The president of the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners, Linda Needles, wrote to me recently to update me on the progress of the Community Threads tapestries in Alliston. I'm including what she wrote below. I've also attached the latest tapestries to be completed by assorted members in the group. I'm very proud of them for having the courage to undertake such an ambitious project AND following through with it. What dedication and perserverance, qualities that all weavers and spinners and possess in abundance!
Linda writes: “After receiving the “Artist in the Community” grant from the Ontario Arts Council in the Spring of 2011, Line got us into high gear to begin our “Community Threads” project. This was a project with a timeline of 2 years and, with her enthusiasm and energetic approach to begin the project, we all thought, “My Goodness, what have we gotten our guild into”?
We photographed local sites, painted pictures, made cartoons, sorted wool, gathered looms and began. Newbies we were but oh, what Line helped us learn.
Well 6 months have passed and our fears have been dissipated and our enthusiasm engaged because, we are well on the way.
We’ve come a long way from July, when we began by taking photos of the New Tecumseth area, of activities and places of interest. These photos have now been realized in the paintings and cartoons and are coming to life in the few sections of the tapestries that have been finished.
Elisabeth and Libby are working on one loom (a Penelope), having taken it home Dec 1 and now have finished 2 sections of one tapestry - a golfer and a guitar player.
Valerie also took home a Penelope loom and finished four sections to complete a whole tapestry. Yay, only 11 more to go!
The large Gobelin loom at the Gibson Centre is busy each Thursday during our open studio day. Ann has been working on one of the tapestries and has 1 ½ sections complete. Corrie, Nellie and Linda have been working on the other one and are starting the second section. Nellie, our senior member wants to work on some tapestries at home so she bought herself a new Kromski harp loom to work on during the winter.
Other members gather each week to weave on the tapestry looms and floor looms, to spin, sort wool colours, plan new projects and provide encouragement to all as we move forward with the Community Threads. Our turnout is usually about 12 people, considerably increased from 6 months ago.
This project has generated a lot of excitement and curiosity in the community and consequently has brought in many visitors to our studio, many of whom are directed there by the Gibson Centre staff who are great promoters of the project. In addition, as a result of this project, we have gained a few new guild members who are willing to try their hand on our sampler loom. Recently the Canadian Tapestry Network Newsletter featured the project with lots of pictures and a lengthy article. An article was also written up for the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Fibre Focus.
We hope to engage more community members and start to make presentations to community groups as well as demonstrate in public places to share our enthusiasm with others.