The Elegance of the Retiring Years, Digital, 2020. © Jan Creelman.
My purpose in art is not to produce a product but rather, to generate thinking and emotions through the process of resistance, introspection and contemplation. Batik is created with wax and interfering shapes that prevent dyes from penetrating the medium of choice. In photography, I am drawn to images which reflect lines, motion and light. Art is organic and dynamic – it is always shifting, active, incomplete and always becoming. It's like a band saw drawn by a bow in the wind. It continuously invites me out to a much larger home than I can imagine belonging to in the first place. It is this unexpected energy and promise of a new adventure, which propels me forward on a daily basis.
The process of batik involves hot wax applied to fabric/paper/wood by various means. The wax seals the medium it encounters, so when dyes are introduced they will only permeate those areas that contain no wax. The new dried, dyed areas are then also waxed to seal the new colour, more dye is added and the process is repeated. The wax is then removed by ironing through newsprint and if necessary, by dry-cleaning. I use Procion MX dyes, well known for their depth and longevity of colour.
Born in the Maritimes, in the early sixties, Jan grew up on the East Coast, has lived abroad and traveled all over the world. After acquiring a B.A. in music (piano) and a Master’s in Library and Information Science, she “fell into batik” while observing a friend compose a market scene with wax and dyes. Where ever it is applied, wax prevents dyes from penetrating the fabric; when dye spills outside the waxed area, the fabric comes to life. For Jan, it’s enchanting to work in the negative and have images appear as if from nowhere. That first evening of story-telling through batik shaped her core approach. She avoided straightforward textbook techniques and has developed a vigorous, organic style that is stimulated by the extremes of any experience or event that compels her to step outside her comfort zone. It is the unexpected and the promise of a new adventure that drives her on a daily basis. Her determination to experiment with wax, dye, bleach, and fabric has allowed her to fuse expressionism and abstract modernism, to develop a personal vocabulary that remains essentially dramatic. She is persistent, dedicated, passionate teacher, explorer, artist and Canadian. Toronto Guardian.
Upcoming and selected previous shows:
2020: Colour and Form Society’s 68th Annual Open Juried Exhibition.
2020: Finalist, Camelback Gallery, international juried show.
2020: Tall Sequoia Gallery, Ordinary No Ordinary.
2020: Honourable Mention,Tall Sequoia Gallery, virtual show, Toronto.
2020: Carnegie Arts Center (NY), virtual summer show.
2020: Neilson Creative Centre, postponed to 2021, due to COVID-19
2018: She Said I'd Thrive, 43, published in ArtAscent, 34 (December).
2018: Scarborough Arts’ 33rd Annual Juried Exhibition: Equity Through Emergence.
2018: Artusiasm Gallery: Celebration 2018, Toronto
2018: Artusiasm Gallery: Autumn Hues, Toronto
2018: International Art Competition “Colors”, NYC: Honourable Mention
2018: Artusiasm Gallery: Abstraction, Toronto.
2018: Artusiasm Gallery: Colour Energy, Toronto.
2018: Artusiasm Gallery: "Shedding Light" in partnership with CAMH, Toronto.
2018 - Present: Editor. Batik Guild Magazine (worldwide readership)
2017: Artusiasm Gallery, "Best in Show", Toronto.
2017: Scarborough Arts Juried Exhibit and Big Book (2 works accepted)
2017: Artusiasm Gallery, "Abstracts", Toronto.
2017: Artusiasm Gallery, "Textures", Toronto.
2017: Artusiasm Gallery, "Faces and Figures",
2017: Artusiasm Gallery, "Summerfest", Toronto.
2016: Super Wonder Gallery, Toronto.
2016: September, Artisans at Work, juried show, Toronto.
2016: Headwaters Arts Festival, juried, near Caledon, ON.
2016: Neilson Creative Centre juried exhibition, July/August, Toronto.
2016: June: Artisans At Work, Toronto. Juried show.
2016: Parkway Place Art and Accessories juried Exhibition,
2016: Tantra Lounge and Bar, Toronto
2016; Toronto Guardian featured artist article.
2016: RAW Artists group show, Toronto
2015: Featured artist The Batik Guild Magazine, November edition.
2015: Emerging Toronto Artists Show and Awards
Professional and Education Chronicle
Bachelor of Music Education, Acadia University: 1982.
Post Graduate studies of 20thC. and Canadian Music, Western: 1984
Masters in Library and Information Science, Western: 1988.
Continuing education courses at Ontario College of Art and Design, the Toronto School of Art and the University of New Brunswick.