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Fran Solar has been a weaver for many years, specializing in functional clothing and textiles
using traditional fibers and techniques. In the mid 1990’s she began to experiment with
basketry as another textile art form. After taking workshops at Basket Focus Conferences in
Toronto, Ottawa, and the Okanagan she developed an interest in using metals - ie copper, brass, stainless steel, wire and interesting bits and pieces from scrap yards, hardware stores and Boeing Surplus. — to create unique woven sculpture, both free standing and well mounted.
She now finds she has more fun improvising arrangements of shapes, textures, materials and colours than she did as a traditional fiber artist. However she still uses the same loom based textile techniques developed from earlier years to weave these new sculptural forms.
She is very involved in the arts community in Squamish; is a member of Visuals and served on
The committee organizing Artwalk Studio and Gallery Tour, presented by Visuals in
She has been a traditional weaver & textile artist for many years, and applying the same techniques & ideas to industrial materials is a natural progression of her work. She began working with copper as its warm color has always attracted her. Copper wire is easily available in many colors, and just like traditional fibers it is flexible,can be manipulated, patinated etc. She now has more freedom to design & improvise on the loom as she weaves & the resulting wire cloth can be shaped into a sculptural form that has no real function other than being something beautiful with wonderful colors, and textures .She names them ‘vessels’ rather than ‘baskets’ as the latter word implies a function.
The wall mounted ‘Scrapyard Quilts” are created with squares of stainless steel mesh,onto which are stitched woven copper elements , bike cogs, washers,and other metals. The strong geometry of traditional textile quilts has always interested her. The basic block pattern in the quilts by itself is not too interesting but when many are assembled,subtle shifts in color, alignment,& pattern occur and a bigger more complex modular design emerges after the mesh squares are linked together. She doesn’t know how to weld or solder, so all the fastenings are textile based.
Fran is mostly self taught as a weaver, but her B of Interior Design , U of Manitoba gave her an excellent training in color and design. In 1995, ’97 &’ 99 she attended Basket Focus Conferences in Toronto & the Okanagan, taking workshops with John Garrett, Dorothy Gill Barnes, Arline Fisch, all of whom set her off in exciting new directions.