Morph / bit by bit

Twyla Exner & Carley Mullally

Things 13 & 14 (Tethered), Twyla Exner, 2019.

Artist Biography

Twyla Exner

Instagram: @twyla.exner

 Twyla Exner is a Canadian artist inspired by the wonders of nature and the idea of electronic technologies gone awry.  She uses the materials and imagery of discarded electronic technologies as a departure towards wonderous and worrisome installations, sculptures and drawings that propose hybrids of technological structures and living organisms. Twyla currently resides as a visitor on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory, situated within the unceded ancestral lands of the Secwépemc Nation.

Twyla holds a BFA from the University of Regina (Regina, SK) and a MFA from Concordia University (Montreal, QC).  She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Visual Arts at Thompson Rivers University (Kamloops, BC).  She has completed artist residencies with Herschel Supply Co. Gastown (Vancouver, BC) and Omineca Arts Center (Prince George, BC).  She is the recipient of numerous grants from Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, Alberta Foundation for the Arts and Saskatchewan Arts.  Her works have been exhibited in Canada and the USA including at the Appalachian Center for Craft (Tennessee, USA), Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina, SK), Art Mûr (Montreal, QC), and VIVO (Vancouver, BC).  Twyla’s artworks are in numerous public collections including the Royal BC Museum (Victoria, BC), Saskatchewan Arts (Regina, SK) and the Kamloops Art Gallery (Kamloops, BC).

Carley Mullally

Carley Mullally (they, she) is a textile artist and educator from Piktuk/Pictou County, currently based in E’se’katik/Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. With a background in weaving, their work focuses on the versatility of off-loom textile processes such as rope-making, knotting, crochet, and braiding. Currently, Carley works with reclaimed marine debris through recovery, repairing, reusing, and re-designing.

While teaching various textile workshops as well as classes at NSCAD University, Carley continues to work on collaborative research projects while simultaneously continuing her own art practice. Their work has been shown both nationally and internationally at the Victoria and Albert Museum (UK), the Hong Kong Medical Museum (HK), the Chester Art Centre (NS), the Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery (NS), and now at the Mary E. Black Gallery (NS).

Carley’s aim is to continue pushing the boundaries of textiles and their applications, collaborating with designers, makers, and engineers, and encouraging non-textile artists to use these structures in innovative ways. By using recycled objects, vibrant factory colors, and unconventional combinations of historic and modern processes, Carley creates work that gives new life to discarded materials and celebrates craft.

Little Buoy (from series), Carley Mullally, 2023.

Exhibition Statement

Morph focuses on the wonders of nature and the idea of electronic technologies gone awry. Remodeling components and imagery of discarded electronics, the wonderous yet worrisome sculptures propose hybrids of technological structures and living beings. Their organic forms make it possible to reimagine synthetic materials as having the potential to grow and evolve like natural organisms.

Using craft-based techniques such as weaving, Twyla Exner invests labour into objects deemed as refuse as an act of care and recognition for the materials of which they are made. In contrast to the mass production histories, the hands-on, time-honoured processes used to manipulate these materials provide an attentive human touch. Through these manipulations, Exner seeks to investigate how the previous lives of everyday objects can be reflected in objects of art.

Bit by Bit focuses on the life cycles of materials and how they can be recovered, repaired, reused, or recycled. Hundreds of bait bags and thousands of lobster claw bands have been collected from the shores of Mi’kma’ki and have been repaired and repurposed through weaving, crochet, darning, looping, twining, knotting, and other textile applications.

A single lobster claw band may take up to 100 years to fully degrade, which involves breaking down, bit by bit, into micro-rubbers that enter our ecosystems.

By using familiar textile objects from Maritime households, such as quilts, towels, and fishing nets, this work is meant to celebrate craft while serving as a resonant point for discussions with our water protectors, fishering industry, artists, designers, and viewers to discuss solutions to marine pollution.

Bicoastal artists explore the life cycles of materials, in combination with time honoured craft processes. Together, a celebration of craft and resonant point for discussions about sustainability.


Published ©2021 by the Centre for Craft Nova Scotia All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. All photography courtesy of the artist unless otherwise stated.