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I am hand weaving a beaded cuff in the Urbanknits studio.

I have always been intrigued with knitting, weaving and braiding as methods by which to create fabric. As a youngster, my grandmother – a milliner by trade – taught me the basics of each traditional craft and instilled in me a love of working with my hands.

I began exploring the boundaries of these crafts over a decade ago when I started incorporating beads into my work. I am fascinated by the way in which seed beads can be combined with fibre to adorn the surface of knit, woven or braided fabric. This transformation of materials and techniques started me down the path of building shapes and forms that could be combined to create wearable objects: necklaces, earrings, bracelets and other accessories.

I gravitate to using natural fibres and materials; sourcing hand-dyed silks and soft merino yarns along with the finest glass beads and stones.  And I’m intrigued by the juxtaposition of a fibre’s texture and drapability with the dimensional aspects of beads. 

People are attracted to my work for a variety of reasons. Some are drawn to it for its uniqueness; providing a distinctive piece of wearable art that communicates individuality in an era of mass-market fashion. Others are drawn to it because of the high esteem and history of hand craft and beadwork in various cultures throughout the world. And still others respond to the quality and precision of the handiwork.

At its core, my work is all about taking various fibres and beads; connecting them with heritage crafts to create a contemporary wearable art form.  It is also about connecting across the generations of women who have passed on their knowledge of fine handicraft.

Jane Harvey

Urbanknits Canada

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