Land & People | Exhibition

Mapping Via Plant Dyes: Pohjanmaa | Ostrobothnia (Western Finland), 2019.

Tuija Hansen


I am a textile artist living and creating using time-honoured skills, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Inspired by my Finnish family’s immigration to Canada, I engage with my Scandinavian ancestry via the meditative, concentrated, and tactile processes inherent in the traditional techniques of dyeing, felting, stitching, and weaving. I create while reflecting on the significance of place, migration, and location, combining textile and land-based approaches to art-making. Foraging in the urban and rural environments of my surroundings, I use plants, trees, flowers, and mushrooms to create plant-dyes. Dyeing new and recycled materials with these foragings, I stitch, weave, and felt environmentally-minded works of art and clothing.

Using geographically specific plants, I expand my practice by communicating the landscapes and experiences of familial migratory history while utilizing the Finnish “Raanu” weaving method, which traditionally translated the earth, sea, and sky into blocks of colour. Mapping Via Plant Dyes: Pohjanmaa | Ostrobothnia represents the sea, marshes, fields and forests where I foraged dye plants and the land from which my family immigrated to Canada.