Jackie Van Fossen
My creative journey and how has my interest in textiles and artwork taken me from needlework to my current work?
I have enjoyed a long history of painting and dyeing fabric and threads, surface design and colour. Creative work in multi-media including felting, free-form embroidery, quilting, weaving and surface embellishment.
In the beginning….my mother was a sewer and she instilled in me my interest in sewing clothing from junior high school through to motherhood when I sewed nearly everything my kids wore. I made my first quilt long before this mad fad became popular and carried on through learning embroidery at the Edmonton Needlecraft Guild studying under world renowned stitchers and quilt makers.
Studying and enjoying quiltmaking on my own and again studying with well known quilt makers – Yvonne Porcella, Nancy Crow, and closer to home – Anna Hergert, Anne Seversen – a great and innovative woman from Calgary, Lee Bale and Marlene Cox-bishop from the U of A and your own Judy Villett and Laurie Sobie. My work in quilt making moved from the traditional to ‘art quilting’ fairly early on. Likely because making bed quilts took too long and I wanted to play with the fabric. I wanted to see what I could do to change fabric from ‘off the shelf’ to ‘off the wall’ so to say. I studied with Yvonne Porcella in Santa Fe, New Mexico learning about Setacolor fabric paints, with several instructors at the U of Alberta learning about dyes and printing and decorating fabric and expanding my thought process to see in new ways and process that sight into innovative thoughts and subsequently textile work.
I learned to weave when I was given a loom that belonged to Helen Bentley – a pioneer in women’s work – teaching, silver smithing, embroidery and weaving. My weaving has been filled with colour and innovative work supported by a group of amazing weavers with many years of experience. And I continue to do a bit of embroidery.
Since I had developed all of this expertise, others wanted to ‘pick my brains’ and that led to a considerable amount of teaching – For the Edmonton Needlecraft Guild, shops in several cities, the provincial needlearts conference, the Edmonton Weavers guild and the provincial weavers and spinners, and the Regina Stitchers Guild . I have taught for eleven years for the Saskatchewan Stitchers conference. I now have a ‘following’ at that conference and they insist on my producing a new project each year.