Monday, November 20, 2017

Re-Collection exhibition


Emanuel Jaques

Art Gallery of Burlington
1333 Lakeshore Road, Burlington
Opening Reception: November 30 2017  17h-19h
On exhibition until January 28 2018
Part of a group exhibition entitled Holding By a Thread, featuring the work of Lorraine Roy, Kelly Bruton, Carole Baillergeon and Line Dufour.

Our personal narratives are pieced together by fragments of our past and that includes the textiles that has accompanied us along the journey. Cloth is imbued with memory and feelings. Embedded in cloth are our stories, our histories, our identities and our cultures. Conscious and unconscious memory is activated by our associations with cloth, stirring our senses and emotions.  Cloth arouses thoughts of warmth, comfort, protection and intimacy but also paradoxically, confinement, containment, fragility, and impermanence.  

The entire installation is rooted in embodied cognition and speaks of the act of remembering as a mental, emotional and physical matrix.  Social identity is explored through the process of creating this body of work, re-creating each likeness, in a way that presents each victim as an icon, to be loved and revered, echoing the manner in which martyrs are elevated in Christian biblical traditions. Making the image as a material presence is a narrative act though they are not fixed and factual accounts. Enmeshed within the subjective embodied experience, is a forensic curiosity formed in large part through the research of each story, weaving together the partially glimpsed, yet profoundly felt. 

Re-Collection  references the Shroud of Turin, and each shroud depicts the face of a child or young woman killed by a sexual predator in Ontario. The horrified shock and disenchantment I felt 25 years ago when I first learned of the fatal assaults on Kristen French, Leslie Mahaffy and Tammy Homolka has never waned. Since then, I’ve been haunted by the need to pay tribute to these individuals who left this life under such tragic circumstances. At the time of their occurrence I felt immobilized, not knowing how to proceed in expressing this tribute to the victims and their families. As the years went by, it was impossible not to peer into  the Pandora’s Box of these  recurring traumatic social and cultural behaviors. Oliver Sachs and T.S. Eliot would call this long incubation period necessary to one’s creative process. It is a time when one is consciously and subconsciously, -  learning, gathering, reorganizing, reconfiguring and synthesising information, methods, and techniques. 

The term ‘shroud’ refers to a textile that” covers or protects an object”, usually a deceased human body. Historically, shrouds were hand woven in a 3/1 herringbone twill or plain weave and with a natural fibre such as cotton, wool, or linen, - an inexpensive easy way to produce cloth. In contrast, I created a series of jacquard woven shrouds. Historically, jacquard woven textiles were available only for the powerful and wealthy to command respect, and denote status. In using these patterns, I transfer these associations to each of the portraits, adding more potency to the homage. 

The shrouds have a surreal quality and could be faces glimpsed in a dream. Memory is made visible and the viewer’s memories are stirred and recalled as faces appear before us like apparitions.  The clearness of their features are dissolved by the overlaid jacquard pattern, alluding to the veil which I will return to in a moment. In close proximity to the shroud, it appears as a patterned textile. As one moves further away, the face emerges.  This disintegration alludes to how memory works - sometimes clear, sometimes vague and blurry. As memory fades, it leaves one with an imperfect recollection of the event or person. This body of work also explores how memory creates dissonance in its incompleteness and its unreliability in apprehending the truth or reality fully, which is further intensified by the limitations of perception. 

A veil is a semi-transparent textile through which we can see that which is curtained behind it. It is often used in religious ceremonies to honour a religious object, space or person.  It is frequently worn as an article of clothing or accessory, usually by a female and is often intended to cover part of the head and/or face.   The veil is an object imbued with the sacred and the profane. The idea of holiness, sanctity, piousness, purity, humility and submissiveness, is often associated with it, but it is also associated with being alluring. A veil can disguise or it can reveal; It can arouse, or denote status. The veil is often referred to metaphorically in various religions, as the curtain that separates us from the departed. 

The collection highlights the disorientating effects of impermanence and loss, and brings to light the transformative effects of our subjectivity and numinosity. Feeling our way out of our dark place and our confusion, we are led to enlightenment that expresses itself in compassion, action and creativity.  In turn it ignites the impetus to contribute in some way, to positive social transformation. Mary Sarton’s poem captures these thoughts succinctly and it reads: 

Help us to be the always hopeful gardeners of the (heart and) spirit
Who knows that without darkness, nothing comes to birth
As without light, nothing flowers. 

A special thanks to the Ontario Arts Council ( , Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles, Suzanne Chabot, Adrien Landry, Lheila Palumbo without which this project would not have been possible. Thank you too, to the Fondazione Lisio in Florence for creating the braille cards. 

