Artist uses stitches to tell her story
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From paper towel rolls to fibre masterpieces, Laurena Green has come a long way.
“When I was very young, if there was an empty paper towel roll in sight it was transformed into something magical that I could play with,” she said.
Green's pieces, while made of fibres and fabric, resemble watercolour paintings.
“My practice involves recording my journeys through photographs and sketches. Working in layers, each piece evolves from a photograph to a printmaking process on fabric, layering surfaces that combine ink, graphite, watercolour pigments, fibres, machine stitching and hand embroidery,” she said.
Each piece usually contains six different layers, she noted.
“Much of the background is enhanced with watercolour and the minute details are embellished with needlework,” she said. “The drying time between stages allows me to work on another piece at a different stage using a different medium.”      
Green admits it was her parents who helped her turn her natural talents into a career.
“I was very focused when colouring and to keep that interest going my parents enrolled me in art and pottery classes from the age of five onward.”
Green was only six years old when her mother taught her the art of sewing.
While attending Dunbarton High School in Pickering, the budding artist took as many art classes as she could.
“It was a fantastic group of teachers who were dedicated to developing a program that included separate courses with focuses in painting, drawing, graphic design, history of art and fashion,” she said. “They encouraged and supported me through a self-exploration of fibre art in my OAC year. I was completely immersed in art through those formative years.”
After high school, Green earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Fashion Design and Production Management from Ryerson University.  
“My training continued, working in the fashion industry and then later building costumes over the course of 10 years for the wardrobes of The National Ballet of Canada, The Stratford Festival and Mirvish Production's Seamless Costumes,” she said.
When Green moved to Barrie six years ago and left the world of costuming behind, she looked for a new outlet for her creativity. She landed on fibre art.
Green said she admires the works of Lizz Aston, a fibre-based artist from Toronto.
“Some of her work involves cutting and burning fibres and layering colour to create lace like sculptures and installations,” she said. “Annemieke Mein is an Australian wildlife textile artist who creates breathtaking dimensional works for example moths and butterflies.”  Green is a member of the Embroiderers' Association of Canada and the Kempenfelt Quilter's Guild.
“When I moved here from Toronto, I was introduced to and became a member of the Simcoe County Embroidery Guild,” she said. “A fun and welcoming group of women, they share their skills in the fine art of traditional needlework. Some of the beautiful detailed work they complete tests even my high level of patience. Having the knowledge of traditional needlework and styles throughout history allows me to incorporate inspiration from them into my design work.”
Green is also the co-owner and instructor, with artist/choreographer Susan Kendal, of Spool Lounge on Lakeshore Mews in Barrie.
They offer classes in hand and machine sewing and fibre art and much more.


For more information on Green, visit jorie.ca and spoollounge.ca.

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