Common Threads: Volume 7, September 2021

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

Four Mi’kmaw textile artists—Ernestine Francis, Oakley Rain Wysote Gray, Sgoagani Mye Wecenisqon and Ingrid Brooks—are working on a project to recreate a ceremonial outfit given to British Captain Henry Dunn O’Halloran by Mi’kmaw Chief Joseph Maly Itkobitch in the early 1840s. The original coat, crafted by three uncredited Mi’kmaw women, is stored in the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, but it’s too fragilie for display. This recreation was undertaken to allow others to see the work, to honour the unnamed artists, and to highlight a small but interesting piece of Canadian history. Click through to see photographs of the original, and the contemporary artists at work.

Four Mi’kmaw textile artists—Ernestine Francis, Oakley Rain Wysote Gray, Sgoagani Mye Wecenisqon and Ingrid Brooks—are working on a project to recreate a ceremonial outfit given to British Captain Henry Dunn O’Halloran by Mi’kmaw Chief Joseph Maly Itkobitch in the early 1840s. The original coat, crafted by three uncredited Mi’kmaw women, is stored in the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, but it’s too fragilie for display. This recreation was undertaken to allow others to see the work, to honour the unnamed artists, and to highlight a small but interesting piece of Canadian history. Click through to see photographs of the original, and the contemporary artists at work.

The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, in Altamonte, Ontario, has announced their latest exhibition: In the Middle of the World, featuring new tapestry work by Penny Berens and Judy Martin. The artists both take a “slow-stitching” approach, using naturally-dyed fibres and fabrics, both new and “rescued” from vintage items, doing all the stitching and quilting by hand. In the words of the exhibition catalogue, “these works of stitch, natural fibre and plant-based colour speak of the intimacy of human connection that many are seeking out and leaning into amidst these turbulent, socially-distanced and tech-driven times; of connections to tradition and the environment, and the urgency to renew them before it’s too late; and of the importance of knowing and accepting one’s location in the world.”

The exhibition is open for in-person visits, and runs Saturday October 2 to Saturday December 18, 2021, with a virtual opening event Saturday, September 29, at 7pm Eastern Time, featuring a talk from the artists on their works. Register for that at this link.

image description: a large handwoven textile
Image credit (L to R): Judy Martin, Overhead the Sun (detail), 2020. Rescued linen damask, taffeta, wool, tannin and iron dyes, velvet, paint, hand embroidered and hand quilted.
Penny Berens, Whispering Cairn, 2019. Cotton, linen, silk, wool, plant dye, ruching, couching, hand stitching.

The Craft Council of BC is hosting Eye c u,” an exhibition of weavings by Trish Graham, at their gallery, from now until October 7. The artist is an award-winning printer and graphic designer, development worker, and jewellery designer, and these detailed weavings explore the face, considering both “how images of faces in art can be a catalyst for understanding history,” and how our relationship to the face has changed in recent times, “that we no longer tend to look directly at people, but through our devices, especially now with Covid and the use of apps like Zoom.” There are live weaving demonstrations every Saturday afternoon.

image description: the Knit City logo

The Knit Social team is hosting their first in-person event in nearly two years, Knit City Mini, the weekend of October 2-3, in Vancouver. It is a scaled-down version of their usual Knit City fall event, featuring a marketplace of local vendors, and a knit night with special guests. They are adhering to all provincial protocols for visitor safety, and tickets must be booked to secure admission so that crowd size is managed. There are four three-and-half-hour time slots offered: morning and afternoon on the Saturday and Sunday.

Kim will be there—please say hello if you see her! If you’re not yet a member, ask about a special offer…

An exhibition from Calgary’s Alberta Craft Gallery is available to view online: Sharon Rose Kootenay’s Manitohkewin. Conceived as a visual narrative and social commentary, the series of beaded and woven items explored the artist’s relationship between cultural practices, spiritual beliefs and global concerns. See more of her work at her website.

Featured image by John Anvik on Unsplash.

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

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