Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Community Threads: Week Ten

Sunday September 11 was the opening reception of my tapestry exhibit Wholeness, featuring mostly tapestries and some other fibre related work. This event was also the official launch day for the Community Threads tapestries initiative funded in part by the Ontario Arts Council and undertaken by the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners Guild. The event was well attended and by my count, about 60 people came by to the Gibson Centre for Community, Arts and Culture. Quite a few of the guests came from out of town and had a minimum of one to two hour drive each way. Thanks to them for braving it. Among the guests, shown here in this photograph, Lynda Mitchell Reynolds, the Executive Director of the South Simcoe Arts Council, Mike MacEachern, Mayor of New Tecumseth. To learn more about this lovely towship go to

Since I had two years to prepare for the solo exhibition, I was able to create about 6 new pieces.....5 of which were tapestries. Shown here, are two of my most recent pieces which the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners helped in the finishing. These two pieces entitled Chakra 5 and 7 are shown here left to right. The chakras present us with a system to weave together body, mind, heart and spirit. This system of beliefs works well in describing how I choose to live my life and practice my artistic and artisinal endeavours, always trying to keep in balance the various needs we have as humans.
The Gallery at the Gibson Centre is a wonderfully restored historic warehouse. It once was a home to manufacturing agricultural machinery. It has been in the Gibson Family a long time, who make a significant contribution to Alliston's economy. They have a fleet of transport trucks that do much of the hauling for Honda, who also employs a large number of people in the area. The building was donated to the community to host its various social and cultural activities. I liked that it had a cash bar for people which meant I didn't have to be out of pocket for refreshments.

I thank Sharon Robinson and Greg Rodrigo for taking most of the pictures (and videos) of the event. Most of the pictures here are ones that Sharon took. Greg put together an outstanding slide and video presentation of the entire process of the Community Threads project to date. Everyone stopped to look at it and were mesmerized and awed.

What has touched me so profoundly is the positive feedback, praise and support of so many people, of the exhibition and the Community Threads endeavour. Debbie Harris, herself a talented tapestry weaver, couldn't believe that the designs for the tapestries had been done by people who had never painted before. Only two or three people had had a lot of experience painting. The rest were novices.

The weaving guild members continued weaving on the Community Threads tapestries during the reception. Here we see Janet Fayle at the top and Elisabeth Bishof at the bottom. Both of these two women have been working steadily during the entire project thus far.

Here a guest, Michelle Brady, an Art Director in the film industry, tries her hand at tapestry weaving.

Funded in part by the Ontario Arts Council.

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