Walls That Talk
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“Batik has become an endlessly creative challenge for me and I love to push myself, seeing how far I can take it!”
KIRSTEN T.O. SHEFFIELD is a Vancouver-born artist who manipulates wax and dye, merging realism and the fluid nature of water in painted batik. The curious medium intrigues and draws patrons to her varied subject matter which includes Westcoast landscapes, internationally inspired cultural and architectural themes, as well as local botanical images. Her unique, resist-based technique produces organic paintings particularly suited to the interplay of light and shadow, smooth gradations of colour and reflections on water. Her richly-hued paintings are heavily influenced by extensive travel and shaped by her background as an oil painter and photographer.
With a degree in Art History from the University of Victoria and a circuitous commercial art career ranging from technical drawing for scientific and medical journals to illustrating for Harper Collins, the Canadian Military History Journal and Paradigm Motion Pictures, Kirsten left her successful mural company, Walls That Talk murals in 2012 and delved into the world of Batik. Settled into what has become her niche within the art world, as a painted batik artist she joins a handful of artists who have embraced this ancient art form, adapting it to uniquely express themselves.
Kirsten uses a non-conventional batik method. Painting on cotton, the traditional method, allows for somewhat more control compared to the more commonly painted silk. The process where wax is heated and applied as a resist to fabric in stages, intermittent with dyes, remains the same. The truly artistic aspect of her work involves control of the dye when it touches the fabric, spreading in varying degrees dependent on how wet she allows the fabric to become. The wax, as usual, creates a boundary where the dye cannot enter. When a piece is finished, the wax is removed and the colours emerge as if they are wet.
Kirsten is an Active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and is represented by the Abbotsford Art Gallery. In 2015 she was juried into the international POTE exhibition, held at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island in Vancouver. Her most enthusiastic patronage stems from the highly acclaimed and juried Sidney Fine Arts Show, held each year in Sidney, BC, with a piece receiving the Major Award: Colin Graham Award for Innovation, as well as the People’s Choice Award for 2015. In July of 2016 Sidney’s Tulista Park Gallery housed a very successful exhibition of her international inspired work and in 2017 she was once again honoured with the People’s Choice Award at the SFAS. One of her batiks was runner up to the award at the SFAS 2018. This summer, 2019, a solo show entitled Travels Through Batik is scheduled for August at the Artsea Gallery in Sidney, BC.
Having grown up in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, Kirsten currently lives in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia; they are working towards a move to Salt Spring Island in the near future! Her work can be found across Canada, in Britain and New Zealand and at http://www.wallsthattalk.ca.