Collection: Mitchell, Alison

Alison is a Canadian figurative artist. Her work features simplified, stylized subjects enjoying easygoing moments. Her fiber art blends a traditional Nova Scotian craft with a unique, modern aesthetic. Each piece is made with yarn and a simple wooden rug hooking tool called a punch needle. Alison’s paintings are made with heavy bodied acrylics and employ a vibrant but carefully restrained colour palette.

​Alison was born and raised in Ottawa and now lives with her young family in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Prior to becoming an artist, she spent 16 years as a diplomat and legal advisor with Canada's foreign ministry. Specializing in international law, she served at NATO in Brussels, at the UN in New York, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and in Washington, D.C. She continues to lecture in international law at Queen’s University. The complexity and weight of her files during her former career continue to influence Alison’s interest in depicting relaxed, dignified subjects in her artwork.

Alison is a member of the Rug Hooking Guild of Nova Scotia, the International Guild of Handhooking Rugmakers, and Visual Arts Nova Scotia. She teaches rug hooking at the Lunenburg School of the Arts. 

Artist Statement

I didn’t always have this much flaking pink paint on my forearms and bits of yarn in my hair. Before I surrendered to mysterious, persistent whispers to make art, I spent 17 years in a suit, immersed in dark subjects. I interviewed and prepared witness statements for victims of the Darfur conflict who described the slaughter of their children. I rescheduled meetings with senior officials in a war zone because the soldiers meant to escort me to them had just been killed by roadside bombs. I observed alleged terrorists in jumpsuits hunched over behind two-way mirrors. Over nearly a decade of teaching, I’ve suggested to hundreds fresh-faced law students that they should be optimistic about the future. But I often felt uneasy, at work and in life.

Making art has helped me. Especially making art that depicts good people. I find their ease, their tranquility, and their joy, to be rather contagious. I hope looking at these faceless people has that sort of effect on you too. It was a privilege to make it.