14 June 2015

Member Profile - Holly McLean, Bathurst, New Brunswick

My work 

My fiber art conveys a love of nature. It is based on flora and fauna that I am inspired by on my walks or bike rides along the NB Trail and sometimes by the little things that I notice in my own backyard. These lichen that I found on a piece of wood in my yard fascinate me. They are so tiny as to be hardly noticed. They seem to be searching for sunlight.

I often carry my camera with me. Once home, I like to do watercolour or colored pencil sketches from my photos, or most of the time from the little bits that I pick up. This is why the subjects of my work usually follow the seasons.

For example, right now I’m working on two pieces, my son surfing and a bright happy piece with tulips. 

The tulips are from my garden and the dragonfly which appears quite a bit in my work was a road casualty found on the grill of our car after a trip. Of course I had to save it and sketch it.

Sometimes I use my hand dyed fabric but most often I will paint or print a background using fabric paints. I came up with something that I call Shibori trees for making tree stands and I have done several pieces and taught a workshop using this method. This is the sample for demoing at the workshop.

Do I have a style?

I often wondered if I had a style but I have lately been told by many that they recognize my work. I’m not exactly sure what defines it. My style would have to include an obvious love of nature, a lot of thread painting, stamped or painted fabric, trees, especially birches and birds are often featured. My artwork is usually representational with lots of texture.
My favourite color palette

I do like very many color combinations, especially analogous ones: pink and orange, blue and green, purple and red. Often I will notice color combinations and fall in love with them for a while. Sometimes they come from nature or from fabric and styles at the time.
One of my favourites for a while now is the black/gray/tan/white from the chickadee or the gray/white/black/gold of a birch tree stand on a gray fall day.

My materials

I often begin with 100%white cotton on which I stamp, paint print or screen print. I most often use Setacolor fabric paints. Occasionally, I will dye fabric using Procion dyes.
I’ve had screens made from my own designs. I like to carve stamps and make my own stencils. I also do sun printing. Appliqué is usually fusible using Light Steam a Seam 2.
I use a lot of commercial batiks as well, either as part of the central piece or in the borders.

Once my background is established I will thread paint with various types of threads. I love embellishing with all kinds of fibers. In the tulip piece I used Angelina fiber fused to netting for the dragonfly wings. Next I will stitch the webbing using a gray silk.


I haven’t entered many shows. I have won a few ribbons from the KVQG shows in the modern quilt category. I have also written several articles for Quilting Arts Magazine and Quilting Arts Gifts and recently my Birches and Rosehips piece shown above was published in a new on line magazine called Through Our Hands.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done profile, Holly. Perhaps one day I'll do one!