For Immediate Release / June 30, 2023
Master Spinner, Elana, Weaves Art Forms Together
“I like to explore different things,” Elana says. “It's almost confining if I'm just doing the same thing again and again and again and again.”
Her art certainly bears that statement out. Her style is hard to pin down: Elana uses ink, paint, yarn, weaving and yarn, among other elements in her works, sometimes putting them together within the same piece. Testing and exploring those pairings seem to be part of her inspiration, on her way asking bigger questions with her art.
“In a lot of ways, my work could be classified as experimental,” she explains. “I'm always exploring new directions, new media, combining different things together and experimenting with how those mediums work—and how they work together, or not.”
Her interest in art began young. Her father was in the armed forces, and while living on the Lancaster Park base, her mother took a community art class. Elana would tag along, and even though she was a little young for the official programming, those running the class still stoked her creative spark.
“They would give me assignments every week,” she recalls. “The one who ran the club, she helped mentor me, gave me assignments and all kinds of different drawings.”
Even early in her career, Elana found herself drawn to the art forms less chosen: When oil painting was popular, for example, she devoted herself to working in watercolours.
“I've always been one to pick art forms that other people aren't doing because I just like to do the different thing,” she says.
That almost-scientific approach to artistic creation—well what if I try this?—has served Elana well, and led to her constantly expanding her skillset. After years of drawing and painting, she took a few handspinning classes and learned how to make yarn, ultimately graduating from in the master spinner program at Olds College.
“How much can there be to learn about making yarn outta stuff? You'd be surprised,” she says. “Even I'm still surprised, and I've only really learned to touch the surface of so many different practices, and so many different fibers that you can use to spin things.”
Elana now teaches spinning, too. She’s also a longtime member of Night of Artists, who professionally showcase works at different events each year.
Her ongoing curiosity with pushing her skillset doesn’t look to be satisfied anytime soon. Elana points to a current undertaking: felted vessels that she’s creating, as much for what she’ll learn as for the end results might be.
“What I like to do when I experiment is explore where I can find the limits of the medium to be,” she says. “Then I really understand how the medium works and, and how it behaves in different circumstances. … kind of the way a scientist will go kind of very methodically through different things. I kind of wanna do that and document it all, just to do some learning and playing. And hopefully out of that, I'll get some ideas for some bigger pieces that I can make with the things that I've learned.”
Article written by: Paul Blinov
To learn more about Elana's work, follow her on Instagram @i.trillian.
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Last edited: July 6, 2023