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Jane Meredith Whitten is an Australian-born experimental basket-maker and knitter presently living in North Bedeque, Epekwitk/PEI. Whitten has spent much of her adult life in Eastern Canada establishing her craft practice while also pursuing her career as a special education consultant, first in Nova Scotia and, later, in Australia until her retirement.

Whitten has a distinctive response to a variety of materials and techniques. She creates functional and dysfunctional pieces using traditional techniques in unexpected ways often using unconventional materials.

In her recent series Storied- lichen x doily, crocheted and felted doilies represent the impact industrialization is having on our fragile environment. Lichens, which are so vulnerable to climate change and do not adapt quickly, are knitted on with embroidery thread.

In other works Jane uses discarded plastics to tell the story of how plastic is impacting our environment from the extracting of fossil fuels for the production of plastics through to the disposing of used products. She recognizes that her use of discarded plastics really has no impact on the volume we discard considering that we produce at least 350 million tonnes of plastic waste per year. However, she does try to create something that is familiar and aesthetically pleasing to draw viewers in and hope that once they see the materials she’s used they will think and rethink about our dependency on plastics, the impacts it’s having on our environment and the urgency of taking action.

Jane has found her connection to CARFAC has been invaluable as she has moved from squeezing in her art practice when she could to now being able to focus on it full time. She feels it’s very important to be connected with other artists and to have a ‘brains trust’ ready to help. The workshops from techniques to taxes to contacting galleries have been very useful. She is presently working on a collaborative show with Laurie Swim, a quilt artist in Lunenburg, NS, andtwo Norwegian artists and knows she’ll be turning to CARFAC to help her navigate the steps necessary for her work to travel internationally.

Jane’s basketry and knitting has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She was nominated for the Canada Council’s 2001 Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in Fine Craft and has won numerous awards for creations. Her work is in public and private collections nationally and internationally including: The Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa,Ont; The Claridge Collection, Montreal, PQ; The Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown,PEI, and Nova Scotia Art Bank, Halifax, NS.

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