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Elizabeth Janzen

My love and enthusiasm for all things "textile" started early.

My earliest childhood memories have me on a wooden bench in a sunny kitchen, amid the sweet fragrance of yeast dough and a simmering pot of soup, completely focussed on a scrap of fabric in a basket full of colourful embroidery threads. A tightly grasped needle is lodged between little fingers while a pink plastic thimble struggles for freedom.

The kitchen has changed but the scent of bread and soup still gather. Other circumstances have evolved, the needle and thimble no longer resist their training. The impulse to create with textiles and fibre is, each day, more firmly embedded.

Years of exploring the vibrant culture of "Le Grand Sud", France's southwest, have been inspiring. My current work is an expression of the inspiration I've found on both sides of the Atlantic. Traditional quilting and sewing techniques learned in North America, are combined with techniques traditional to France.

The colour palettes chosen are inspired by the colours I see in the South of France. The linens and quilts reflect the natural hues of the area with the use of natural linens, crisp white cottons, toile de jouy and the brilliant colours of Provencal markets. The products are made with attention to detail, and much of the work incorporates a piece of traditional handwork with contemporary sewing methods. The resulting pieces are respectful of the craft's humble origins, yet fulfill a contemporary need for clean lines and simple beauty.

Leah Janzen comes to textiles from a classical fine art background in sculpture. Her main interests center around the role of tradition in art. After studying contemporary art-making in both Canada and England amongst professionals in her field, Leah has decided to take on the practical challenge of learning a traditional craft from her mother, Elizabeth. The challenge offers her the unique opportunity of exploring the relationship between master and apprentice, while also developing skills that will help her reach her own artistic goals.


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