Kirtley Jarvis was born in Balmertown, a small mining town in Northern Ontario, and moved to London, Ontario, as a teenager.
While Jarvis has training from the H.B. Beal Secondary School’s adult art program, the Sheridan School of Design, and the Ontario College of Art and Design, she is simultaneously self-taught in many respects, learning from those she meets who have something to teach.
Jarvis is well-known as a textile artist, her work often involving embroidery and quilts.
In the early 1990s she began incorporating couching into her work, a technique which simulates handwriting using lines of thread locked in place with tiny stiches.
Jarvis’ other works include large installations, and she often works in mixed-media, including stone, wire, and wood.
Jarvis has won awards for her work such as the Award of Excellence, Ontario Crafts (1979), and the Juror’s award at Fibreworks, Cambridge Libraries and Galleries (2001).
Biography by Luvneet K. Rana
Museum London. “Captain Scott: Last Words.” Accessed Apr.1, 2018.
Cambridge Art Gallery, Idea Exchange. “Kirtley Jarvis.” Accessed Apr.1, 2018. https://ideaexchange.org/art/person/kirtley-jarvis.
However you want to define it, there is a hierarchy of success in any endeavour and also a surfeit of “largely untold stories”, regardless of your 23rd pair of chromosomes. The brilliant and under-appreciated Welsh artist and writer David Jones (1895 – 1974) wrote: “All artists, whether they know it or not, whether they would repudiate the notion or not, are in fact “showers forth” of things that tend to be impoverished, or altogether lost or wilfully set aside . . .” I like that. Not ‘women’ artists. Not ‘men’. Not ‘old’. Not ‘young’. All artists.
I have worked for four decades to throw off limiting classifications placed on my art. Using fabric and needle, adapting traditional embroidery techniques – and eventually knitting with telephone poles – I focussed on the compelling minutiae and chance of everyday domestic life, challenging the notion that such art can be dismissed as “craft” or “women’s work”. I recognize the irony of being rescued from becoming “altogether lost” on a website limited to women, while appreciating that my chosen medium has come to be acknowledged as a legitimate and evocative art form.
Artist Statement Courtesy of Kirtley Jarvis
Biography Profile Photo: Neil Pfaff
Courtesy of Kirtley Jarvis
CV Courtesy of Kirtley Jarvis
Click here for information about works by Kirtley Jarvis
in McIntosh Gallery’s collection.