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8  June J. Jacobs

7  Dagmar Kovar

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5  Cynthia Jackson

4  Lorraine Roy

3  Christine Mockett

2  Amanda McCavour

1  Ulrikka Mokdad


Line Variation screenprint on cotton 50 x 10.5 2006



Blue lines pen on cotton 12.5 x 12 2011





Artist: Joy Walker, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Interview 84.

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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.



Joy Walker is an artist living and working in Toronto. Her work reflects her interest in pattern, repetition, geometry and the ephemeral using a variety of methods including printing, photography, drawing, stitching and cutting. Walker’s work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions and is included in private and public collections.. Walker is also a Professor of Fabric Science at George Brown College, a studio advisor at the Textile Studio at Harbourfront Centre and is the programmer of *QueenSpecific, a window gallery on Queen St West in Toronto.

Most recently Walker’s work was included in TIAF Toronto, Micah Lexier’s exhibition Things Exist at Birch Libralato, Toronto, Like Minded at The Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, and the NADA Art Fair, Miami. Walker is represented by MKG127 in Toronto. Joy's Website


Joy Walker in the studio with tape drawings.


Tell us about your work?

Right now, what’s really interesting to me is process - the series of actions that happen before the final work.  Most recently, I’ve been making pieces with tape directly on the wall of my studio, photographing them in different stages, removing them and starting over again.

When I’m not doing that, I make mostly screen-prints on paper and my subject tends to be line.

Aside from printing on paper, I use a variety of other methods like cutting, drawing, photography, and stitching.     


Black Scribble screenprint 26.5 x 31 2006


From where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes mostly from noticing common things in my daily life like colour and pattern on city streets and in nature, cast offs, signs, light and shadow on surfaces, architecture, fashion and music.  It also comes from happenstance.

As an example, the image on the invitation for my show “Chanced”, was a photograph I took of a piece of polka-dot paper that blew across my path just as I was discussing, with a couple of friends, some potential titles for the show.


Chanced Invite Image.


Tell us about your fibre artwork?

I don’t refer to my work as fibre artwork per se. I use any materials that are interesting to me and apply them to whatever it is I’m making.  However, as a former textile print designer, I tend to be interested in material exploration, grids, repetition, colour and pattern, all things that are essential for textile design.


32 inches of yarn pencil on paper 10 x 16 2012

Napkins screenprinted napkins 19.5 x 19.5 2007


What other mediums do you work in, and how does this inform your fibre work?

I work mostly with paper, either as support for printing and drawing or for sculptural works. I also use tape as a drawing tool, often, directly on the wall and out into space. 


Installation view Crush Open Studio_2011

Installation view detail of Tape masking tape 31in x 11in h x w 2011


What specific historic artists have influenced your work? 

There are so many, here is a very short list:


Tape triangle studio installation paper tape, 65 x 30 x 18

Tape rectangle 1 studio installation paper tape, 65 x 31 x 18


What specific contemporary artists have influenced your work?

There are so many but in keeping with the fibre art theme I would say the Gee’s Bend quilters from Alabama. Their quilts are guileless riffs on modern abstraction and minimalism. I’m bowled over by their improvisational aesthetic.  I was invited to attend a workshop in Toronto many years ago with some of the quilters from Gee’s Bend; it was a memorable (there was a lot of singing going on) and (loosely) instructive experience

I highly recommend picking up the monograph “Gee’s Bend, The Architecture of the Quilt” published by Tinwood Books.


Tape drawing 2 paper tape 8 x 7.5


What other fibre artists are you interested in?

Toronto based:



Line Variation screenprint on cotton 50 x 10.5 2006


What role do you think fibre art plays in contemporary art?

I think the role that fibre art plays in contemporary art is that of either reviving traditional practices such as stitching and weaving or in subverting those practices using the same techniques and materials. This is what I have observed as a studio advisor at Harbourfront’s textile studio over the past few years and I think it applies to most art forms.

Where I think fibre art differs from other forms of visual art is in how it tends to be used to express cultural history and heritage.


Red lines felt pen on paper 11.5 x 8.5


Tell us about your studio and how you work:

My studio is in a building in the Queen West area of Toronto. It’s private and quiet and has two rectangular skylights in the centre of the ceiling.  I love that I get to experience the physical overhead presence of the sky in the space, kind of like being in a James Turrell artwork.


My studio wall 2010

My studio wall 2011

Joy Walker in studio Feb 2011

Tape drawing on my studio wall March 2012


What bridges the works that you have created in differing media?

I think what connects the work is pattern and repetition.


Thread and steel pins- studio wall detail


When did you first discover your creative talents?

I was told by my mother, that when I was three years old, we were waiting in a pediatricians office with kids screaming and clamoring all over the place.  She said I sat quietly staring at the wallpaper, as if in a trance.  Apparently, I finally got out of my chair and pointed out where the pattern on the wallpaper started and where it ended.  I was showing her a “pattern repeat” at three years old; she said she almost fell out of her chair!  I guess it was no surprise to her when much later I decided to study surface design for textiles.



Fours screenprint 22 x 30 2008


When you were starting out, did you have a mentor?  How did your mentor help you with your artwork and in what ways did the mentor guide your art practice?

I guess it would have to be my uncle Peter, who was very interested in photography.   When I was a teenager, we would go out on weekends and shoot rolls of 35mm film and then develop the film in his darkroom.  I liked that he never tried to tell me what to shoot; he just gave me the basic instructions on how to use the camera and left me to choose my subject and composition. I learned through trial and error and many long hours in the darkroom.  We also shared a love of textiles. He was a clothing manufacturer, so we spent lots of time looking at new fabric swatches he was considering using for various items of clothing.


Prototype For Folded Box Series cut and folded paper


How did you start showing your work in galleries?

I approached galleries directly, bringing along slides, dropping off packages, etc.  Also, I had completed a 3-year artist residency in the textile studio at Harbourfront Centre.  During that time, we had opportunities to show our work in the various galleries in the York Quay Centre, often through a juried process, so that was helpful in terms of preparing submissions.


Blue lines pen on cotton 12.5 x 12 2011


What do you consider to be the main factors to a successful career as an artist?

A strong sense of self, a sense of humour, a community of artists that offer moral support and help with connecting you to gallery directors and curators.  It also really helps to have a partner in life who is also an artist and who understands the emotional turmoil of it all … thanks H!


Plaid felt pen and coloured pencil on paper 11.5 x 8.5


Where do you imagine your work in five years? 

I honestly don’t know. If anyone out there reading this has any ideas …


Untitled coloured pencil on paper 8.5 x 11.5 2012.


What interests you about the World of Threads Festival?

The dissemination of fibre-based artwork.


Blue and green pen on paper 11.5 x 8.5 2012

Lines in a circle felt pen on paper 22 x 30 2012



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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.