Arts & Culture

City of Kitchener announces 2016 artist-in-residence

Kitchener – A large life-size “tree troll” marionette, for which community members and students will create thousands of leaves using wool, will be one of the collaborative projects undertaken by Kitchener’s 2016 artist-in-residence, Sarah Granskou for her yearlong project titled, “Our Fibers, Our Forest: adventures in felting and song.”

“Artists-in-residence have a knack for identifying, articulating, and reflecting the things about our community that make it what it is—that make it an interesting and compelling place,” states Emily Robson, Coordinator, Arts and Culture, City of Kitchener. “By engaging the community in the project, we hope that people might learn something new about themselves, their community and this city.”

To inspire her works with wool, community members will be making observations in Kitchener’s natural areas and contributing with their own hands. The community will help prepare the materials for the marionette, other felted puppets and pieces of clothing, created using wet-felting and needle-felting techniques. The items will be used in an interactive performance, while also standing alone as works in an exhibition.

“Though I have an established career as a storyteller, oral poet, and folk musician, this residency strengthens the other aspects of my multi-arts professional practice as a puppeteer, fibre artist and composer,” said Granskou. “My goal with this residency is to accessibly engage as many community members as possible in the creative process and in observing and learning about our natural environment in an active way.”

Granskou’s project will include planting and tending natural dye plants, dyeing and preparing wool for felting, and creating works of art with community assistance for performances and exhibition’s throughout the year. A musical composition and songs with lyrics will also be created as a complementary piece with local musicians

The artist-in-residence program showcases the value of arts and culture for the community, “research and experience tells us that people want to live in a place that is bubbling with interesting and authentic cultural experiences,” explains Robson. “An interesting and engaging place to live is very important for the economic growth of our community.”

Granskou has an established career as a performance artist, integrating verse, song, Norwegian folk instruments and puppetry in a fluid narrative. She began creating puppets during her artist-in-residency at the Joseph Schneider Haus in 2013 to illuminate her stories, leading her on a path to upcycling, carving and finally felting. Since then, she has walked this path with dedication, teaching puppetry in the schools and community.

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