Toronto Star Article by Robert Cribb may 25 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016


I just found out that I received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to create my jacquard woven shroud series entitled Re-collection. Each shroud will depict the face of a young girl or woman killed by a sexual predator.I will be collaborating with Dr. Simon Lapierre as well as with other new technology artists. This collection of shrouds will focus on victims in Ontario, and over the years, I would like to create a set for each province. If you would like to recommend an individual for inclusion in this project, please contact me at This project will take a couple of years to complete.

Ontario Arts Council LOGO

Fate, Destiny and Self Determination: an International Tapestry Installation
Le Sort, Le Destin et L'Auto-Determination: un Installation Internationale de la Tapisserie

Upcoming Exhibitions: 

Craft Council of BC, 1386 Cartright Street, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC
March 26-May 5 2016. Co-created by 197 people, 310 contributions, 20 countries. More entries are arriving each day.

Centre d'Action Culturelle de la MRC de Papineau
20 August - 7 October 2016
3, rue Principale, Saint-André-Avellin,
QC J0V 1W0
Phone:(819) 983-2027

San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
520 S 1st St, San Jose, CA 95113, USA
January 20-April 16 2017
Opening Reception: January 29 2017. 1-4pm

Art Gallery of Burlington
1333 Lakeshore Rd, Burlington, ON L7S 1A
2017 - dates undetermined

In the meantime, I continue to
collaborate with Erin Lewis on
integrating new technologies into weaving.
You can go to the Facebook page for the
collaboration to see how it is progressing.
So far I've woven fibre optics, linen
with paper. Next on to wire. Erin is
working on the tech details. She recently
discovered that she was accepted into the PhD program at Boras University in Sweden.
I will be sorry not to have her around.
Maybe I'll have to go to Sweden?

Ontario Arts Council LOGO

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Exploring New Materials and Processes

A few weekends ago , I took an electronics course at interAccess. The instructor was a very good speaker and explained the theories and the principles of electronics very eloquently, however, my practical knowledge was not greatly expanded and hoping that other experiences will fill that deficit.  I am learning more about this area because of my recent forays into incorporating assorted materials, technologies and new media into woven textiles. It has been very satisfying for my creativity and I am finding this path enchanting. I am collaborating with the new media artist, Erin Lewis.
I just finished weaving the a large fiber optic panel. Erin is helping in working on the finishing at Toronto Weaving School. Next, we'll be 'connecting' it for illumination. You will be hearing more about our ventures together.

Earlier this month, I was  thrilled to be invited by the Textile Department Head, Rachel Miller,   as a guest instructor at Sheridan College, to share my body of work, and to teach students how to design for weaving.

The jacquard woven piece, Alicia, was accepted into an exhibition, Fiber Art VII, held at the Sebastopol Center for Art, in California. I call this series my Shroud series, and each cloth depicts the face of young girl killed by sexual predators. If you want to read more about the project go to the previous blog page:

The international tapestry installation, Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination, co-created by 193 people from 20 countries, and composed of 285 submissions, will be exhibited in Vancourver, British Columbia in March 2016. It is not too late to make a contribution. If you are interested, contact me at

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Recently, my jacquard woven piece entitled "Alicia" was accepted into  Fiber Arts VII, to be held at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts in California. It will be exhibited from October 22 - November 28, 2015. The opening reception is Friday, October 23 between 6-7:30 pm. 

"Alicia" is part of my Re-Collection series that I have been working on. Each piece woven is a shroud for a young girl or young woman, killed by a sexual predator. Each shroud is jacquard woven and I am looking for ongoing funding to support this project. It is the first time this shroud is being exhibited, and it means a lot to me that it is making its maiden voyage out into the world, to be seen, and to not be forgotten. 

"The pattern of the cloth dissolves the clearness of the features of the face, apparition like and haunting.   In close proximity to the shroud, it appears only to be a patterned textile. As one moves further away the image comes into focus.  This disintegration alludes to how memory works - sometimes clear, sometimes vague and blurry. As memory fades, it leaves one with an imperfect recollection of the event or person. Memory is described as “the process in which information is encoded, stored and retrieved”.  Similarly in jacquard weaving, information is encoded and stored in the punched cards and software and then retrieved as the treadle is pushed and released. The image also alludes to patterning found in textiles,  created by the circular clusters of dark and light points which form patterns of negative and positive space, associating it to the pattern of these societal behaviors." 

Videos that you might find interesting: 
Rebecca Mezoff and Barb Brophy talking about James Koehler:
Weaving as Meditation:
Distinct Style:

Debbie Harris let us know about a commemorative tapestry for John Lennon.

