Artist Biography

I create mixed media art that is predominantly textile-based.  I have worked in this field for about 25 years; before that I was a micropalaeontologist.

I began working in textiles by studying for a City and Guilds Master-craftsman Qualification.  During the latter stages of the course I became particularly interested in using diverse materials in innovative ways.  It is not unusual for me to incorporate cans, ribbon, plastic bags and embroidery thread in the same piece.

I have lived in several different countries and have been challenged to seek out source materials and inspiration in these colourful and sometimes challenging environments.  Thus, I have worked with subjects as varied as Omani ceremonial swords, African beadwork of the Ndebele and the abundant and colourful life in the coral sea.  My art pieces have utilised mud, goat skins, porcupine spines and fibre optic cable, to name a few more obscure materials.

I wish to continue learning and improving my techniques and applying them in original ways.  Recently, I have worked with potassium permanganate in hand-made paper forming and sculpting and I am excited to be creating sculptural forms in many ways, using many welded plastics, shibori and layered platelets that I create on the sewing machine and build into contoured sculptures.  I am very interested in evolving new methods but not at the expense of good design.

Living in highly varied cultures has stimulated my interest in photography, this I use, initially, as a recording tool for my work.  I love macro photography and am awakened to colour, shape and line from such detailed imagery.  My art works often lend themselves to similar photography after their completion such that I produce abstract digital prints on canvas that emphasize the textures, colours and stitchery in my hand-made art pieces.

Karin Millison Hand Made Folded Paper 6" x 9"

Karin Millison Hand Made Folded Paper 6″ x 9″

I have been fortunate enough to be welcomed into the art worlds of the countries I have lived.  A highlight for me was to be invited to exhibit at the Omani Fine Arts Society’s “Oman with Britain” exhibition in 2002.  More recently I have been fortunate to exhibit with Calgary-based Contextural, a group who gave me much support as a new arrival in Canada.  I now find myself Alberta Representative for the Surface Design Association and am privileged to be in contact with many textile and surface design professionals.

I find my work centres itself on creating abstracted representations of subjects from the living world.  This is not surprising considering my scientific background.  I believe that because of the increasing use of the World Wide Web people have a wider experience of science and nature.  A result of this is that art such as mine is far more accessible to the public than it was in the past.  I strive to have the viewer find meaning and pleasure in my sculptures, installations and imagery through their own knowledge of the living world and, if not, then stimulating their infinite imagination.

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