The five artists in Craft Up Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Heather Goodchild, Allyson Mitchell, Stephanie Rogerson, Andrea Vander Kooij and three person collective: the Washboard Collective, (comprised of Michele Costa, Melody Starkweather and April Walsh), share a passion for textiles and are united in a way of working with the materials that is process-based, reusing cloth, threads and garments that possessed a life and history prior to becoming art objects.

GINGER BROOKS TAKAHASHI lives in New York, maintaining a social, project-based practice, collaborating with kindred spirits. Among them, LTTR, a queer and feminist art journal, and project Mobilivre-Bookmobile project, a traveling exhibit of artist books and zines, 2000-05. LTTR has presented public projects at Documenta 12 Magazine, The Generali Foundation, The Kitchen, Art In General, and Printed Matter, and received Printed Matter’s Emerging Artist Publication Award in 2005. Brooks was part of the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2007. She has exhibited at numerous venues including Artists Space (New York), Art Metropole (Toronto), La Centrale (Montreal), Space 1026 (Philadelphia), and The Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia).

HEATHER GOODCHILD works mainly with fiber, producing felt mosaics, dioramas, silk-screened textiles and quilts. Goodchild is best known for her soft-sculpture creatures: The Mammals. American folk music and artwork, the symbolism of Freemasonry, and principles of sacred geometry inspire Goodchild’s practice. Goodchild’s work has been exhibited at various venues including the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, the Gladstone Hotel (Toronto), sis boom bah gallery (Toronto), and at the Douglas Udell gallery (Edmonton). Goodchild lives and works in Toronto.

ALLYSON MITCHELL is a maximalist artist working predominantly in sculpture, installation and film. Since 1997, Mitchell has been melding feminism and pop culture to play with contemporary ideas about sexuality, autobiography, and the body, largely through the use of reclaimed textile and abandoned craft. Mitchell has exhibited in galleries and festivals across Canada, the US, Europe and East Asia. She has also performed extensively with Pretty Porky and Pissed Off, a fat performance troupe, as well as publishing both writing and music. She recently completed her PhD in Women’s Studies at York University, where she also teaches cultural studies. Mitchell’s work has been generously supported by the Chalmers Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario and Toronto Arts Councils, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

STEPHANIE ROGERSON is an independent writer, curator and artist. She views her varied practice as a continuum of creative output and critical analysis. Currently the Exhibition Coordinator at Gallery 44, Stephanie is responsible for all aspects of programming. She has worked in artist-run culture, taught in both academic and non-academic settings, curated an array of events such as transgender and gender-queer performance art, and multi-media installations dealing with HIV/AIDS. In 2002, research began on an independent writing project on early snapshot photography and queer representation. This research project has brought Rogerson to several queer conferences as an invited lecturer to several universities in the US and Europe. In October, she has been invited to talk on this research at A Space’s lecture series Representation of Politics/Politics of Representation. Stephanie graduated from the School of Visual Arts M.F.A program in photography and related media, in 1999.

ANDREA VANDER KOOIJ is a Montreal based artist who holds an MFA degree with a concentration in Fibre from Concordia University. In 2005 she successfully defended her thesis exhibition Effloressence, which involved both 17th century embroidery techniques and performance art. Her practice incorporates traditional craft-based mediums such as knitting, crocheting and embroidery as well as elements of performance. Her work addresses gender issues and the body, as well as challenging notions of art, craft and labour. She enjoys working with found/reclaimed material as well as food. Recent projects include exhibitions at the Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft and the Gladstone Hotel (Toronto).

is MICHELE COSTA, MELODY STARKWEATHER and APRIL WALSH. Formed in 2006 the Toronto-based Collective represents the convergence and transformation of three distinct practices into a collaborative process. This way of working is directly descendent of traditional craft practices, such as sewing circles and quilting bees. The Collective collaborates on all processes: from gathering materials, to construction and final embellishments. Sometimes this entails passing work from hand to hand, and other times pieces are created simultaneously together. Salvaged linens are transformed to visually represent biomedical anatomies and themes of the body. Their work references mortalitythe fragility of the human existenceaccentuated by the time-based degradation of the materials used. However, in their careful and obsessive collecting, crafting, embellishing and nostalgia are equally at play.

Featured in YYZINE: VOLUME 7, ISSUE 6