Artist-in-Residence: Mel McMichael

Mel McMichael is a textile artist based in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Born on Prince Edward Island, her Atlantic Canadian upbringing is a creative pillar to her practice, often drawing from East Coast landscapes as sources of inspiration. In 2016, she graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Art (English and Theater) and a Bachelor in Science (Psychology), and has since moved on to her current area of study as a textile arts student at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.

During her residency, Mel is developing a project titled; Use ‘em While You Still Got ‘em, by using textiles as sublimation of her anxious relationship towards genetic disorders. Her grandmother, an influential figure in the earliest stages of her artistic practice, lived with Huntington’s Disease, a genetic disorder that affects the brain and nervous system. Mel’s first significant knitting project, a patchwork garter stitch blanket, and numerous later projects, were made with her grandmother in mind, up until her death, as a way to help her feel more comfortable at a special care home where she resided, after the disease had progressed.

In connecting memories of her grandmother to the action of knitting, Use ’em While You Still Got ’em, explores ideas of emotional tactility, by translating personal experiences to overarching themes of fragility and the urgency to create. Shaping it into an interactive textile installation, the artist further questions the piece’s own ability to endure, its fibers also being vulnerable to deterioration, and openly invites participants to observe and partake in a process of impermanence.

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A guided visualization artist talk with Mel McMichael will be held on Thursday, August 10, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Mel will be hosting mind-body exercises pertaining to the themes of her project by simulating images associated with memory and touch. The guided imagery intervention will be followed by a casual discussion, with refreshments and cake. Learn more.

Mel McMichael is participating in Limited Time Offer, a pop-up exhibition working outside of traditional exhibition strategies by activating Connexion’s current shared workspace into a temporary gallery. Projects will be installed for 72 hours only, showcasing artistic production completed by artists-in-residence over the months of July and August, on view from August 25 – 27.

This project is presented with the support of Sixty-Five York Creative Studio and shiftwork collective.