I met Amanda in the fall of 2014 at a favourite coffee shop of mine in Inglewood where she worked at the time. We somehow got on the topic of hand-made things and she mentioned her husband worked for a Luthier (that’s another story). Years later, and I think through social media, I noticed Amanda dying all sorts of fabrics using various plant material. Intrigued, I contacted her and told her I had an idea for a portrait if she was interested. We met over coffee, I showed her what I had in mind drawing up a few rough sketches, and after, we were both quite excited to collaborate on this one.
As a young child, Amanda frequently visited her grandparents' farm on the outskirts of Abbotsford. Her grandparents' also owned a flower shop, were avid gardeners, and always surrounded by plants and nature. “I loved gardening from when I can first remember. My family and I have been doing it our whole lives and I’m always collecting what I find”. After high school, she knew she wanted to pursue a life as an artist and thought art school was the most reasonable choice to get there. “I went to ACAD (Alberta College of Art & Design) and hated it, went to Emily Carr and hated it less. I did love the fibre art classes and after graduating, unfortunately, I completely forgot about it all.”
After a couple of rough years of various jobs she hated, Amanda hit a breaking point where she couldn’t work for anyone but herself. She had a daughter named Maggie and one evening took an evening course on fibre. After the course, Amanda took her samples home and framed them and started making more adding extra elements and experimenting. “Maggie is the whole reason my work exists. She pushes me over the edge and forced me to pursue my craft and look after myself. Are you really helping your child if you don’t look after yourself first?”
She is now a full-time fibre artist using various types of materials; cotton, wool, silk and incorporates her own environmentally conscious processes. “Most are from my own backyard such as rose leaves. I also collect wild roses, moss, oak leaves, beats, marigolds, canola, and mushrooms. I need to be very cognizant of over picking. I do a lot of research before so as not to pick endangered or poisonous species.” She goes onto explain the process which is quite labour intensive and can take weeks from the foraging to a finished final piece.
When I ask Amanda about her goals she replies with this, “I dream of having my own solo exhibition in a commercial gallery and showing more at well-known markets and festivals”... “My husband and I are into old world traditions and using our hands and environment to sustain ourselves. The goal is to be simple, we are interested in living in a tiny house and are more conscious of having a simple life. We don’t need a million things, less shit, and connecting my work with my husbands some day. We like learning about old trades and we love to support local everything.”
To see a large variety of Amanda's work, visit her on Instagram
You can also visit her website: roseandoakdesign.ca