Carrying Water

Bettina Matzkuhn

Cheakamus (2023) by Bettina MatzkuhnCraft Council of British Columbia

Carrying Water

Bettina Matzkuhn celebrates the water cycle and considers ways to protect it in this gallery exhibition presenting interactive fiber works that have outdoorsy, synthetic exteriors that open to embroidered landscapes. 

Check Out her Artist Talk & More by clicking HERE

Carrying Water exhibition installation, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Anyone who has stayed at a cabin without running water, who has to trek to a creek or lake with a gerrycan, knows how heavy water is to carry. One is much more careful when it needs fetching and schlepping. Water is not simply a “nice to have”. 

Atmosphere (2022) by Bettina MatzkuhnCraft Council of British Columbia

Atmosphere

Satellite feeds which I check daily show me the vast, sudsy cloud patterns that take up hemispheres.

Watermelon Snow, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2022, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Watermelon Snow, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2022, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Chlamydomonas Nivalis is a green algae that also contains a red pigment. It likes cold and you can often see streaks of it on snowfields. Pink is always a surprising colour in an often monochromatic world.

Creek (2023) by Bettina MatzkuhnCraft Council of British Columbia

Creek

Rushing water is said to cure headaches. The meltwater from glaciers hydrates everything downstream -too little or too much at once is a major headache.

Recently, I made large, interactive works that have outdoorsy, synthetic exteriors that open to embroidered landscapes. The vistas, while aesthetic, all contain symptoms of climate change. With these smaller versions I have considered the water cycle: from airborne water, to snow, and downhill to the sea. They are based on real places I have visited, all subject to seasonal, but also environmental changes. 

Gem, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2022, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Gem, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2022, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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High in the alpine, one sees small lakes that have the brilliant blue/green sparkle. When the glaciers disappear -and they are retreating at an alarming rate- this colour will no longer greet us. It comes from the particles ground up by glaciers that refract a certain light.

Carrying Water exhibition installation, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Cheakamus, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Cheakamus, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Cheakamus, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Cheakamus River valley bottoms are where most of the animals, including us, like to live. It’s where the trees grow biggest and the fish like to hang out in their shade.

Estuary (2023) by Bettina MatzkuhnCraft Council of British Columbia

Estuary

Carex and Zostera (sedges and eelgrass) settle interstitial places between fresh and salt water. They play an important role in erosion control, shelter birds, nurture herring.

I use synthetic fabrics, which do not biodegrade, but which humans use for comfort and practicality in the backcountry. The interiors are hand embroidered with assorted threads on linen, evoking place and surfaces. The exterior might be seen to protect the interior or trap it.

Carrying Water exhibition installation, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Early Melt (2021) by Bettina MatzkuhnCraft Council of British Columbia

Early Melt

In the mountains now, I never know if what I’m seeing is “normal” for average seasonal changes. 
From the series Gear.

Carrying Water exhibition installation, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Water, in a geopolitical frame, is a most precious resource. Many predict it will become a major source of conflict. With fluctuating weather patterns, the BC coast has experienced a shortage of water resulting in fires and droughts, and an excess leading to floods. I celebrate the water cycle and consider ways to protect it.

Nimbostratus, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Nimbostratus, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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A great dark sponge of a cloud that will snare everything in its wet, relentless tentacles.

Bog Dwellers (2023) by Bettina MatzkuhnCraft Council of British Columbia

Bog Dwellers

Labrador tea, blueberry bushes and bog azalea in late winter. Bogs are bigger carbon sinks than forests. Unfortunately, humans like to drain them.

Intertidal, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Intertidal, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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With global warming comes increased ocean acidity. Many marine systems are being damaged.

Carrying Water exhibition installation, Bettina Matzkuhn, 2023, From the collection of: Craft Council of British Columbia
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Bettina Matzkuhn explores themes of ecology, weather, and geography in her fibre work. Emphasizing hand embroidery, she values the versatile language of textiles. Matzkuhn holds a BFA and an MA from Simon Fraser University, and is the recipient of Canada Council and British Columbia Arts Council Grants. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, as well as internationally. Her work is found in national public collections such as the Surrey Art Gallery, Cambridge Art Galleries and the Weldon Map Library at Western University. She lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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