Janice Charko – Focus on Local Artists – Issue #15

July 2013

Janice Charko

Janice Charko

For July, the Winnipeg River Arts Council features Janice Charko from Lac du Bonnet, an artist who works with fibre. During her professional career, “creative” was not a word Charko would have used to define herself. She has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and a CMA. With her husband, John Angus, she owned and managed a medical software company for 16 years, work which she has described as “very logical and inside the box!”

Then in 2008, at age 57, Charko was diagnosed with breast cancer. That year, rather than the usual winter in Florida, she and her husband spent the winter at their cottage while she received chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She lost her hair and hated wearing wigs so she started making hats that were fun – varied and colourful. When it was all over and her hair was finally making an appearance, she said she was done with cancer and done with hats.

"Starry Starry Night"This elegant clutch is made from silk fibre which causes a lovely sheen.

“Starry Starry Night”
This elegant clutch is made from silk fibre which causes a lovely sheen.

Working with colours and various materials had resonated with Charko so she began to make things just for the prettiness of them. She moved from sea shell mirrors to beaded jewellery, needle felting, silk fusion and finally wet felting. She quickly realized that wool felting was her passion.

She loves to start with a soft mound of fluffy wool fleece and work it into felt. It takes hours of manipulating the hot soapy wool with her hands, rubbing and rolling, tossing and beating, all the while working it into the shape she wants. This year Charko began nuno felting wool onto silk chiffon scarves and shawls. Also, her silk fusion clutch purses have been popular, with the Starry Starry Night clutch winning first place in the fibre category at the 2013 Eastman Judged Art Exhibition.

Each work is a creation from wool and her hands, her vision and her passion. She is finally learning to colour outside the lines!! Charko is a member of Pinawa Art 211 and shows her work in the new Pinawa Art Gallery. Her website is www.FlightsofFibre.com.