Israelsson, Pia

Pia Israelsson lives and works in Toronto and relaxes on a tiny island on a big lake in Northern Ontario. She graduated from the architecture program at the University of Waterloo (also studying in Italy and Finland), and studied glass-blowing for 3 years at Sheridan’s Craft and Design Glass Studio in Oakville, Ontario. Most recently, Pia attended the Toronto School of Art and the Art Centre Program at Central Technical School in Toronto, taking classes in drawing, painting, print-making, sculpture, ceramics and photography.

I come from a land of forests. When I first started gardening, I learned to browse the end-of-season plant sales at my local garden centre. Most interesting were the pots of perennials labelled ‘good roots’ with only clipped stems sticking out of the soil. This was asking for a leap of faith and also patience to wait until next spring, summer or fall to see what it would bring. My root collection started with a beautiful bamboo that died a few year ago. The shallow and intertwining root system was totally impossible to cut, and so I kept it. When springtime during lockdown arrived last year, I had to use materials at hand like never before. With fresh eyes, and a slower pace of doing everything, I started looking more closely at what was in front of me. Whenever I pulled a beautiful root out of the ground, I kept it. Thanks to my little garden, I have learned that everything I need is here. 

The series Under the tall trees is a study of some of the roots collected from my garden and the garden at the Women’s Art Association of Canada in Toronto. These botanical fragments invite the viewer to participate in the contemplation of the hidden world beneath our feet, our connections to each other and to something greater than ourselves.

All my life, so far, I have loved / more than one thing, / including the mossy hooves / of dreams, including / the spongy litter / under the tall trees. Moccasin Flowers -Mary Oliver

For me, one of the best approaches to getting out of a rut is to regard it an opportunity. For example, if you’re stuck in the mud, say ‘Wow, look at all the mud! What a fabulous opportunity!’ -Freeman Patterson

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