Joanne B Kaar

Joanne B Kaar shoes Juncus effusus coppergate and coptic stitch

I live in Dunnet, on Dunnet Head, Caithness, Scotland, only 2 miles from where I grew up in the village of Brough.  My artwork takes inspiration from our heritage.  As both participant and instigator of arts and heritage projects and collaborations I have worked in Taiwan, South Korea, Iceland, USA, Estonia, and also exhibited in Japan, Germany, Spain, Australia, Canada, Sweden and Finland.

Keen to learn traditional skills, research local stories, learn about conservation and care of objects, I enjoy finding inventive ways to attract new audiences while adding new information to artefacts of which little is known.  Because of my research on Robert Dick (Baker and Botanist of Thurso 1811-1866), I was invited to give a presentation about my work for the Botanical Society for Scotland at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh and exhibit in the John Hope Gateway Gallery at RBGE.

I recently solved the mystery of how Angus MacPhee made his grass garments. Angus was a crofter from Uist who spent almost 50 years in a Highland psychiatric hospital. During this time he chose not to speak – instead he wove a series of incredible costumes out of grass. This led to invitations to work at the Manchester Whitworth Art Gallery.  I was commissioned by Lancashire based Horse and Bamboo Theatre, to make costumes and props, including an adult size grass swallow tail coat for their touring production ‘Angus’.  My full size replicas are now part of the Art Extraordinary Trust collection and held in Glasgow Museums.

In 2016 I will be the artist-in-residence at Sumburgh Lighthouse in Shetland and for Newfoundland and Labrador Crafts Council in Newfoundland.