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Arts: Changes in store for South Shore Gallery

Jessie Taylor-Dodd accepts the keys to the South Shore Gallery from Elizabeth Tanner. Taylor-Dodd is the new owner of the gallery on Otter Point Road and is busy with renovations. - Pirjo Raits
Jessie Taylor-Dodd accepts the keys to the South Shore Gallery from Elizabeth Tanner. Taylor-Dodd is the new owner of the gallery on Otter Point Road and is busy with renovations.
— image credit: Pirjo Raits

If one didn’t know the medium for Jessie Taylor-Dodd’s art, one could be mistaken as to whether it was on canvas, from fibre or a drawing.

Jessie Taylor-Dodd is all about lines and threads. She seamlessly expresses herself in each of those mediums and the common thread is formal arrangement and strict adherence to prescribed or external forms. She’s a formalist.

In describing her art she said it is about “form, texture and colour, not so much about literal imagery.”

“Even if you took the textile or the paintings, they would be similar,” said Taylor-Dodd. “I”m a bit of a formalist when to comes to art - it has to stand on its own. I’m more old-school that way.”

Taylor-Dodd is interesting in that she comes from a financial/brokerage background and has somehow married that side of her brain with the creative side, making for art with formal structure. Her work is organized and precise, edgy and lively.

She is a free spirit and one day in her 20s she changed her world. She bought a one-way ticket to St. Thomas and did a trans-Atlantic crossing on an 80’ sailboat and ended up in Germany, France and Denmark. Her travels eventually brought her to Victoria. After a life-altering accident she dropped the brokerage business and moved towards the world of art and artists.

“I was always doing some kind of art but never thought of it as art,” she said.

Art courses, mentors and a supportive community of fibre artists led her to Fibres & Beyond, a group of 12 fibre artists. Taylor-Dodd’s work is entered into the Consider the Lilies XII currently at St. Mary Church in Metchosin.

Her work is familiar to Sooke as she has been accepted in the Sooke Fine Arts Show for the last eight years. In 2012 she won first prize in fibre art at the Sooke Fine Arts Show.

She is also the new owner of the Sooke South Shore Gallery on Otter Point Road along what is now becoming known as gallery row.

Deciding to venture into the realm of gallery owners was a big decision and Taylor-Dodd did it quietly, did her research and hasn’t slept much since she signed the agreement.

“I never told anybody, I couldn’t sleep for a week, I’m so excited about it.”

The gallery, which opens April 12, will take on a new look as Taylor-Dodd wants it to become a working studio/gallery. Her work, of course, will be featured but so will the work of a stable of artists/artisans that she has enlisted from far and wide. She will have a space where artists can demonstrate their processes and where she can work on her fibre art.

“I’m hoping it will be interesting for people to see me work, putting pieces together for large wall hangings.”

Elizabeth Tanner owned the gallery for 20 years and is settling back to do more gardening, and her own fibre art.

“I will miss the contact with the artists and customers,” said Tanner. But she will continue on in a small capacity working two days per week.

At the grand opening glass maker Linda Westrom, from Rhythms Artglass, will be on hand to demonstrate her art.

For more information on the South Shore Gallery go to: southshoregallery.ca or call 250-642-2058. Gallery hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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