Hilary Johnstone

I live outside La Ronge, Saskatchewan and spend as much time as possible in the bush and on the lakes. The land, water and plants inform my art and my life.

I started out as a painter, after taking a M.A. with a major in painting. I started making fabric collages in 2008. Now I paint mainly as a sketch for a fabric collage. My art is made with pieces of fabric, cut and collaged together, then stitched and quilted, to give it some rigidity, and to allow it to be hung on a wall. I begin with a coloured sketch, or a painting. I get out my boxes of fabrics, choose fabrics for the different areas, and start to draw and cut and adhere shapes to the backing fabric. I sew all the edges down with a satin stitch before I add the quilt backing and sew through all the layers. I like the tactile aspect of fabrics, how soft and homey they feel, and I like to work with the patterns, and multi-toned colours of commercial fabrics.

I make my art in homage to the central importance of nature, nature left in its pristine state, nature that must be respected, if it is to continue to sustain us. Nature sustains me in all ways. I need wild nature to feel really alive and happy. I realize how lucky I am to live where I do, in northern Saskatchewan, where a network of lakes and rivers connect the forests and muskegs. I ski across the lakes and the land, and I canoe and portage when the ice leaves. I make art to share this place, and to allow the viewer to consider the rich and precious importance of undisturbed ecosystems.