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Catherine Blackburn
Artist

Leask, SK
December 06, 2017

Catherine Blackburn was born in Ile a la Crosse, Saskatchewan, of Dene and European ancestry and is a member of the English River First Nation. She grew up in the small rural town of Choiceland, Saskatchewan, and holds a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan. She is a bead artist, painter, and jeweller who addresses Canada's colonial past through personal narratives. Her art merges contemporary concepts with elements of traditional Dene culture to create a dialogue between Indigenous art forms and new interpretations of them. Her exhibition history include Beadspeak at Slate Fine Art Gallery in Regina, Worlds on a String: Beads, Journeys, Inspirations at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto, and the 2017 Bonavista Biennale. Her solo exhibition Tell Me the Truth is on view until January 3 at the Dunlop Art Gallery (Sherwood Branch) in Regina.

1. Perler beads



The small plastic beads you form into designs and melt with an iron. I have been buying copious amounts for a new project currently in the preliminary stages. I feel I was overzealous in my goals and am currently finding this project overwhelmingly daunting and difficult. However, I love a good challenge!

2. Assemblage/collage art

I have been interested in assemblage work or work that involves collaging as of late. Actually, I always have, I guess. I am just studying it more lately, and more so the process of it. I find that painting and beading is quite therapeutic for me, in that the process itself is repetitive. I am also very much a perfectionist and tend to aim to create for outcome. I have really been enjoying the act of cutting, placing, pinning, sewing, and reusing found objects (which also satiates my need to buy second-hand knickknacks)

3. Dateline NBC

After a long day of art making, I like to relax and watch a solid murder mystery episode or two with a glass of Malbec in hand.

4. Beads



CANNOT have enough of these. My current bead obsessions: 24K gold-plated Charlotte cut and vintage Italian seed beads. Will they all ever be used? Probably not. Am I concerned about this? Clearly not. The sparkling, vibrant colors are so beautiful and instantly remind me of everything Indigenous: their beauty, the richness, the relation to history and culture. Never mind quillwork. WOW. I grew up watching my grandmother make outstandingly beautiful moosehide garments with intricate beadwork patterns. I can truly appreciate this now, as I have dedicated my work to this medium for the last five years. Beadwork is painstakingly tedious, but I love it. It leaves scars and toughens your skin. Its survival within Indigenous culture is a testimony to our people’s strength and resilience.

5. Tito



My rescue Chihuahua. He is my son and I am not ashamed of admitting this. Strangers usually dislike him, which I understand; he possesses the typical yappy-psycho Chihuahua characteristics. HOWEVER, in the comfort of our own home he is the most loving, quiet, and loyal dog.

 

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