The spring launch of our first ever textile collaboration is just around the corner and we couldn't be more excited. We have teamed up with Canadian artist Rita St. Amant to bring you the ultimate luxury in dancewear, a curated selection of dance inspired silk scarves and canvas totes. Each piece featuring St. Amant's original artwork.
Born and raised in southern Saskatchewan, Rita St. Amant is a self-taught, grassroots artist whose surroundings are often reﬂected in her works. Drawing inspiration from prairie skies and landscapes her pieces reflect a wide range of unique colours and textures. We had the pleasure of being able to sit down with Rita and discuss her art career, her creative process and the inspiration behind the Silhouettes Collection.
You work predominantly with fabric and textile. Is there a particular reason you choose this medium rather than paper or canvas?
I have always loved painting and drawing since I was young. When I transitioned into textiles I found it more challenging. Sometimes the process can be frustrating, but I love learning new things and challenging myself. I also really love the movement that a fabric can give your art. It is hard to replicate that movement on paper or canvas. It adds a totally new dimension to your work.
Normally you draw inspiration from nature, how did you find having to create pieces from the movement of dance rather than landscape?
When I was younger I used to draw a lot of forms, bodies and images of people. It has been awhile since I've created a collection not using nature for inspiration. Nature has so much movement within it, but it is a different kind of form and movement. When you are creating images from the body you have to view it differently, the muscles and movement of the body can be very similar to the movement of trees and water but it is a touch harder to capture for me. It's more complex. You have to pay close attention to structure and muscle tone and the structure of the human form. It is less forgiving, than drawing landscapes for example.
How do you create the pieces?
I have a variety of techniques that I use depending on the piece I am creating. The dyes use the heat from the sun to help the color set. I sometimes use external heat sources as well during the process, but mostly the sun. Depending on how the dye sets, I create a design or add more color and embellishments. Sometimes I add different colored threading or applique to give the illusion of paint or brush strokes.
At Rhythm we think jewellery is more than just jewellery. It can tell a story, convey a feeling or remind us of a time or place. What do you feel this collection of conveys?
Art comes in many forms, whether it is painting or moving your body across a studio floor. I like to think of this collection as honoring the inner artist, no matter what that looks like. Whether you are a dancer or just appreciate art. Conceptually we designed some of the pieces to have very abstract images on them so they become less about the genre of style of dance and more about the beauty of creative movement.
For all the years that you have been an artist do you have a favourite piece you have created?
Years ago I made a large wall hanging out of textiles using thread and applique for the detailing. It was a walking path surrounded with a lot of trees and shrubs. It always reminded me of the time I spent in the Canadian Shield camping and going on canoe trips.
I also created a larger than life stallion out of needle felting. He was a large
commitment that took me a couple years, on and off, to complete. After that much time with one piece you tend to get a little attached.
This collection has also been special because I collaborated on it with my daughter. I am used to working on my own, so it was really special to create something together.
And lastly what is the most meaningful piece of jewelry you own?
I would have to say my wedding band, not only because its gorgeous, but for what it represents. It is also extra special because, my daughter made it. I also have a silver St. Christopher pendant and cross that I wear everyday. My husband is an avid coin hunter and found them both on one of his hunts years ago. There is no telling what the story is behind them, we only know that they are very old. I wear them everyday.
If you would like to see more of Rita St. Amant's work click the links below.
Rita St. Amant website