Christi York

Illuminated Shells

Foraging for materials within the seasons, my work is quite literally tied to the cycle of the natural world. Basketmaking has a communal history in nearly every culture on the planet. When I weave, I feel linked to this collective history of civilization; a time when we had respect and a deep, generational knowledge about the self sustaining systems of the earth.

Christi York combines traditional weaving methods with a contemporary approach. She harvests and processes all of her own natural materials in and around her home on Vancouver Island, BC.

With a background in both graphic and jewelry design, York’s work naturally flows towards mixed media, with botanical material and imagery always front and centre. Inspired by the overwhelming complexity of plant life on earth, she invites people to pause and reconsider the seemingly humble nature of plant material.

Her Illuminated Shells series begs the question;

“What do we hold precious?”

York takes naturally beautiful oyster shells, cleans them well, then and adds a layer of pure copper leaf – a similar gilt metal technique that was used in ancient illuminated manuscripts.

Iris and daylily leaves are used to weave around the shell, using a base of cedar bark spokes. Cedar is harvested only from trees that had to be taken down for construction and development purposes. Every step is slow, labour intensive, meditative, and enjoyable.

York’s work has been juried into the Sooke Fine Arts show for 2018 and 2019, taking one of four honourable mention prizes in 2019. Also in 2019 it she was honoured to be chosen as part of Salt Spring National Art Prize exhibition.