Textile Museum Profile: Kai Chan

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’ve had two solo exhibitions plus several group shows at the Textile Museum. I am a member of the museum and had been a volunteer there for over 10 years.

What do you do in your industry? 

I am a full-time artist. 

In your opinion, how can textiles tell stories? 

Each piece of textile tells a story of the maker. From the material chosen, method of construction, family background and education, as well as the gender of the maker, play a significant role in the subject of the work.

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

Allan Gardens. 

A number of the Textile Museum’s exhibitions showcase ancient creative techniques adapted for contemporary contexts. What do you think we can learn by engaging with art from the past in this way? 

Any technique started from the environment: the climate, the land, animals and plants, the society and people. We learn a lot about human life and history from those techniques.

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?

My daily life is inseparable from textiles: from the bed I woke up in to washing and getting dressed to cooking, eating and working.

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

Sheila Hicks, whose work inspired me to become a textile artist. At age 80, she created some of the most exciting work in the medium I have seen.

Visit the NOW Digital Residency: Textile Museum of Canada

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