Common Threads: Volume 17, November 2022

30 November 2022
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Since fall 2021, the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library has been working on an oral history project, recording long-form interviews with craftspeople from around the province. They have started a YouTube channel to feature clips from these interviews

Rug hooker Karen D Miller has just released her second book. The Art of Mothering: Our Lives in Colour and Shadow features the work of Karen and twenty-one other artists, exploring motherhood through textile art. More about the book here.

One of Karen’s stated goals is “to explore the concept of self-identity and societal perceptions as they relate to women in modern life, including how they change as we mature, how they affect us throughout our lives, and how the uniquely complicated and all-consuming experience that is motherhood upends everything we ever knew.” You can see some of creations on her website.

LAYERS, a new exhibition of textile art by Olivia Mae Sinclair, runs until January 8, 2023 at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.

LAYERS contemplates the relationship between traumatic memory and the physical body…. artist Olivia Mae Sinclair interprets the inner body and intrusive thoughts through textiles prints and book sculptures. All the x-ray images are of the artist’s body. “Normally, I use archive images of intimate moments in my work. However, the concept of LAYERS was born after having a dental scan with all my facial piercings visible. I want to show everyone the inside of my body. Tracking the x-rays took months and countless phone calls to doctors’ offices. I was shocked at how difficult it was to obtain all the records and images, and many were erased, and I was unable to get them back.” Sinclair considers the implications of inside and outside. Within privacy, vulnerability, layers of the body, layers of textiles and layers of meanings.

Digits & Threads member Barbara Williams is working with the Campagin for Wool Canada to compile a list of Canadian wool mills. She’s looking for assistance to ensure the listing is as complete as possible, for all provinces and territories. Are you able to help by submitting a listing?

The Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador has released their 2022 version of the Digital Studio Guide. The guide showcases fine craft and visual art studios across the province, and is designed as a reference for visitors, to help them find studios and places to visit.

The Alberta Craft Council has put out a call for works for their upcoming feature Ornament and Crime, an exhibition celebrating the adorned, the decorated, the patterned and all manner of ornamented “excess”.  

The project was inspired by Ornament and Crime, an essay written in 1908 by Adolf Loos, an Austrian architect active in the early 1900’s in Vienna. Loos’ fierce opinions about ornamentation influenced the work of architects, designers and makers of his era as well as the development of Modernism. He believed that the use of ornamentation on objects and buildings belied degenerate, criminal tendencies and caused ‘…damage and devastation…’ to aesthetic development. He states that the time spent on embellishment of objects is wasted time and wasted health of the maker.  

Loos’ ideas were influential to the development of Modernism. Read in the context of contemporary perspective, his essay, full of opinions and assertions, is absurd, melodramatic and offensive, offering many points of departure for expressive works. Perhaps it is his patronizing attitude toward craft workers, or his ideas about cultures from the ‘new world’ that you will refute with your proposed works. Or maybe it is his idea that anyone with a tattoo is a criminal!? Wouldn’t you like to take a shot at proving him wrong? Or maybe you are a sympathetic minimalist? Whatever your take on Adolf Loos and ornamentation is, consider submitting your work to our Ornament & Crime Feature Exhibition Call, exploring and reacting to the idea that ornamentation is criminal!   

You can download and read the essay from the page linked above, and there’s also a video of a fascinating lecture from craft historian Dr. Jennifer Salahub about the essay and its significance. 

Featured image by Judson Moore on Unsplash.

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