Canadian fiber artist Anni Hunt presents a mixed media portfolio based on ideas of home, family and culture. See more of her work by visiting her website.
Working with textiles has always brought me closer to the human spirit of food, clothing and shelter. The basic foundations of life and continuity. It never ceases to amaze me how through generations people have painstakingly crafted such elegant and elaborate adornments for food, clothing and shelter. Researching history and textile departments keeps me excited and inspired at the sheer variety of techniques and materials used over the generations.
I was always very attuned to nature since childhood. I remember poring over rocks and cliffs for hours with my Father looking for little ‘jewels’ of nature (feathers, empty crab shells, fossils, nests) to treasure and take home to the city as keepsakes of the interaction with the wilds.
I have a tremendous respect for the ingenuity and tenacity of the animal world. That said, the nest has meant so much to me, representing the bonds of family, love, caring, hardship and determination. A basic, fundamental necessity that was crafted out of so little and became so much.
The Nest is something more than basic, however. It is a metaphor for all of those things in relationships of the human spirit. It is at the ‘nub’ of our being. The essence of who we are and where we came from.
My nests are made from Hanji Thread, which is a paper thread from Korea. I use the natural sizing in the thread to stiffen the nest form and then weave my various found objects, ephemera and thread into the structure once it is formed. I use silk cocoons as my ‘eggs’ and found feathers as a soft lining to the nest. In each nest, various texts on paper are woven (hidden) into the nest creating a sense of the human thoughts on ‘Home’ ‘Family’ ‘Nurture’ etc.
I’m also working on a series of two-dimensional large-scale textile pieces, heavily inspired by photographs of first nations totem poles and wood carvings. The images were of old and weathered totem poles. I love the textures of the wood that these images showed.
I used this as a starting point to create several wall hangings of faces ‘emerging’ from the wood. I used photo transfer onto linen and stitched heavily back into the images to create the texture and essence of the face emerging from the wood. Then I painted back into the images with oil sticks to enhance the texture that the stitch had given the canvas.
The series is not finished yet, just as the nest series keeps on reinventing itself. I am working on even larger pieces and 3D pieces in this theme.