If you missed the Pop Up Gallery art show in February, the works of media and fiber artist Rita St. Amant are on display during March and April at the Kay Cristo Room in the Assiniboia Library organized by the Assiniboia and District Arts Council.
Growing up in Glentworth, the artist’s work is inspired by the terrain of the Saskatchewan south. The work on display features samples of several media such as painting on silk, quilting and fiber art using thread on felt.
Each medium creates a unique effect. For example, the works “Taking the Zen out of the Doodle” and “Zen Doodling” illustrate the form of hand-painted silk quilting. While the painting adds colour, the quilting adds depth and definition.
The artist labels this as doodling, but one can see images of flowers, the sun and others. Some of the silk quilting pieces become sharper and offers a smoothing effect when displayed behind glass.
Another set of works illustrates her silk paintings. In two other them, very ordinary subjects characterize Saskatchewan well, an old car in a field and a close up of a Tiger Lily in a field. The silk painting allows for much detail and provides a delicate effect, making them appear as ancient parchment.
Some of her quilting works on display feature guitars in an explosion of colours and threadwork. The works mimic the sounds made by the guitars with threads made to look like sound waves. Layers of fabrics create the effects of a shimmering guitar and flashy sounds. In the work “Grape Leaf” uses a quilting technique on a cotton base from the 1920s. Thread work creates veins in leaves in the background and this gives the leaves a three-dimensional shape in the foreground.
Many of the works such as “Debris” showcase more of her thread techniques. St. Amant created a colourful piece with vibrant colours and the effect of leaves in the fall. In another piece, threads are used to create the look of sunshine streaming through a canopy of leaves onto the forest floor. With the use of copper coloured threading on the tips of leaves, streams of sunlight appears to reflect off the leaves.
Other pieces show the beauty of the more muted colours of the Prairie landscape. “Thistle” showcases her technique of needle and thread on felt backing using merino silk wool, alpaca wool and other wool. The effect is a close up of thistles blowing in the wind.
The wool and muted colouring gives it a fluffy texture and softens the image. This technique can be seen in other pieces including a smaller version of the thistle as well as of a flower.
The colours and textures of the ever-changing nature are reflected in St. Amant’s pieces. As a self-taught, grassroots artist, she was influenced by her talented mother, an exceptional seamstress and craft person in her own right, and the obvious pride she felt for her surroundings ranging in prairie skies and landscapes from the Northern Canadian Shield to the Southern Badlands.
It is evident art plays a large part in her life and her work shows a desire to engage in new and unique avenues. St. Amant is a juried member of the Saskatchewan Craft Council and has sold pieces internationally and across Canada.