Kate Bridger started creating art 30 years ago in Northern Ontario because she says there was nothing else to do in the winter. Three decades later the award-winning local fabric artist is selling her art to clients in locales as distant as Paris and Los Angeles.
“One went off to Paris recently, another went to California,” said Bridger.
“They go all over the place. It’s really nice.”
Bridger just opened an exhibit at the Nelson Library showcasing her work for the month of December. As a fabric artist she says it took a really long time to receive recognition.
“It’s taken a while to be accepted because this medium is not one that people are familiar with,” said Bridger, speaking to the Star at the Nelson Public Library.
“And certainly when I started 30 years ago I was denied entry to all the art shows and clubs because I wasn’t painting.”
That feeling of rejection led her to experiment with the subjects of traditional painters, and to portray landscapes, streetscapes, wildlife, and abstracts, within her own medium.
And though her career as an artist has involved having to constantly prove that she belonged in the room, Bridger says now that she has a reputation firmly developed as an artist here in Nelson people have become interested in her practice.
“People know what I do and its accepted, and what they generally like to say is — ‘oh it looks like a painting’ — and then they’re comfortable,” she said.
“I think people tend to be just not sure that it is an acceptable art form.”
And though her work requires a great deal of attention to detail from both the artist and the viewer, Bridger says her medium isn’t about making some kind of profound statement.
“I am not saying anything with my work. I simply am not,” said Bridger.
“I am capturing an image that I think is interesting and then seeing if I can make it work. I enjoy the process, and most of the time I enjoy the result.”
Bridger also teaches workshops around the West Kootenay.
She says that she had a fabulous turnout recently across the lake in Boswell, and that teaching reminds her that working with fabric is not something that is as intuitive to everyone as it is to her.
Bridger’s work has been exhibited at Touchstones in the gift shop for the last two years, and can be viewed there as well as at the Nelson Public Library until December 31.