Common Threads: Volume 4, May 2021

26 May 2021

Sponsored in part by:

Ad featuring a mocked up cover of a book called Quilting, and the words "Essays and exercises for creative exploration. Back the book on Kickstarter from Nine Ten Publications."

Ad description: The words, "The socks you knit won't last forever, but you can make them last for years and years. Shop now." Also featuring the cover image of the Sock Mending Guide.

A round-up of goings-on in fibre and textile arts and crafts across Canada.

If you’re on social media, you may well have seen some of the wonderful videos posted by Yukon resident and Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher. Gurdeep dances with great joy, no matter the weather, and his messages of hope and positivity have resonated with many over the last year. He’s become a social media star and has appeared on TV shows around the world, and he gives dancing lessons and demonstrations. A less discussed but no less lovely feature of his videos is his use of colour in his outfits, and Kim’s remarked several times about his sense of style. We were amused to learn that we’re not his only fibrey fans: he’s been sent all sorts of hand-made gifts, including a crochet doll, and just recently, a brilliant needle-felted “mini-me”.

image descriptions: a group of fabric face masks, hanging together, as viewed through a window

A small portion of the quilt on display earlier this spring at the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, Ontario. 

From Behind the Mask” is a community project: a quilt made from fabric face masks, inspired by the masks we have been wearing over the past year to protect ourselves from the COVID-19 virus. The project was initated by Brenda Reid, a graduate student at the University of Waterloo, with the goal of bringing together people who have been forced apart, to create a memorial for those who have died, and to capture this most visible act of community support—wearing masks to protect others. 529 handmade masks were contributed by people from around the Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge area, in southwestern Ontario. Small selections have been on display around the region over the past few months, and the full assembled quilt is on display as of today at Homer Watson House and Gallery in Kitchener. Whether you’re able to visit in person or not, follow the project on Instagram.

Powerful and beautiful: Anishinaabe bead artist Nico Williams has created a sculpture for display in the new building at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, scheduled to open in 2023. Since 2002, the hospital has made a tradition of giving all patients a bead for each procedure, test or treatment they undergo. This “Momument to the Brave” features over 250,000 beads; many former patients donated some of their own so-called “bravery beads” to be used in the sculpture. Read more: Anishinaabe artist crafts giant bead sculpture to honour SickKids patients.

image description: the exhibition logo

Every other year, the Saskatchewan Craft Council hosts Dimensions, an open, juried exhibition of works from crafters and artisans around the province, with selected pieces becoming part of a touring exhibition. The tour is scheduled to start this week at the Saskatchewan Craft Council Gallery and a selection is available to view online. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the judging process was managed differently than usual, with presentations made online. As part of this, one of the jurors, weaver Jane Kidd, gave a presentation about her own work, specifically her creation of tapestries that speak to our relationship with the natural world. It’s absolutely fascinating, and you can watch it at the link.

Craft Ontario is taking proposals from Ontario artists and crafters for solo and two-person exhibitions to take place in the Craft Ontario Gallery in Toronto, in 2022. More information and application details here.

Cover of Custom-Fit Hats ebook, by Kate Atherley

Thread & Maple is a Canadian company run by two women who live in different cities in Canada, and who share a passion for social justice and  environmental issues (ed. note: Sounds familiar!). Their offerings include baskets and bags for holding projects, and tools like tape measures, rulers, stitch markers and scissors. Their leather goods are beautiful: these are women who love a good notebook as much as we do. Kate was sent one of their folios to review, and is very pleased to have a place to keep both a dotted notebook, her favourite fountain pens. One of the founders, Sam, is also a yarn dyer who specalizes in stripey sock yarn.

Ed. note: We occasionally mention Canadian products or companies that offer unique or interesting goods or services to the fibre and textile community. These are not sponsored and appear according to our editorial discretion.

From the Globe and Mail archives: a guide to mending clothes.

Featured image by Gabriella Clare Marino, from Unsplash.

Tell us about exhibitions, projects and activities to include in the next Common Threads!

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The articles, tutorials and patterns we publish about Canadian fibre and textile arts, crafts and industry are made possible by our members.

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