Artist Laurie Swim Sews up a Storm

Artist Laurie Swim Sews up a Storm
Laurie uses her work to depict everyday scenes like boats and a fish store where fishermen keep their gear.

In Laurie’s gallery in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, the walls are hung with odes to the ocean and the quaint, close-knit communities that have settled on its shores. To capture the essence of the seacoast that is her home, she employs fabrics. For the ocean that she’s known her entire life, she often works with silk, pulling stitches until they pucker to create gentle ripples. She paints the horizon to capture the different moods above the seascape. To depict the vegetation and seaweed, she has developed techniques that combine quilting, embroidery, painting, dyeing, and various other artistic/seamstress tricks. Townspeople drop off snippets of fabric with the hope that their scraps might find a role in one of her murals. She orders Dupioni silk online, Angelina fibers, and cobweb lace and dyes layers of cheesecloth to achieve just the right texture to match the terrain. Guiding her sewing machine, she deftly runs stitches through the fabric to create waves, sand, or grasses. Beads become periwinkle shells, and she stitches hidden images of angels in the sun-scorched rock faces.