it’s impossible to take it for granted because it’s got endless potential. I love all the techniques, from hand embroidery to machine stitching. It’s all about rhythm and it’s very meditative.
Would you still be a professional artist if you had to express yourself in a different medium?
I don’t really know – I did try painting a few times but felt intimidated by the blank surface. With fabric you always have something to start with, even if it’s only a texture. Also, I find the fabrics themselves inspire me, with colour, pattern or texture. They are irresistible. I might have taken up singing, had I had the opportunity when I was younger… but for now I just enjoy singing in the shower.
Your love of nature and you life-long interest in plant sciences first led you to a degree in horticulture and now fuel the process of your artistic creation – your main subjects are native Canadian trees, their varieties, seeds, and habitats. What is it about trees that you find so inspiring?
Trees are fascinating from so many perspectives: biological, mythical, spiritual, cultural, environmental. There aren’t many subjects that cast a wider net in the psyches of people all over the world. It’s an infinitely engaging subject. Not to mention, trees are beautiful in all seasons.
Do you purposefully avoid representing other subjects in order to maintain your distinctive focus?
Actually I don’t avoid other subjects at all. Over the years I have worked with plenty of subjects and forms like fish, birds, microscopic organisms, houses and towers, just to mention a few. I have focused most strongly on trees since my Saving Paradise Exhibition in 2002, but I’m open to anything, any time.
You have been making art professionally for over twenty years and I read on your blog that you gladly embrace new opportunities for presenting your work to the world via the web and social media. What change brought about by these technologies do you feel had the most impact on your professional life or your artistic process?
It hasn’t changed my process but it has clearly increased my exposure and opportunities. It has increased the ‘surprise’ quotient of my professional life, with some interesting connections and cross-pollination with people from all kinds of backgrounds. It has also kept me more consistently connected with other artists and colleagues, which is so important when I’m spending long days in the studio on my own. Also, things happen much faster – I like that!
Your husband, Janusz Wrobel, is a photographer whose work also reveals beautiful glimpses of nature. Some of his images seem to me evocative of your textile compositions. How does your creative work influence each other?
I suppose we must influence each other to a certain extent. We were both well established when we met so I wouldn’t say there was significant change. We do support each other in our practice, which is a great advantage. For example, he takes my photos, and I do his copy editing.
Do you think you respective artistic processes inspire each other to look at nature in new ways?
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