Friday, June 22, 2012

A Busy Tapestry Studio and more

The last several months have been a whirlwind of activity and teaching and have seen many exciting things happen in terms of tapestry and weaving - much of here right here in Ontario. New tapestries just don't happen overnight as many of you know due to its long and to some tedious process so when suddenly there's lots going on, and happening it is cause to celebrate and give due praise to those who keep on weaving them.
Lynne Wilson-Orr showing the tapestry she bought from Maximo Laura while in Peru taking a workshop.
Three people who have taken my weaving classes have since travelled to Peru for weaving workshops through Puchka Tours.
Tapestry I believe is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, judging by the many people contacting me for private lessons in technique and design, as well as the mounting enthusiasm that I am seeing on an international scale. There is something about the tactile quality of tapestry that mesmerizes one. The touch of the fibres, the rythm of the contrast to the digital and austere environments many people work in. 
The back of the same tapestry.
Somehow pictures don't do tapestry any justice. There is something completely enchanting about its tactile qualities even visually. I love this tapestry, Pauline Abraham's first  after her tapestry sampler, based on a painting called Monument in Fertile Ground, 1929 by Paul Klee. The book that she found the painting in describes it as "Color bands of different lengths create the effect of spatial depth by converging on a sort of horizon, slightly lower than the centre of the painting. The yellow bands, like luminous milestones, appear to mark out a path through the painting." I like that she used an assortment of textured yarns, both weaving and knitting yarns.
This week, Pennelope Gilbertson asked me to meet her at the Gibson Centre in Alliston to interview me regarding the Community Threads tapestries for the magazine Footprints: . She made me feel at ease immediately with her lack of pretense, honesty, and naturalness. Everyone at the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners that had been working on these tapestries were there busily working away on different tapestries and related tasks. I felt so comfortable with Penelope that spewed way more than I probably should have but we were all so happy to have someone in her position be curious about what we are doing and taking the time to talk to us. It's such a coincidence that a person called Penelope would come to visit our weaving project. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia
" Penelope .... in Greek mythology was the wife of Odysseus and the mother of Telemachus. In Homer's Odyssey she is pictured as a chaste and faithful wife. When Odysseus was away, she was surrounded by suitors who tried to persuade her that he would never return. She agreed to choose another husband when she finished weaving her father-in-law's shroud, but this was never done, for she unraveled by night what she wove by day. At last her strategem was discovered, and the suitors were enraged. She promised to marry the man who could bend her husband's great bow. None of the suitors could do this but Odysseus, who had returned disguised as a beggar. With the aid of the strung bow, Odysseus slaughtered the suitors and then revealed himself to Penelope."
Sheep panel completed by Elisabeth Bishof.
Gibson Trucks panel - today Ann was working on this panel .

Another panel in being woven on by Corrie Parsons.
Janet Fayle and Valerie Splaine working on the finishing of the tapestries. Today, I was really struck by how much the group has accomplished, and I dare say, am hopeful that they just might be able to complete their twelve panels by the deadline, which is July 2013. Which brings me to another realization that come this July 7 it will be the Community Threads one year anniversary. For that, I plan to go into the Gibson Centre and make a small film of them working on it.

Left to right: Corrie Parsons and Ann Berman.
In the background Jean Kazmierczak and Gayle Wheeler  are spinning, in the foreground Lucy Tavares  and Libby Hoffman.
Jackie Tienussen making a cartoon. Linda Needles showed me how excellently and with utmost precision Jackie is doing this task. Thank you Jackie!
We had a very special guest today....and we considered it a great honour and we welcomed Christopher Needles (his mom Linda on his right) curiousity about the Community Thread's tapestries.  Christopher works for the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research as a Manager in Editorial Services and Media Relations in the heart of downtown Toronto. He played hookie from work to come and spend a few days 'in the country' with his family.

Sharon Gardiner, completed the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners Tapestry Unit and she blogged about one of the tapestries she created for that unit of study. The named the tapestry Kissy Fish. Go to this link to read more

To end off a few more pictures of Maximo Laura's tapestries from Lynne Wilson-Orr and her trip from Peru.