Prairie fibre artist inspired by bond between nature and animals
All it took was a border collie and five sheep for Arlette Seib to embark on a great adventure!
Arlette and her husband Allen were born and raised Saskatchewan farm kids, but eventually moved to the big city of Saskatoon to pursue careers.
The “simple” country life was always calling them back to their roots and over a decade ago, they purchased a farm near Allan.
That is where their story begins.
After buying the Dog Tale Ranch, Arlette and Allen bought their border collie and a few sheep to herd. Those five sheep quickly expanded to a flock of 1,000.
All of a sudden that lone border collie needed a little help to get the job done and a couple Australian Kelpies and guardian dogs were added to the pack (and for the record, there is no way of sneaking up on those guardian dogs … they are huge and they aren’t messing around).
It was during these quiet herding moments Arlette noticed something special, a unique relationship between dog and sheep, and an unbreakable bond between herself, the animals and the Prairies.
So she began taking pictures which turned in to pencil drawings, showcasing these tender moments.
It wasn’t until she started sheering her sheep and a little Googling on the Internet that Arlette stumbled upon the idea of making art from her very own sheep!
Transforming the wool collected from her sheep, Arlette creates beautiful portraits depicting her farm life through a style of art called fibre art.
It’s a process that takes years to perfect and to complete one piece takes weeks. It can also be hard on the hands but also soothing and rhythmical.
She wets and soaps the wool, then rubs the wool until it binds and makes a canvas. She then takes a special needle to attach layers of wool across the canvas to create the images.
Arlette carefully adds more and more layers to create her signature 3D images, images you can only find on her Saskatchewan farm.
Fibre art isn’t a new process, its history dates back to work done by artist-craftsman following the Second World War.
This form of art really picked up steam in the 1950s, with an increase in the numbers of “weavers” binding fibers into nonfunctional forms as works of art. Today, fibre art is showcased across the world and is being embraced as a fine art that continues to reinvent itself.
For Arlette, sharing her love of her animals and the beauty of the Prairies is what inspires her to make her pieces and says the idea that people want to purchase her pieces is something she is still trying to get used to.
He work was recently showcased at the Gallery on 3rd in Watrous, Sask., where she was the artist in residence for the month of August.
To see more of Arlette’s work or learn more about fibre art check out her blog: Ranching with Sheep
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