It all started when I was a kid

Harness Your Creativity- The Series

My name is Tamara. I create textile-based mixed media art. At the heart of my work lies this quirky fact: I love to wrap sticks.

It started when I was a kid. Macramé plant hangers were all the rage. My grandmother got me a “how to” macramé book for my 8th birthday. I dove in, using spools of neon orange shoelace thread thanks to my dad who worked at a shoelace company. The knot used to securely hold the macramé strings together, a gathering knot, fascinated me. I loved that it was self-contained; no glue required. Ingenious. Cool. I was hooked.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m at OCAD, a textile design student. That’s where I got the bona fide, certified “ok” to keep wrapping. I used silks, cottons, and synthetic fibres to wrap chopsticks, shish kabob skewers, branches, basketry reed -- whatever I could get my hands on. I wove sculptural baskets and wrapped the exposed stakes, I wrapped the warp threads on my tapestries, and I created a miniature war whose army, ironically, wielded beautiful bows wrapped with silk. Fast forward again 16 years, and I finally figured out what to do with all the sticks – mount them onto paintings.

And so today my artwork combines texture, colour and wrapped structures to create unconventional fiber-based work. I wrap sticks found in everyday life: branches and twigs, chopsticks, dowels, matches and shish kabob sticks. The process of wrapping each stick and contemplating its placement on my paintings is a thoughtful, disciplined undertaking. Conversely, producing the companion paintings is a wholly spontaneous, intuitive process.  By juxtaposing the two, and using colour as a unifying entity, I hope to evoke a sense of order and spontaneity, growth, whimsy and beauty.

In my real life I am “mom” to two teenage boys and the Director of Development and Finance at a unique charity called Art Starts.

I am pleased to be presenting my work at the Liberty Village Art Crawl on Saturday June 11th and the Entertainment District Art Crawls on Friday July 8th and Friday August 12th.