Shaunalee Yates

Shaunalee Yates started whipping the doilies off tables and fashioning doll clothes at about five years old, continuing into sewing at an early age and creating clothing for herself, her sister and her mother.  But the real locked in connection to fibre was a trip to Guatemala in her twenties and the opportunity to work with indigenous women weaving on back strap looms.  Upon returning from travelling she sought out teachers, and studied at Uof M (fine arts), Banff School of Art, Maiwa in Vancouver, Lilly Bohlin’s studio in Victoria.    She has exhibited and sold from Circle Craft, and numerous galleries and craft festivals over the years.  She weaves on a large but simple 120 year old Swedish loom.  She describes her weaving as “deconstructed”in so far as the weave is as simple and open in order to display the beauty of the individual threads and yet maintains the structural integrity to hold together and create a functional garment.  She is passionate about fibre, the colour, the textures and possibilities.  In later years she has included Nuno felting on silk as it provides a more “painterly” option, involving working unspun merino tops into silk chiffon, and finds that it is a very satisfying and tactile way to work with the materials.
For some years she had a business East meets West and created one of a kind kimonos, that were her own design involving a traditional Japanese kimono pattern overlaid with an iconic cowboy shirt design and fully lined with flannel for our West Coast winters.
The Sow’s Ear and the Silk Purse comes from her grandmother who was known to say, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!”, and yet that is what Shaunalee has been attempting to do all her life, with old furniture, painted upon and revisioned, and now with Altered Couture, revisioning, recombining, embellishing and the bottom line,  keeping garments out of the fast fashion landfill.  She has always been somewhat driven by the combination of aesthetics and function as then everyday items that are being used, worn, handled, fulfill the very necessary need for beauty in our lives.

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  1. Hello to Shaunalee from Sally . We met 40 years ago , at the Edgewood Fair I think it was ? I bought a beautiful peacock coloured shawl from you . I lived I PR and hung out with Dolores when I could . Dolores and I have reconnected , and I would love to reconnect with you . I am so excited to be a part of this studio collection and to be back here on the Riviera !

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