Westman artists helping others craft their creative voice – Brandon Sun

Posted: October 24, 2021 at 11:18 am

Capturing the zeitgeist of the communities around them, artists often reflect back on the state of their world through their art.

These explorations into cultures and communities can take place through a variety of mediums, be it a carefully placed brushstroke, a powerful strike of a pen or the hands-on manipulation of a pottery piece.


Holmfield artist Katharine Bruce works in her studio.

However, one of the most powerful interactions a creation can have is helping people find their unique artistic voice and reinvigorating their passion for the arts, said Holmfield artist Katharine Bruce.

As a creator, one of her greatest opportunities has been the chance to help others find their artistic expression. Bruce has hosted art workshops in the past and hopes to organize more in the future at her home base, Holmfield ART Farm. She is also involved with the Westman womens art group, Drawn Together.

"I love the workshop that I have created, how energized it helps everyone feel, to help people see and feel that they can be creative," Bruce said.

Drawn Together is a great group of incredibly talented ladies, she said. Its amazing to see strong Westman women unite and explore each others studios and find connections in a rural setting each month.

"Some of these women, they were often going into Winnipeg to do workshops and connect with other artists," Bruce said. "They created their own club."

Bruce said she appreciates sharing space with people who are passionate about being creative, too.

She added many of the people who have come to her workshops have not been artists and creating helps them find their voice.


Holmfield artist Katharine Bruce with a painting she did in Mexico.

"They love it," Bruce said. "Its energizing and fun. I enjoy getting people together."

Bruces first foray into art was as a potter. She enjoyed the hands-on process of working with clay. This passion for hands-on creation has held true for her over the years, even as she has explored different mediums.

Bruce later began to play with handmade papers and spent years creating sculptures and teaching workshops.

Now, Bruce mainly works with paint and canvas a turbulent process that involves the use of her entire body.

Vibrant movements play a role in each painting, she said, and often her canvas will be laid on the floor where she can experiment with the process of capturing movement through colourful paints.

"Being on the floor gives me the liberty of dancing as Im moving and growing and rolling and moving my paintbrush around on the canvas," Bruce said.

Her studio is a place to recharge and embrace inspiration and creativity.

Collaging is often brought into her work and she gently adds tiny details that can be discovered upon closer viewing. The collage details serve as little surprises for people, she said, drawing them into her world as they carefully study her pieces.

"Theyre little gems for when you get up close," Bruce said with a chuckle.

While she was born in New York, Bruce grew up in Winnipeg with her artist parents.


A creation by fabric-dyeing artist Carol Reimer of Killarney.

She said she enjoyed urban life but was always drawn to the country. For her, being able to call Holmfield home has been a dream come true.

She discovered the tiny town while visiting a friend and immediately fell in love. She later found a place of her own in 2012.

She saw potential in an old house and worked to rejuvenate the space to create a hub for artistic knowledge seekers.

"I love being in the country, and its a huge part of my process as a creator," Bruce said. "I really need the spaciousness of being out here and the quietness and the beauty of nature itself being all around me."

She hopes to see the town one day become a creative enclave for artists.

She is currently creating a piece centred on a large cityscape, passionately working to bring the vision in her head to reality. The piece is a beautiful combination of masterful perspective with vibrant, abstract expression.

It is therapeutic working on pieces, as each creation serves as an opportunity to subconsciously work through questions about the greater culture and community with each stroke of her paintbrush and movement of her hand.

Its a joy when another person sees a piece she has created and can relate to the thoughts transcribed to canvas and feel the joy that went into a piece, the artist said.

Like Bruce, Killarney-based artist Carol Reimer helps people find their artistic expression by providing the tools to create.

Reimer is a fabric hand-dyer, using Procion Dyes to create rich, energetic and one-of-a-kind creations.


A creation by fabric-dyeing artist Carol Reimer of Killarney.

"Ive always been interested in fabric and sewing and crafting; fabric has always been my passion," Reimer said. "Its just built inside me."

Over the years she has picked up various tips and tricks to create her fabrics, each action creating different results.

Her path to fabric dyeing has been one of mediation and commitment. She has attended in-person demonstrations, watched online tutorials on YouTube, read books, listened to CDs and done other things to perfect her art.

Reimer added trial and error has also been an invaluable teacher, along with sharing tales with other dyers.

Around 20 years ago she learned artists could dye their own fabric and she was immediately interested while watching a demonstration hosted by the Nifty Needlers at the Killarney Fair.

"From there I was just inspired," Reimer said. "Ive been playing with it on and off ever since."

Over the last few years, she has had the time to embrace her craft with the full force of her passion. Fabric-dyeing is a spark of life, she said, filling her days with delight because she can focus on pursuing her passion.

While she does sell her hand-dyed fabric, Reimer also uses the material to create unique art pieces carefully stitched together. The small pieces tap into her abilities as a fabric artist.

"I dont use a pattern; I just cut and feel it out," Reimer said. "It has been a wonderful experience to express myself."

While dyeing her fabrics, Reimer first decides on the colours she wants to use and the technique she is looking to explore.

"I do some gradient dyeing, where you start off really, really dark and then several pieces later its really, really light, but all the pieces are in the same colour tone," Reimer said.

One of her favourite dyeing techniques is Shibori dyeing which allows her to create beautiful, delicate patterns through patience and a gentle touch folding, twisting, stitching or binding the fabric to create unique looks.

"Youre doing something to the fabric before you dye it to produce a pattern on it after its finished," Reimer said.

Crafting the colour she envisions can take anywhere from a couple of hours to two days, some techniques even last two weeks.

"I sort of try to envision the end product and I often will mix colours to get different colours. You just wonder if its going to turn out like you wanted or how its going to turn out," Reimer said with a light chuckle. "Even if its not what you wanted, its usually something pretty spectacular."

Fabric dyeing is a meditative, yet exciting process because the end product can be just what she planned or a spectacular surprise.

She cited a piece of fabric she recently dyed where she threw a mix of colours together. When she washed it out there was a piece reminiscent of a stormy sea.

"I just cut that piece out and I plan on making a stormy sea picture out of that," Reimer said.

It is exciting when a new piece is revealed because the finished fabric can inspire her next art piece. Her work has included fabric landscape images inspired by Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, and another one capturing a beautiful photo she took of a lone tree in Saskatchewan.

Reimer is branching out her skills and has embraced upcycling and repurposing white-lined table cloths. She recently started making aprons out of them.

"I try to upcycle or repurpose fabrics so that they become useful again once they are dyed," Reimer said.

For now, Reimer is grateful she gets to do what she loves each day and is diligently spending every spare minute she has on fabric dyeing.

"Im not in it for glory or money; Im just in it because I love it," Reimer said.


Twitter: @The_ChelseaKemp

Originally posted here:

Westman artists helping others craft their creative voice - Brandon Sun

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