Lou Anne Sybenga’s fabric and rug hooking art usually leans toward the whimsical – a friend’s home complete with sports cars and neighbourhood churches, people with wide eyes and slightly crooked smiles. “I lean toward the cartoonish,” says Sybenga as she worked with the Victoria Hall Arts Committee to hang her latest works for display throughout August.
But there is also some nostalgia among the bright landscapes and intricate patterns. Her show, Suit and Tie Dye, is in part a reflection of her parents.
Sybenga has always loved ties. She attributes that to her father, who as a minister was constantly wearing one.
“He liked to dress nicely – I’m not sure if it translated trustworthiness or what,” she says. “Most of the time, even if there was a sweater, there was a tie.”
Sybenga’s mom chose those ties and they were a reflection of his personality – geometric patterns for formal occasions and paisleys for more casual events, like speaking at youth rallies.
“I love paisley because it reminds me of my dad,” she adds.
Friends have been giving her ties to use in her fabric art and many of the pieces in this show use them.
Sybenga will take a tie with a pattern, paint it and apply it to fabric.
In one piece, she uses material which reminds her of camouflage, placed a tie pattern on it and stitched a lapel and poppy, complete with pin, on it.
It reminds her of a veteran “standing at the cenotaph with the poppy and listening to the speeches and the combat is behind him.”
You can also find influences of Sybenga’s mother – big puff bunches of rug hooked flowers which burst out from the frame.
In the 70s, when Sybenga was working with tie dye, her mother was creating artificial flowers. The pastel rug hooked flowers are a reminder of that.
“In the past everything was very vibrant to us, very emotional, there are still the same colours even though it’s kind of pastelly now… kind of washed out not as vibrant…we’re just looking at things in a different way.”
And Sybenga says she hopes visitors will find their own meaning in her pieces.
“I want to learn to let other people decide what they think of my work.”
Sybenga’s work is hanging in the council chambers at Victoria Hall. An opening will be held Aug. 13 from 5 to 7 pm.