David Kaye Gallery » Tracey Lawko

TRACEY LAWKO is now represented by the Roberts Gallery in Toronto. (416) 924-8731 [http://www.robertsgallery.net]


Small Things Matter
October 18 - November 4, 2018


Small Things Matter

I’ve been fascinated by insects since I was a child…maybe it has something to do with being the daughter of an entomologist. In recent years, I have become increasingly aware of the changing patterns of the bees and butterflies in my garden and around my studio in the Niagara Escarpment. I was relieved to see several pairs of Monarchs flitting about this year. Five years ago there were none, while 10-12 years ago I remember seeing large groups of them. It seems to me that I used to see many more bumble bees too. As they move from flower to flower collecting pollen, they enable the continuation of our food crops and flowering plants. I am concerned about their declining populations due to habitat loss, pesticide use and disease. I have created this collection of nature studies to pay homage to our native pollinators and to draw attention to the importance of these small creatures to our survival.


Oh Canada!
July 6 - August 6, 2017


Oh Canada! is a celebration in maple leaves. I have recreated this iconic symbol in soft textile sculpture. The life-size leaves are individually stitched and nuanced representing the beautiful diversity of our land and people. No two leaves are the same, nor will they ever be.


Change Enables Growth
March 3 - 27, 2016


A textile art installation presenting the cycle of change (status quo, change event, loss, hope, growth and renewal) using trees as metaphor.


Glen Huron Stitches
November 14 - December 22, 2013


While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years.

William Wordsworth, Lines composed above Tintern Abbey, 1798

My densely stitched landscapes celebrate the calming pastoral scenes of rural Ontario. The scenes are views around my studio, located in the hills of the Niagara Escarpment near Creemore, Ontario. It is farm country. The fields grow hay, winter wheat and corn, and are home to herds of cattle and sheep. Hedgerows divide the farms and create a patchwork through the hills. I love the views in all directions, the long and the short, and in all seasons. When I look at these views, my lungs open and I breathe.

The hills, forests, and farms provide a sense of stability and yet they are constantly changing. They change with the seasons, time of day, weather and with the hand of mankind.

Wind is the constant on our Niagara Escarpment hill – through every season. On a cold, crisp winter day, a cool winter sun glows over the wind-carved snow. The pattern of light and shadow created by the sculpted ridges of snow leads us to appreciate the beauty of the rolling hills, even in a monochromatic winter palette.

Through the hedgerow at the edge of our property, we see the barn of a neighbouring farm. However, it is now just a memory. The farmer has retired and the new owner has demolished the barn. Our desires for local food is increasing as the producers of that food, the farmers, are disappearing.

Creating my stitched landscapes is like painting with a single-hair brush. I draw a cartoon outlining the major shapes and colour areas of a scene. I use the cartoon as a pattern to cut coloured pieces of fabric and assemble those onto a base for stitching. I then machine stitch over the fabric with 30-50 different colours of standard-weight sewing thread (hence the reference to a single-hair brush) using a longarm sewing machine for its full mobility for freemotion stitching. I layer stitches to create different textures for each element in the composition until the base fabrics essentially disappear and a rich tapestry of colour and texture result.

This time-consuming process is my way of appreciating, documenting, and honouring the world around me.