Textile Museum Profile: Hannah Epstein

NOW Digital Residency: Textile Museum of Canada

As part of this month’s Textile Museum of Canada Digital Residency, we’re profiling a number of artists and professionals associated with the museum and wider community. See all of the profiles here.

What’s your connection to the Textile Museum? 

I’m one of the recipients of the Melissa Levin Emerging Artist award. I also have a few pieces in their 150 years of rug hooking show. 

What do you do in your industry? 

I am an artist and I use rug hooking as one of my mediums. 

In your opinion, how can textiles tell stories? 

I think of textiles as comics with texture. So in the same way that comics can relate a story through image and text, textiles do the same. The addition of texture is just another storytelling mechanism. 

What’s your favourite place in Toronto to do some creative thinking?

Chinatown/Kensington Market.

One of the Textile Museum’s recent exhibitions featured the works of Itchiku Kubota, whose artistic career focused intensely on the kimono. What do you think we can learn from this kind of creative dedication?

People who don’t make textiles have a difficult time comprehending the immense amount of labour and focus they require. I think appreciating this work requires a visit with the intent of focusing on every thread and trying to imagine the long journey it has taken to find shape in something so large and complex and beautiful. 

So much of our attention is drawn to the digital and virtual possibilities of art. Can you explain what role textiles play in your day-to-day life?

I approach my work with the intent of blending the tactile and the digital. I don’t think of digital art and textiles in opposing categories. I see them on a spectrum that overlaps as it stretches apart. The human machine and the digital machine, we are all sharing in something that uses patterns and code and achieves communication. 

Name one artist of any discipline and any era who never ceases to inspire you.

I never fan-girl out about other artists. Except … no. 

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