Common Threads: Volume 6, August 2021

11 August 2021
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A round-up of goings-on in fibre and textile arts and crafts across Canada.

There’s a quilt on display in the mezzanine of Toronto’s York Mills subway station, telling a small but significant story in Toronto’s history. Created by artist Laurie Swim, it commemorates an industrial accident that occured in 1960, near the current location of the subway station. Five workers, digging tunnels for an expansion of Toronto’s water and sewage infrastructure, lost their lives. A coroner’s inquest declared the deaths “the inevitable result of the failure to implement and enforce regulations.” There was public outrage and a series of strikes. The Ontario government ordered a Royal Commission to investigate, resulting in the first major overhaul of the province’s labour laws, and the establishment of important regulations for worker safety. 

image description: Toronto Outdoor Art Fair logo

Attention Ontario artists: On Monday, September 13th, at 5:00 PM Eastern Time, Craft Ontario, DesignTO and Harbourfront Centre, with the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), will present a free webinar on how to apply to the OAC and bring your project from concept to reality. The Ontario Arts Council’s Craft Project grant program aims to support craft-based practices through grants to Ontario-based artists, curators, groups and organizations. The deadline for applications for this year’s grants is in October.

Inuvialuk artist and clothing designer Taalrumiq recently created a custom wedding dress for her cousin, jewelry maker Erica Donavan. Erica recently married her partner on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, and the gown nods to mainstream wedding fashion while honouring the traditional Inuvialuit atikluk, featuring a collar of Arctic fox fur, white sequin designs, and a fringed bottom. 

Jessica Campbell, a University of Toronto Ph.D candidate in astrophysics, makes cross-stitch designs on themes of astronomy. See her work on Twitter and Instagram.

One upside to COVID-related restrictions is that many galleries and museums have been putting exhibitions online. Calgary’s Alberta Craft Gallery is currently hosting Threading Black, showing work from eva birhanu and Simone Elizabeth Saunders. The artists’ sculptural and textile practices seek to reckon with the necessary conversations surrounding race, gender, roots and identity. 

Until August 28, you can see the works, watch the recording of the virtual opening, and watch a recording of a Canadian Women in Craft: A Conversation, moderated by Threading Black curator Shiemara Hogarth. 

Featured image credit Kim Werker.

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

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