Moonrain Centre

Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination: an international tapestry installation

Ramses Wissa Wassef tapestries on display in Oakville, Ontario

Textile Art exhibitions in Italy

Carlos Coelho recently emailed me expressing his desire to learn tapestry. In some email exchanges he mentioned that he was from Brazil and was inspired by tapestry weavers in his home country. These were some of the names he mentioned:
1- Genaro de Carvalho
2- Kennedy Bahia
3- Jacques Douchez (French-Brazilian)
4- Burle-Marx
You can find many works searching for their names on Google Images and visiting the website of the "Passado Composto" gallery in São Paulo:
Also, sometimes instead of searching for "tapestry", you can also search for its equivalent word in portuguese "tapeçaria" to improve your results in websites not translated to English.
These are the artists that sparked my interest in tapestry and I would like to learn with you how to design similar tapestries.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fate, Destiny and Self Determination at Regis Universtiy, Denver, Colorado

Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination/le Sort, le Destin et l'Auto-determination: an international tapestry installation exhibited at the Doyle and Margaret Hartman Gallery, Dayton Memorial Library, Regis Universtiy, Denver Colorado. August 2015. All of these pictures document this exhibition as well as the reception. 

Some of the shapes contributed to FD&SD. 

Rebecca Mezoff's tapestry, Emergence 1, woven under the guidance of James Koehler. 

Tapestries by Aneesha Parrone, and shapes contributed by FD&SD participants. Recognize yours?

On the right, a tapestry by David Johnson, along with more shapes contributed to the FD&SD installation. More information about David and his tapestry ventures 


Left to right: Aneesha Parrone (co-curator) and me (Line Dufour). 
Aneesha curated all the other tapestries as part of the FD&SD platform. 

Left to right: Sarah Swett, Line Dufour and Alex (Susan) Marriott. 
Here is a blog post by Sarah Swett on the weekend of the opening which coincided with a workshop she was giving and in which I participated: To see more of Sarah's work go to her website at

Left to right: Rebecca Mezoff, Sarah Swett, Line Dufour and Debbie Harris

Summer Larson and Victoria Stone

Foreground left to right: Barb Brophy, Margaret Sunday and husband, Pete. 
Background left to right: Sarah Swett, Line Dufour, Mary Colton and Rebecca Mezoff

Cheryl Nachtrieb (owner of The Recycled Lamb, Golden, Colorado) and Sarah Swett reading over the names of all the contributors. 

Shapes by Melanie Siegal, Emoke, and Erin Lewis. Tapestry by Celine Grigore

Margaret Sunday standing in front of her tapestry. Below the concepts behind it. 

Rebecca Mezoff in front of her tapestry, Emergence 1. To see more of her work go to her website where you can also sign up for her blog and newsletter. Rebecca teaches online tapestry weaving classes as well as travels to give tapestry workshops. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Thrill for a Lifetime

“Over, under, over under....a thrill for a lifetime.” 
(Sarah Swett)
Fate, Destiny and Self Determination/ le Sort, le Destin et l'Auto-Determination
Dayton Memorial Library, Doyle and Margaret Hartman Gallery, Regis University, 3333 Regis Blvd, Denver, Colorado 

I’ve just returned from Golden, Colorado from setting up the exhibition, Fate, Destiny and Self Determination: an International tapestry installation at the Doyle and Margaret Hartman Gallery situated at Regis University. Aneesha Parrone invited me to bring the installation to this venue, and assisted and co-curated the exhibition. While this was a plan we had made at least a year ago, about 2 months prior to its confirmed date, I discovered that Sarah Swett was to give a tapestry workshop at The Recycled Lamb, also situated in Golden.  I had already tried to lure Sarah to give a workshop through the Toronto Weaving School but she had declined, as she is apprehensive about travelling. I recognized the rare opportunity it was to be under her tutelage and that one could not be sure if such an opportunity would arise again, so I signed up for it. It seemed so serendipitous that she would be there while I was setting up the exhibition! Debbie Harris, a friend  who has been taking my weaving classes for many years, also joined me and off we went for our incredible weaving adventure!

As a teacher, Sarah is animated, dynamic, effusive and vibrant and this comes through in her tapestries. Throughout the tapestry workshop, Sarah talked about how and from whom she acquired her weaving techniques and practices. She constantly referred to the several instructors she has had: Archie Brennan, Susan Martin Maffei,  Mary Lane, Jean Pierre Larochette and Yael Lurie. From these experiences, and from relentless tapestry weaving, Sarah distilled her own tapestry weaving techniques and approaches, based on what worked best for her.  We all benefitted not only from Sarah’s teaching, but also that of all the other teachers she has studied with.

