“It could be in a dream, or even in a song lyric, that the vision of an idea comes to me,” said Lesley Mayfield, in an attempt to verbalize the process behind her unique and complex creations.

“Once I start working on that idea, however, it often ends up forging its own path,” she concluded.

Mayfield’s work now fills the four walls of the Revelstoke Visual Art Centre’s main gallery. The exhibition opening event took place on Friday, May 3, between 5-9 p.m. Her collection, Beings and Energy, is complemented by the three side galleries from artists Gabrielle Clarke, Golden Girls, and The Fierce Art Project.

Her new collection is entitled, Beings and Energy. Photo: Louise Stanway/ Revelstoke Mountaineer.

“I love working with fabric,” said Mayfield with a smile as we glanced around at the bold, quilted pieces that stared down at us from every corner of the room.

Each piece takes multiple months to complete. Photo: Louise Stanway/ Revelstoke Mountaineer.

Mayfield explained that her process involves piecing (small pieces of cloth are joined together with seams), applique (an element is sewn onto the base), painting (with dyes and other media suited to the fabric) and finally, beading and embroidery for embellishing detail.

Most of the fabric she uses is gathered from thrift stores. The ‘upcycling’ of discarded clothing, curtains and net blinds, provides the perfect solution to building intricate textile layers which help tell a story.

“Every creature, planet, speck of dust – even ideas – are in a constant dance with everything else,” said Mayfield in her Artist Statement. Pictured: a close-up of “Soul Journey”. Photo: Louise Stanway/ Revelstoke Mountaineer.

It’s easy to get lost in Mayfield’s work; the longer you look, the more you see. Her stitchwork facilitates her storytelling. Careful decision making is behind every piercing of the fabric – big or small.

She alternates between machine stitching (even within that, there is a multitude of different stitches) and hand stitching, depending on her desired effect. The stitched lines that flow over the designs add another dimension to the narrative.

Pictured: Artist Lesley Mayfield stands beside her work. Photo: Louise Stanway/ Revelstoke Mountaineer.
“Without Water We Die” by Lesley Mayfield. Photo: Louise Stanway/ Revelstoke Mountaineer.

In the neighboring gallery, a different scene unfolds. Gabrielle Clarke describes her newest collection, The Soft, The Small, The Sensitive, as “both a response to, and an antidote for, the difficult parts of our world”.

Clarke is an art therapist working in an abuse recovery program at a community counselling centre in Golden, B.C. In her eyes, practicing art is a means of taking these dark stories and complex energies and forming her own narrative.

Clarke’s exhibition shows off some of her “gentler” works that she has produced in her home studio. Photo: Louise Stanway/ Revelstoke Mountaineer.

Her recent work featured in this gallery draws on her softer and more playful side. Working with mixed media – acrylic paint, collage, fabric and sewing – she is able to build colourful and complex layers which are emblematic of the cultures she is inspired by. For example, Japanese ink painting and bold brushwork are common themes across her work.

Clarke’s centre pieces showcased her passion for big brushwork and Japanese art. Photo: Louise Stanway/ Revelstoke Mountaineer.

The exhibitions contributed by the Golden Girls and The Fierce Art Project offer an array of different art styles from local artists. From watercolour paint to oil pastels, the rooms are lit with bold colour and diversity.

One noticeable piece by Peter Blackmore is being displayed on a mock artist easel, with an appearance as if the canvas is still drying.

Don’t worry if you couldn’t make it out to the opening night, you still have until Friday May 24, 2019, to head down to the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre and experience the artwork for yourself.

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