Sheila Thompson's geographic perspective informs her art practice by providing subject matter, memories and analytic tools. She grew up in Calgary and remains strongly influenced by her love of the foothills and prairie. Her work is characterized by a rich and bold pallet and the incorporation of unusual organic materials.
The process of wet felting is integral to her work. The technique is a means of contextualizing and surfacing ideas about inheritance and resilience, and the patterns or traits left behind or carried forward. Many of her landscapes embody key elements of past human or animal activity - buffalo wallows, middens, lost villages. Her latest work uses a couple of techniques to build a more dynamic aspect into the landscape that conveys change, movement and the passage of time. She is exploring themes of migration and inheritance using landscapes, and captured and reworked images as her devices.
To show the past embedded in the present, she hides an image of a real place behind a knitted copper wire screen sewn into the landscape that represents the current conditions. Her second technique creates multiple interrelated felts meant to represent imperfect memories of past times and places. She creates a first generation felt that is then photographed and printed on silk. Portions of the silk image of the first felt are then worked in during the creation of the second felt. She is effectively patterning the new landscape with elements of the old.
She often creates silk fabrics from images that hone in on the detail of a piece and are printed over scale. The resulting textiles reveal the complex components of the pieces - fibres, cocoons, organics, paper and silk.
Sheila Thompson is a fibre artist based in Toronto. Through the techniques of wet felting, her art practice explores questions about landscape change, resilience & loss, artifacts and inheritance. Themes of migration run through the latest works, creating impressions of artifacts of journey, the passage of time and memories of lost homelands.
Education: Ph.D., 1984 McGill University, Geography specializing in tropical weed invasions; self-taught fibre artist since 2004.
Co-creator, with Fiona Duthie and Sandra Barrett, of the felt-feutre Canada online exhibition for 2017 called Transitions.
Coordinator/Curator with Melanie Siegel of the National touring textile exhibition “Edge of the Forest” (winner of an Ontario Arts Council Grant and sponsored by the Surface Design Association)
Presentation to the Surface Design Association Conference, Tennessee 2015 on the making of the exhibition.
Board Member – Artists’ Network 2012 to January 2016, www.artistsnetwork.ca
Chair Beach Studio Tour 2007-2011; Executive – Marketing Strategy – 2011
Vice-Chair, Volunteer Committee, Textile Museum of Canada – 2012-2013
Treasurer, Volunteer Committee, Textile Museum of Canada – 2007-2010
Selected Juried Exhibitions since 2011
2017 Studio 888 Show with Bev Quinn. Between the Layers: stories in paint and fibre
2017 Rosedale Art Fair
2016 EcoArt Show Gallery 1313
2016 Canadian Contemporary Felt Symposium Exhibition
2017-2006 18 Beach Studio Tours
2016 Juried Solo Exhibition “Resilience” – Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre Jan 2016
2016 January-March Capital One Corporate installation juried group show
2015 Love Art –Juried group show with the Artists’s Network
2014 World of Threads Festival, Red and Black Exhibition
2014 Solo Exhibition Corporate exhibition Fairmont Manor Almonte December 2014 to February 2015
2014, Art Fest Toronto at the Distillery (Labour Day Weekend)
2014 Bridgepoint Corporate Installation – (January to March 2014)
2017 - 2012 Riverdale Art Walk
2016-2013 Art Walk North / Artwalk in the Square – juried group show
2012- 2016 -Fifteen shows with the Artists’ Network
2012 World of Threads, de Natura exhibition
2011 One of a Kind Show – Christmas
Note: Many pieces are not shown on my website since the old version was hacked but more will appear here as I rebuild.