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Lindsey McTavish

 Lindsey is not just a solo artist, but also a dedicated collaborator. She is a proud co-owner of the Craft Connection Gallery, a haven for art enthusiasts in Nelson, B.C, as well as all of it’s many national & international visitors. This collective, comprising of 6 female artists and designers, thoughtfully curates and exhibits an extraordinary collection of works from more than 200 artists and crafts people hailing from across Canada. Lindsey’s contribution to this gallery underscores her commitment to fostering a thriving creative community, and her work can be found there year round, as well as in many other shows and exhibits throughout the year across North America. All of Lindsey’s pieces are made by wet felting then quilting wool and silk. Wet felting is the process by which animal fibres such as wool, are made into a non woven fabric through a combination of wetting and agitation.  Once this part is done and dry, Lindsey will quilt around all of the details using an industrial sewing machine, bringing forth the foreground, mid ground, background and depth of the piece.

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How would you describe/define yourself?

I guess to define myself would be to say that I’m an artist, designer & entrepreneur, and also a mother, a wife, and an world adventurer.

When and why did you decide to choose painting designing as a career? 

I had my first child when I was just 19. I knew pretty quickly that being a stay at home mom was not going to be the life for me. I had big ideas and dreams, and I knew that I was creative and wanted to work for myself, but I
really had no real idea what direction to head in with my creativity. I decided to apply to art school and hoped that there I would learn some technical skills and hopefully it would become clear if I had any real talent in anything. I did a
3 year program at The Kootenay school of the Arts in nelson, Bc, and at first I decided to pick a major in pottery/ceramics. After the first year, there were 25 students trying to get one of the 8 spots available for 2nd year, and I was not one of the ones chosen. For about 2 weeks I moped and sulked and thought my dreams were shattered, and my life was over, and then I picked myself up and randomly decided I would try my hand with Fibre Arts. After that 3 years of studying all things fibre & textiles, I applied to The International academy of Design in my hometown of Toronto, where I graduated from the 2 year fashion design program. Since then, I think it has become pretty obvious to me and anyone that knows me, that I was not meant to be a potter!

What according to you is a favorite part of being a Paint Artist?

My favourite part of being an artist I think, is that it allows me to just really be myself. I have slowly but surely created a beautiful life for myself while spending time doing exactly what I love doing. I do quite a few different things, as is often necessary to make a living as an artist, so for me I split my year into 3rds basically. I work on my felted tapestries for months at a time, and then I switch to working on my clothing line for months, then I switch to working on my line of handbags for months, then back to artwork, etc, etc. Another element to my life and job, is that I was able to become a co-owner of an amazing Canadian gallery, partnering with 6 other very talented female artists, where we showcase a highly curated, excellent and diverse collection of work from over 200 local and Canadian artists and designers.That for me adds the very needed element of community to my life, which is often lacking
for artists, and it allows me to try out the things I make to see how they are received and guides me to know wether I’m going in the right direction.

What inspires you as an Artist? How do you visualize your muses?

Oh my goodness, I am inspired by so many things! People, places, moods, feelings, light, texture, and definitely colour! My pieces tend to be very colourful! I’m a very sensitive person, so I think my art is an escape for me. I always wished that I could say that my work is politically inspired, or highly conceptual, because it seems that that’s what people like to hear, so that’s something I’ve struggled with a bit. I finally came up with that I create beautiful imagery, where I and others can escape to to feel some calm. A huge inspiration for me with my art, is to go for drives (as a passenger), and really study all of the colours that make up a colour. Like how many greens actually make up the green of the tree, or some people who see snow, just see white, but I disect the white and see all of the blues and greys and purples that are actually hiding in there. I try to lock them into my memory so that when I’m working on a piece there are so many layers of colour I use to achieve that main colour.

What’s your signature painting element? And why?

I’d have to say I think It’s my landscapes. After all of these years, I think I do these pretty well. One of the the most interesting things about my pieces, is that from afar people think they are paintings, but when they go closer and
see that they are actually made of wool & silk, they are intrigued. I rarely end up with many landscapes sitting around for too long, they are the quickest sellers for sure.

The painting you created are best without any doubt, but who and which things were your inspiration while creating such painting?

My grandparents were both artists, so I grew up going to openings and shows and being surrounded by art and inspired by that as a possible life. The first artist I remember being totally excited and inspired by was Norval Morisseau. Another artist that I’ve always loved so much is Modigliani, but by far my favourite artists of all time and biggest inspiration continually, are the members of the Group of Seven. Tom Thompson, Franklin Carmichael, Lauren Harris, J.E.H Macdonald, Frank Johnson, Frederick Varley & Arthur Lismer. I feel like a lot of people who aren’t Canadian don’t even know these guys, but for me they never fail to inspire, I never get bored of looking at their work, and I think you can definitely tell when you look at my landscapes.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career and hoping to make it big as an Artist?

Ha, Good question! There are some people that just can’t be anything else (I am one of those people). If you feel like you are one of those people, then fight for it. You need a ton of determination and self discipline to be an artist as a career. Take a part time job if you need to, and if you make art that translates well onto merchandise, then don’t be afraid to use that. Make greeting cards of your work if you can because that can be bread and butter. My work does not translate well into merchandise, but at our gallery we have a bright new young artist that’s put her paintings onto cards, cosmetic bags, matted prints, cushion covers, socks, cosmetic bags, and they are all selling well for her. If you want it, do whatever you have to do to be able to keep going with it, and give yourself the time to grow and get better. It’s a great feeling when you all of a sudden realize you just got to the next stage of your craft...

To whom would you like to give credits of your journey till now?

I would like to give credit where credit is due here, and say that my husband has been undeniably my biggest support. I’m not sure my kind of art was always his favourite type (because he’s super into realism), but he’s had faith in me and the knowledge that this is who I was going to be. There have been many times when of course he has to carry the financial load, but he seemed to always have had faith in me, and he could see that I was extremely passionate and determined to make a life of it. Also my parents! They have seen my artistic worth and drive, and have been extremely encouraging at every step.


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