Learning & Knowing | Exhibition

Natural Dye Sampler Rug

Joanna Close


My artwork involves exploring the rural imagery of landscapes and domestic life through textiles and illustration. Dyeing, weaving, silk-screen printing, rug hooking, drawing and stitching are amongst the mediums that I work with.

When I was a Masters student in the UK I was exposed to the idea of using textiles as an art medium, rather than using it to create functional work. I continue to work in this manner, using textiles to create work in a way that is similar to painting or drawing.

One body of work that I have created, Documenting the Farm, captures the memory of my family’s farm and speaks to the challenges of maintaining rural connections in Atlantic Canada. The visual narrative in my work is intended to pay tribute to farm life and speak to the changing relationship with rural culture in the Atlantic Provinces.

This piece was created using a variety of natural dyes, exotic and locally sourced. It was completed with the intention of combining exotic dyes with locally gathered dye plants to obtain a full spectrum of colour on silk, wool, cotton and linen fibres. Each block contains each of those fibres in combination with dyes and mordants to demonstrate the colour difference that is achievable. The sampler was a systematic exercise in learning more about natural dye for use in teaching and for my own work.