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Meet Candice Brokenshire Buchan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Candice Brokenshire Buchan.

Hi Candice, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Thank you for letting me share. At an early age, I was drawn to life in theater – I earned an appreciation and a jack-of-all-trades sensibility for the many artistic skills involved in live production, each component having its place in telling a larger story. Building on that foundation, I moved to a career in experiential design – I was part of a team who conceived experience narratives and staged them around the world for various industries, including automotive. And at one point that entailed being on assignment in a Detroit automaker’s concept design studio.

The creative journey from theater to corporate design and communication enabled further exposure to different mediums of storytelling, and I immersed myself in additional training; architectural design, color theory, textiles, and material sustainability. Today, I can usually be found in my Laguna Canyon studio creating art and functional objects with wool – felting, spinning and dyeing it naturally with plants and extracts.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I gave myself a long runway to become a self sustaining artist and maker, thinking of it as a third career chapter. On more practical terms, it’s taken a while to build a sustainable infrastructure for everything I do – it takes up a lot of space! There was a period of time where I was doing different parts of my work in different areas of our house – dyeing and washing raw fleece on the patio, felting large pieces of work in a second bedroom and storing my materials anywhere I could. I yearned for a large sink where I could more easily rinse dyed products or heavy wool. And my husband, while endlessly patient, was pretty keen to get the odor of pre-cleaned sheep fleece out of the house. When a local studio space became available, which is very very rare in a town full of artists, I jumped at the chance to put everything in one place and get that more ergonomic dye kitchen as part of it.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I make art from wool that I felt. That can take many forms from small nest like objects, to large highly textured felt panels that can also help with acoustic issues in homes and public spaces.

Inspiration comes from many places. Last year I developed a body of work, ‘Journeys That I’ll Never Take’ – a series of fiber terrains that challenged perceptions that I have, and discovered others share, about our physical and psychological boundaries.

New work is not surprisingly reflecting the relentlessness of the pandemic – my mind and hands have turned to consider entities that invade. Including the ones that can sometimes seem inconsequential, yet they slowly shape our days and take a grip on our lives. Somewhat related to that, I’ve also been exploring compositions around ‘when we yield.’

I’m also currently showing work at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach – that work represents more whimsical pieces that happen in the pauses.

What makes you happy?
Making color from natural materials makes me happy (it can also be very frustrating as mother nature has her own ideas during the natural dyeing process). And the look on people’s faces when they see me spinning wool, especially children who’ve never seen yarn being made, or been told much about the sheep shearing process. Adults often share that their Aunts or Grandmothers used to spin wool, it’s nostalgic for them. And because I like to source wool from smaller farmers and wool producers, I can often tell buyers the name of the sheep whose wool is in their new art piece – they get a kick out of that.

My practice also has a pretty significant educational element. While I don’t make a lot of wool clothes, I rarely pass up an opportunity to share the global issues that we have around fast fashion and synthetic dyes and materials. My use of natural materials enables that dialogue, and I hope that everyone becomes positively impacted by the wondrous qualities of wool.

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Nancy Villere @villeredesign Mary Hurlbut @Lagunabeachphotographer

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