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.

People often ask me...

"People often ask me why I took the time to photograph each subway station rather than just creating the signs digitally. I wanted to capture to true feel of each station—all the grit and grime, the age and character. Each station is unique, and taking the time to visit every one of them was a transit nerd adventure." Tanya Harrison, Station

See her AWESOME Toronto inspired work at our Christmas Market Nov, 22nd at the Great Hall! Click HERE to follow us on Facebook.