The New Brunswick Museum and the Saint John Arts Centre are pleased to announce that Saint John fiber artist Emily McCumber, a graduate of the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, is the recipient of 2016’s Professional Visual Artists’ Fund grant.
Ms. McCumber will be using this money to attend a lace-weaving course being taught by Master Weaver Laura Fry of BC, at the Gaelic College in Cape Breton.
After completing a business degree and working for a few years, I knew I needed to find a career that married my analytical and logical brain with my creative side. I enjoy symmetry and geometric shapes. Weaving seemed the perfect fit since it tends to be made up of straight lines intersecting over and under other straight lines. These lines can be organized in such a way to create incredibly beautiful and complex cloth. I’m constantly analyzing fabric and attempting to figure out how the cloth I see every day has been made – from the fabric on a couch to the material of a dress to the carpet on the floor.
Weaving is my passion. I enjoy designing my own patterns and watching a complex structure come to life. At the same time, I can see such beauty in the plainest of fabrics. Weaving is also meditative. My mind will occasionally wander while my feet and hands work. I use natural fibres such as wool, silk, cotton and linen. Each fibre has different properties and knowing when to use one over another is something learned over time.
Since finishing school, I am constantly on the hunt for continuing education. Learning from a variety of people is paramount to becoming a master at anything. While I have a long way to travel before mastering weaving, I have had the privilege of working with some very experienced weavers and am so inspired by them to continue to learn and try new techniques.
Emily McCumber grew up in a country setting along the St John River. As a child, she enjoyed working with her hands, learning to knit and crochet at a young age. She could often be found helping her dad wiring lights, shingling the barn or baking with her mom. After university, she was eager to begin a career, but had always been intrigued by the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design and had a feeling that was something she should have considered. Fast forward a few years and Emily was sitting in front of a computer for 8+ hours per day – not feeling very accomplished, which lead her to quit her job and enroll at NBCCD.
Emily jumped feet first in to the Fibre Arts program. Her first weaving class was split into three sections. The class was divided and she had to do weaving last. She was anxious to start but had to watch from afar. Weaving her first scarf affirmed that she had made the right choice.
Since finishing school, Emily has completed an apprenticeship with Christine Stanley, a weaver in PEI. She currently works for Elizabeth Miller, a prominent local weaver, dyer, spinner and knitter. In the future she hopes to be able to broaden her skillset by traveling abroad to explore historical and traditional techniques specific to the regions of Great Britain and Scandinavia.
In a world where everything is so fast-paced and results are expected instantly, Emily is happy to be able to say she wakes up every morning and gets to work at something she loves.
Triangles – A Tapestry Woven Rug
Dimensions: 52”x 60”
Material: Cotton and Wool
Sales Price: $1000