Waves of quiet, then waves of animated conversation between participants and with Sarah ebbed and flowed throughout the four days. She gave students constant feedback and support and addressed all the topics we presented her with. Her self-awareness, mindfulness and responsiveness created a stimulating environment in which to practice the techniques she discussed and encouraged us to undertake.

Many things struck me about Sarah’s approach to tapestry weaving. Sarah works spontaneously almost all the time, continuously making intuitive decisions as she weaves her tapestries. She works from a black and white drawing the size of her tapestry, and the colour choices only reveal themselves as she weaves. Her weaving of weft is not formulaic, nor does she become complacent by relying upon a prescribed image where all is predetermined at the outset. She emphasizes that her weaving practice is about being in the moment, and along with that, the struggles, or what she calls her ‘microdramas’ play out as she weaves -  an assortment of tensions created by constant decision making, and in this way, remains connected to her inspiration which in turn, makes her tapestries inspiring. Her main message to aspiring tapestry weavers is to “trust your intuition”.
Rebecca Mezoff
As though tapestry weaving is not already a lengthy and time consuming process, Swett also spins the bulk of her yarn, both warp and weft, and in addition dyes them with natural dyes. Her passion for tapestry weaving and the yarn she spins is intense and unabating. What is also clear is that Swett has given herself with abandon to her spinning and tapestry weaving.

What makes Sarah's work especially distinctive is her fertile imagination which forms her own aesthetic, and brings to that her own authentic and genuine self, undisguised and searingly honest. Her joy emanates from all she creates. There are distinguishing elements that are repeated in Sarah’s tapestries – little coloured boxes that often form frames around the tapestries and sometimes find their way into the tapestry’s image. Slits are ubiquitous, as well as her sense of humour.

With each series, Sarah establishes a set of parameters that will present new technical challenges. Looking at the several series that she has created ( on her blog ), you will be able to observe what some of her challenges have been. Her blog also documents her process and progress. Like herself, it is delightful, fun, witty and intelligent.

I enjoyed weaving tapestry with other tapestry weavers who respected  tapestry as much as I did. It was a pleasure getting to know them, one of which I had already been acquainted with on the internet -  Rebecca Mezoff, herself an accomplished tapestry weaver who studied with James Koehler. This was my first time weaving tapestry with other tapestry weavers, and it was an energizing  and stimulating experience. It has left me raring to get going on my next series, and better able to technically address the issues that will arise while I weave them.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Carmen Vicente

The processes of tapestry weaving can often be repetitious, especially the weaving. This repetition resembles a ritualistic practice imparting  a certain meditative quality to it. Repetition is an important element in understanding and describing a work of art. 

Recently a Picasso sold at auction for a record price - about $182 million. As you know, Picasso developed  a distinctive and recognizable style, as did many well known artists of this period like Monet, Turner, and in Canada, A Y Jackson, and the Group of Seven. These are artists that the general public are familiar with.
Carmen Vincente

In the tapestry world there are tapestry artists whose work I recognize instantly: Barbara Heller, Jane Kidd, Marcel Marois, Sarah Swett, Rebecca Mezoff, Kathe Todd Hooker , Archie Brennan, and Thoma Ewen. What distinguishes each artist? What makes their work have impact? To me what comes through is a clear sense of who one is, and this shapes the aesthetic and practice that defines them. In each of their tapestries, they are telling you something of who they are, something very personal.   Personal values, perceptions and points of view are conveyed, as well as consistent aesthetic and colour choices, which reveals to the viewer a pattern in the persons work, practice and visual representations. These repeated elements  create a coherent and unified body of work, and come to define the artist's style.
Kashmir weaving, Peter Harris

TEx@ATA: Over the Sea, Under the Sky:
Contemporary Danish Tapestry
Curated by Ulrikka Mokdad
The Journey of the Viking Ship I 
Marianne Poulsen, 2000, haute-lisse, cotton warp, wool, linen, silk, metal threads, 200 x 250 cm, (photo by Jan Djenner)

 Visit our latest Tex@ATA online exhibition!
 'Over the Sea, Under the Sky' features works by contemporary Danish weavers produced during the last 15 year. The exhibition is curated by Ulrikka Mokdad, weaver and art historian. "It has been my intention to curate an exhibition of tapestries that relate to the Nordic landscape and seascape and to their connected history and myths. The artists represented here are united by their respect for the integrity of weaving, but there the resemblance ends. Some of them reflect their subject matter in potent realism, others let the woven surface blossom in vibrant natural lyricism and others compress emotional experiences into subtle symbols."