Introducing Our New Gallery Assistant Caroline Forde
My name is Caroline Forde and I am a Hamilton born artist and maker specializing in textile design and illustration. I have spent my past two summers attending Craft Studio Artists-In-Residence programs through Harbourfront Center in Toronto, Ontario and at Peters Valley School of Craft in Layton, New Jersey. Having the opportunity to work at Hamilton Artists Inc. this summer as a gallery assistant is a nice change of pace for my practice. I am looking forward to learning the daily operations of an artists-run center while having the chance to work with artists from all across Canada. So far, I have had the chance to help set-up and run the Inc. Squared Annual Fundraiser, the Spring Craft Mart Sale, work with Mohawk College’s Creative Photography Still + Motion Graduate Exhibition, help install the members show Proximities, as well as work alongside Halifax based artist, Steven Kelly on his solo exhibition Open Ended Ensemble (Competitive Coevolution).
In this post I would like to share a bit of my personal background, my artistic practice and how I discovered Hamilton Artists Inc.
I grew up in the suburbs of Stoney Creek, Ontario. In my youth I always loved drawing, painting and crafting. I also developed a love and fascination for the outdoors through my adventures on tall ships, sailboats and camping throughout Canada. I was a Navy League Cadet, Sea Cadet and Canadian Forces Officer with Hamilton’s NLCC Cougar and RCSCC 31 Lion corps from 2005 to this upcoming August, 2016. With over ten years of experience in the Cadet program I have had many adventures across Canada.
When I wasn’t at cadets I kept creative, always drawing, painting and crafting. During the year I looked forward to Hamilton Art Crawls because they provided opportunities to visit artists studios and galleries. I have been attending Hamilton Art Crawls since 2010 and over the years have witnessed Hamilton’s art scene grow and flourish.
As I neared the the end of my program at Sheridan College I had the chance to participate in Hamilton Artists Inc.’s fall Craft Mart event in 2014. The Inc. provided a two day opportunity to show and sell my work professionally. The show also took place during an Art Crawl, which was very exciting for this Hamilton girl. Craft Mart was a big step in my career as an artist. Today I continue to sell my textile work at a variety of curated craft shows across Canada.
Currently my research and work is highly influenced by sustainability and craft. I aim to to create small production textile pieces that are friendly for the environment and my clients. I create functional pieces such as scarves and pillows that are screen printed with a variety of natural dyes. All my imagery is hand drawn and inspired by a variety of landscapes, flora and fauna. Through my work I hope to show the world just how much handmade objects and Canadian design has to offer.
Canada has a small art scene when compared to the United States and Europe, but with that smallness comes a unique closeness. As a result I’ve discovered Canada’s art communities to be strong, supportive, passionate and thriving.
During my time at Sheridan College I learned how to build relationships with other artists. The Visual and Creative Arts and Craft and Design students were an important support group for me as I developed my practice. Now, during my studies at the Alberta College of Art and Design I am learning the ins and outs of the arts community in Calgary.
As I continue to visit and work at artists-run centers and participate in a variety of artist residencies I am starting to build all sorts of personal relationships across North America. These connections and relationships have revealed to me that the art world is not as big and daunting as it seems. I have learned that whichever city I visit, no matter how big or how small, it will always have a gallery, studio and community I can visit and relate too. Truly, pursuing a career in the arts can be attainable if you seek community and value relationships.
Now as I spend my summer at Hamilton Artists Inc. I see this organization as a leader in the arts community not just in Hamilton but in the country as a whole. Hamilton Artists Inc. gathers artists and their works from all provinces helping expose Canadians to contemporary art and critical conversations. I feel honoured having the chance to join the Inc.’s team. As well, it’s also worth mentioning that the Inc. has maintained a presence in the community for over forty years, which is quite an achievement to be proud of.
You can view more of my work at carolinefordedesigns.com
There you can view my projects and blog posts revolving around my practice.