If you’re in the Toronto area, we always recommend a visit to the Textile Museum of Canada. But right now there’s a particularly interesting exhibition. Running until October 2, 2023, Breathe takes a different angle on the mask-making so many of us did in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Métis artists Nathalie Bertin and Lisa Shepherd launched the project in 2020. In the throes of Canada’s lockdowns, Bertin and Shepherd noticed a lack of beaded objects being made by traditional artisans. The challenges presented by the pandemic seemingly blocked artists’ and makers’ ability to create. Bertin and Shepherd invited people around the world to create hand-crafted masks in any traditional medium authentic to their culture and artist practice.
If you’re in Western Canada, or perhaps looking for an excuse to visit, consider the Sunshine Coast Fibre Camp. Held September 8–10 in Gibsons, B.C., the event offers workshops on knitting (taught by Digits & Threads friend and contributor Holli Yeoh), tapestry weaving (taught by Digits & Threads friend and contributor Janna Vallee) and felting, plus a vendor fair and fibre-enthusiast-friendly activities such as a tea-towel exchange. Registration closes August 25.
The Craft Council of Newfoundland has just released a paper, “Newfoundland and Labrador CRAFT INDUSTRY STRATEGY 2023–2025.” Prepared by the Craft Strategy Working Group, the paper documents their goal “to enhance the economic and artistic development of the Newfoundland and Labrador Craft Industry, and heighten the public perception of its value to the province,” and discussed strategies to make this happen. There are lessons and learnings for many groups around the country, supported by research and economic analysis.
You can download the paper here.
The upcoming Making Ends Meet exhibition in the Annex Gallery at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, running August 18–September 22, is very connected to the issues discussed in the research paper.
Embroideries by Kevin Melanson “provide a look into the lives of practicing artists, who often receive payments for their work sporadically and have to maintain their day jobs to be able to afford to make art. Through embroidery, Melanson is exploring the relationship between the labour that goes into textile-based practices and the monetary worth that is associated with them. The making of art often becomes secondary to administrative work, because art is sometimes impossible to make without the monetary resources that the administrative work allows.”
In a wonderful article published on the Craft Council of B.C. website, textile artist Bettina Matzkuhn takes us on a journey through her experiences with and views on craft as well as what aspects have shaped her own identity as a craftsperson.