Charis Birchall is a textile designer based in Calgary, Alberta. She earned her BFA in Fibre from the Alberta College of Art & Design. Her work has been shown at Arts Commons, the Leighton Arts Centre and the galleries at the Alberta College of Art & Design. She has also participated in several self-directed, juried residencies. Charis has always loved textiles. When her first-year drawing teacher at ACAD allowed her to sew her assignments, it opened the door to pursue her passion. She is an active volunteer in the arts community, including her role as Vice President of Contextural, a dynamic group of textile artists who foster a cooperative, creative environment in support of the production of new artistic works. She also co-chairs Timeraiser150, a unique program that supports local artists and non-profit organizations and promotes volunteerism in communities. When she’s not printing, creating designs or dreaming up new things to make, Charis is hanging out with her two awesome kids and equally amazing husband.
My work is divided between silkscreen printing and block printing. I lean towards the silkscreen when I’m in the mood for perfection whereas block printing gives me the chance to slow down and reflect. Whichever route I choose, I start with a sketch first then translate it into a repeat pattern that I print onto fabric. My patterns are clean and minimal, a respite from the visual chaos of our modern world. I love lines, geometric shapes and patterns found in nature. The precision of silkscreen printing lends itself to more detailed and intricate patterns. Even though silkscreen printing is done by hand, the results can be beautifully meticulous and consistent. Block printing by hand creates texture in the ink that changes with every stamp of the block, making no two prints exactly alike. The process of creating a block print repeat results in a perfectly-imperfect print that shows the handmade character in the finished yardage.