Kathleen Elliott

Kathleen Elliott

My artistic practice pulls traditional domestic craft through contemporary materials, giving histories of quiet strength a public space. I am a Mi’kmaq Newfoundland ​yarn spinner1. I am a carrier of women’s history and I have discovered my favourite stories are the ones folded on the top shelf of closets or tucked away in cubbies: stories rarely taken out, rarely heard, and likely little understood. 

The women of my family form heirlooms as they overcome hardships. My nan was emboldened by embroidery, my mom’s collection of quilts grew with me, and I have found peace in rug hooking. Embroidery, steeped in Nan’s cigarette smoke, was for keeping near; delicately sewn scenes of English streets and markets from her childhood hung on her walls until the day she passed. Visiting my nan meant I could explore and get lost in their plush worlds. I’m filled with joy by the scent of my mother’s linen closet with the surrounding wood’s breath held in each square of fabric. As a child I’d bury my face amongst the quilts cherishing their warmth and protection, curious as to how they got there. The older I grew the more I came to understand sewing’s significance to my mom’s life is the same as rug hooking is for me. 

It is my time to protect and nurture the traditions. I want to manifest strength using my roots to weather storms, honouring my foremother’s resilience; the fruit of ancestral labour coming from my hands.