Fibre artist Alison Murphy finds design inspiration on the back roads of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. “It’s the landscapes I see,” she says. “I always have the camera with me and take lots of photos. I love farms and animals.”
Based in Hampton, N.B., Murphy studied textiles, design and drawing at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design in Fredericton. She prefers working with natural fibres like mohair, alpaca and silk, and hand-dyes much of the material herself. Wool is the basis for most of her wall hangings but she loves experimenting with other fibres, too. “One of my best friends is co-owner of Legacy Lane Fibre Mill in Sussex,” Murphy says. “They process fibre and she often has interesting fibres like bamboo or seacell [a fibre made from seaweed] that I can try.”
She also scouts for interesting fabric at second-hand shops. “I find the most hideous looking dresses and then cut them up for my pieces,” she says. “I like the combination of all the different fabrics, fibres, colours and textures. That’s where the fun is for me.” Murphy is currently working on a group exhibition, focusing on environmental issues, that will likely open next fall at the Saint John Arts Centre. “It will involve about 18 artists,” she says. “Working in a group pushes me to do things I wouldn’t do on my own.”
She’ll be working with plexiglass for her piece. “I want to look at the grey areas of environmental issues and the tough choices people have to make because they need money to sustain their families.” Murphy’s pieces are available at Handworks Gallery in Saint John, N.B.