Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day Two Community Threads tapestries

The excitement emanating from the participants and filling the room generated by the Community Threads project has increased exponentially from last week. It was palpable. It is galvanizing weavers, painters, Gibson Centre staff, in a positive, stimulating and creative way. The joy in the room was abundant and I felt so lucky to be a part of this Community Threads project.

So lucky to see transformed before me the participants faces, as their fear about going outside their comfort levels subsided, their self doubts pushed aside, and they joined in the fun. People who were not comfortable in painting last week, joined in this week, bringing paintings they had tried on their own, and joined the others in continuing to create paintings today. People like Flo Thomson (above) who has been in Alliston since 2003 and has lived in Ontario for a number of decades and originally from Newfoundland. Today Flo decided to paint the Obelisk in Alliston, a monument to the founder of Alliston, William Fletcher, 1791-1871.

Lucia Tavares came out today and without reservation jumped in and created a painting towards the project.

Jean Kazmierczak preparing skeins.

Other activities were occurring at the same time. Elizabeth Bishof, Jean Kazmierczak and Nellie Waterson were helping to prepare wool skeins for the dyeing we’ll be doing with Pat Burns Wedland and Barbara Hilts August 6 & 7. The dyed yarn will be then be used in the weaving of the tapestries. Nellie mentioned that the town of New Tecumseh was named in honour of an Shawnee Chief (1768-1813). On line I learned that he fought against white rule, but ended up joining forces with the British in the war of 1812 when they captured Detroit.

Nellie Waterson winding balls from skeins.

Libby Hoffman painted the Gibson trucks, Janet Fayle created a number of landscapes
A few participants braved doing figures....Linda Needles of Scottish dancers, Sandi Nemenyi of a pianist, Mattie Sullivan of hockey players and Allanah Bishof of a female guitarist. All had never tried figures before so they must be commended on taking the risk. Carol Watson, an artist and felter, contributed a winter scene, and will bring in others to contribute to the Community Threads project. Barbara Hilts also got on the painting bandwagon. Barb said she would reserve the gallery for October 2013, when we will hang all 12 tapestries and present the self guided brochure which she will create.

Libby Hoffman

Assembling the Gobelin Loom

Carol Watson, Gayle Wheeler and Dawna Beattie

with chief engineer Mattie Sullivan

The gobelin loom set up.

Judy Pirone from the Alliston Independent who wants to feature the Community Threads project in the paper and weave the tapestries. Beside her Mattie and Flo.

I applaud all of the participants in going outside their comfort level. It is so endearing to see how very humble everyone is about their own artistic and creative talents. How courageous of them to attempt to paint and to create these paintings which will later be translated into tapestries. Their lack of confidence in their artistic abilities only made for more vibrant, vital paintings. I think these feelings are a very important part of the creative process requiring a vulnerability, uncertainty, receptivity, taking the process of making and creating moment by moment, and being present to the flow of your creative forces.

I am learning so much too about the history and community life of New Tecumseh, the important facts about the community and area that I was entirely unaware of. I am getting to know the people participating in the Community Threads endeavour. Making new connections and new friendships.

To those still in the wings, succumb to your curiosity and come see what is going on. We welcome any contribution you can make to the Community Threads project. Warps to be prepared, skeins to be wound, looms to be dressed. We need someone who would be good at making calls to companies and charitable organizations for their donation, no matter how small. There are still a few things that have to be paid for that are not covered by the grant. Next week we’ll also be collecting all the paintings, and organizing them into the final designs for the tapestries. Come and contribute in some way to creating a lasting legacy for the community of New Tecumseh.

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