Artist, Barb Hunt, lives in Corner Brook and teaches at Grenfell College. We met several years ago and, as Barb put it, realized we were having the same dreams. Barb makes art using needlework techniques such as knitting, embroidery, sewing, and perhaps quilting is in her future. She makes art about death and how people remember those have died. Sound familiar? In reality, we sound more alike on paper than by looking at our actual bodies of work but we definitely have a sympathy for each other's work and share a common vocabulary about it.
A theme that runs strongly through Barb's work is peace. She was raised in a pacifist family and much of her work reminds us of the terrible price the whole planet is paying for being at war with each other. Perhaps her best known piece is called "antipersonnel". It is an ongoing series of handknit replicas of landmines - all knit in pink yarn. They are beautiful and even funny but they also carry well the weight of their message.
Barb also works with camouflage in many different ways. She collects and uses camouflage uniforms from around the world and her studio is filled with bins of uniforms and pieces of uniforms. The other day she was describing how she collects every little bit of thread and fabric from the uniforms and keeps it, although she had no idea what she would ever do with it. I suspect anyone who sews knows the urge to keep every little scrap but Barb's motivation goes beyond that. It is her way of respecting the soldier who wore the uniform and the hardships they have endured in the line of duty. Barb is anti-war but not anti-military, a position that is more obviously correct in Canada than in the US. Part of what makes her work interesting is remembering that she is Canadian and the military has a very different history and sense of purpose than it does in the US.
In any case, when Barb mentioned her little bits and pieces of camo fabric, I light went off in my fibre-filled mind and I asked her if she would give me some to turn into yarn. A collaboration was born.
Just the beginning of something very beautiful...
(All photos except the first one are courtesy of Barb Hunt)