Fran Solar is a contemporary BC artist who combines traditional textile techniques with unconventional materials to create unique woven metal sculpture, both free-standing and wall-mounted. She loves the challenge of working with all the weird ‘junk’ that she has collected (or been given )over the years and then re-inventing new uses & forms for them. She likes to wander thru hardware stores, junk yards,- they always seem to have interesting stuff to discover. She has no idea why the attraction to bike cogs, washers, industrial scrap, sliced up beer cans ( husband gets the beer), old keys & coins.
Fran is mostly self taught as a weaver, but her B of Interior Design , U of Manitoba gave her an excellent training in color and design. In the mid-1990’s Fran began to experiment with basketry as another textile art form, and after taking workshops at Basket Focus conferences in Toronto, Ottawa, and the Okanagan she developed an interest in combining metals with textile techniques such as loom weaving, basketry and quilting. Her materials today include copper, brass, and stainless steel sheet and wire, and interesting bits and pieces of hardware and industrial surplus. These materials are further colored through the use of heat and chemical patinas.
She began working with copper as its warm color has always attracted her. Copper wire is easily available in many colors, and just like traditional fibers it is flexible, can be manipulated, patinated etc. The resulting wire cloth can be shaped into a sculptural form that has no real function other than being something beautiful with wonderful colors, and textures. She names them ‘vessels’ rather than ‘baskets’ as the latter word implies a function.
The wall mounted ‘Scrapyard Quilts” are created with squares of stainless steel mesh, onto which are stitched woven copper elements , bike cogs, washers, and other metals. The strong geometry of traditional textile quilts has always interested her. The basic block pattern in the quilts by itself is not too interesting but when many are assembled, subtle shifts in color, alignment,& pattern occur and a bigger more complex modular design emerges after the mesh squares are linked together.