07 March 2021

Interview with Juliana Scherzer: Using preserved leaves

 A new member of SAQA Atlantic Canada, Juliana Scherzer graduated from Sheridan College with a Bachelor of Craft and Design in 2018.  Since then, she has been an artist-in-residence at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Here, she continues to build her practice while branching out into production work and teaching a range of textile courses in the community, from shibori to screen printing, to mending.

Juliana’s textile art is created with preserved leaves and eco-printing. Her work explores the roles of textiles in our everyday lives through themes of biology, mending, and environmentalism. 

Folation 2020 15"x 13"
preserved leaves, thread

Q:   Juliana, tell us about your journey towards becoming an artist who works with textiles. 

My work is inspired by organic processes and shapes.  Currently,  I am focused on making work that leaves minimal impact and explores a looped system of creating. Conceptually, my work pulls from the reflections between craft and the natural world, seeking to redefine the “natural” and the “artificial”.

Growing up, my mother taught me to sew, and my family did annual camping trips which helped to increase my awareness of the connections between humanity and the earth and creation.  This was always integral to my life so it is only natural that it would feature so heavily in my textile work.

Although I originally wanted to study costume design for theatre, in the end I chose a more open-ended general textiles program at Sheridan College. The studies have given me the skill and passion to pursue a career as a textile artist. The vast range of techniques in textiles and the integral connections it has with everyday life, from small personal moments to wide cultural significance means there is always something new I want to explore.

Q:  Where do you find your inspiration and how do you get from that to a final product?

I can find my inspiration anywhere, but lately it has come from natural structures such as roots and veins, and the way these are reflected in man-made patterns, such as weaving, and city streets. 

Once an idea is in my head I’ll write it down as words rather than drawing are the best way for me to accurately remember my ideas. Then I begin to draw thumbnail sketches of my plans, settle on one, scale it up as needed, and finally start creating.  Once I’m in the zone of creating a piece I tend to not be able to stop.  The process of settling on a design can take so long for me that I'm impatient to see the piece finally made!

Synthesis 2020 24" x 70"
preserved leaves, ecoprinted cotton, thread

Q: Do you have a studio, or do you work wherever you can find a spot?  What do you like or dislike about your workspace? 

Being an artist-in-residence at the Centre luckily allows me to use their textile studio. My favourite thing about the space is the huge window behind me giving me lots of warm natural light. My least favourite thing is the unsettlingly loud clanks and thunks the vents make late at night!

Q:   What are you currently working on?

In a project in association with the Cape Breton Partnership, 20 artists are working together to either create artwork based around the COVID-19 Pandemic or to design educational programming tailored to work within the pandemic restrictions. My artwork consists of dolls constructed out of preserved leaves and ecoprinted fabric exploring the experience of self-isolation. 

In addition, this year I am aiming to work on more 3D quilt inspired pieces, creating free standing structures using the preserved leaves and the strength of stitched seams.

Q. What artists have most inspired you and why?

Textile artist Dorothy Caldwell has been a major influence on the visual aesthetic of my work as well as with her use of natural elements on textiles. Andy Goldsworthy’s use of entirely natural items in his deteriorative sculptures is a direct influence on my current body of work. Do Ho Suh was one of the first artists I ever saw working with textiles and his work was hugely important for me in  realizing the significance of textiles emotionally and socially. It also allowed me to see the potential for textile art in a contemporary art context.

 Celia Pym and Laura Splan were two more recent inspirations for me in the world of mending in textiles and the connections between textiles and biology and humanity.  These two pushed my work in a new direction in my final year at college.

Q. Do you treat art like a job, going to the studio each day at a particular time? 

I definitely treat it like a job, I go to the studio each weekday during working hours, sometimes a bit longer, depending on when my day really got going. On the off weekday I’m not at the studio I’m on my computer at home working on applications and planning for upcoming events. 

Venous, 2020 22" x 22"
preserved leaves, thread

Juliana sells small wearable embroidered pieces online on her website, in shops throughout Nova Scotia, as well as in Toronto and Massachusetts.  Amongst others, her work can be found at The Textile Museum of Canada, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, The Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, and Victoria County Creates.

Juliana has three confirmed shows upcoming this year: 

Opening March 1st at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design (CBCCD) is a group exhibition based on a one week residency  in 2019. 

Opening on May 3rd is a second show at CBCCD of the work of the artists in the COVID-19 project, mentioned above. 

A two-person show opens August 21st at the Craft Ontario Gallery in Toronto. Juliana’s botanical quilts will be shown alongside the furniture and wood sculpture work of Daniel Gruetter. 

To keep up with Juliana’s work and future shows, visit her website at julianascherzer.com or follow her on Instagram @jlzsz 

Cross Comfort 2020 12" x 12"
ecoprinted cotton, preserved leaves,  thread

No comments:

Post a Comment