Artist Annual Residency Updates

We are thrilled to announce that Catherine Shapiro will be our artist in residence this year at MOP. As a long standing gardener with vast experience in growing for her own art production, Catherine was a mentoring artist for  one of last years resident artists- Gloria Tsui.

Catherine (left) and Gloria, a friendship  forged while working over a dye pot…

Together, they took on unraveling the secrets and nuances to  indigo growing and dying. This year Catherine is taking the lead at MOP with assistance from Gloria, to continue   the research. Here is a bit of what Catherine  told us in her application for the garden  residency.

“In 1985 I started making paper and have spent the ensuing years exploring paper-related arts, crafts and history. Simultaneously I pursued my interest in plants and gardens by working as head gardener at City Farmers Demonstration Garden as well as developing a large garden of my own… In the last ten years I have been involved with my neighbors in what we call the Two Block diet. The idea was to help each other with our gardens to make this neighbourhood grow more food. We are still supporting each other in this. As I have a lot of gardening experience I have given workshops as well as casually answering peoples questions about their gardening problems. This neighbourhood thrives on our mutual commitment to making a more sustainable community.

Plants and botanical information have always been a part of my imagery and in 1980’s I started to research the origins of agriculture resulting in two projects. The first one was entitled Fibre Traces and was shown at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in 2000. The second project is entitled Amaranth: Ceremony and Taboo, part of which was shown, at the Richmond Art Gallery in January of 2004… The indigo project, last summer, involved growing two plots of indigo and learning the processes necessary to make a variety of dye vats and actually dyeing fiber. After giving two workshops in Shibori we were keen to learn more techniques for printing and painting with indigo. Gloria and I are continuing to meet throughout this winter carry on our experiments with indigo to eventually gain some expertise to do future projects.”

indigo painted on silk
Winter blooming Witch-hazel, painting on silk using indigo paint by Catherine Shapiro

Please join us in welcoming Catherine to the garden!

And… a follow up for our 2015 residency- Sarah Eby has done a wonderfully detailed final post under the artists residency page, sharing her research into woad dyes, natural tannins and the resulting community eco-quilt- check it out under 2015 here! We  were sad to see Sarah move back to Ontario at the end of 2015 but look forward to hearing more about the new projects she takes on with MOP  experience under her belt.


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