Thursday, July 19, 2012

Creativity is blossoming in the Community Threads tapestries

I was planning to visit the Community Threads tapestries in Alliston and see how they were coming along. I was also planning to make a very short video of the project in its middle phases. Since I was coming to visit them, Linda Needles wanted to also discuss and review the administrative details of the Community Threads tapestries.
 Corrie Parsons asked me to give her feedback on her work. She was inspired by the Comminity Threads tapestries project to create a couple of tapestries shorthly after we initiated the project. She created her own designs, which are free flowing and spontaneous. To a tapestry woven technique she added needle felting, assorted fabrics, embellishments...some new and used, to create a sumptuous textile feast. It was very engaging, whimsical and creative.
 another detail of the above tapestry
I hope that Corrie, with her newly revealed creativity, will transfer some of her vitality to the Community Threads tapestries. She is daring and fearless in her use of colour and textures and has a good eye for presentation as well.
  A second tapestry that Corrie wove and embellished.
Other activities going on, Ann and Jackie continued to work on cartoons as the designs keep changing. The group is getting more and more creative, and everyone now is generating a lot of good suggestions, can slow the weaving down for sure, but what's most important is the process, the interactions, the discussion of ideas....It's not possible to accommodate everyone's suggestions....but at some point, it might just be the right thing to do. Lots of initiative on their part, and it only means that they care for the project and its outcome.
I met two people for the first time today. One of them was  Martin Sugden. He's Nathalia's husband and has been coming in a number of times to weave on the tapestries. We definitely welcome all males to come and join us in weaving these tapestries. It used to be a male profession, and many males weave tapestries today such as Peter Harris and Thomas Cronenburg to name a couple. Lois Wyndham is the other person I met....all these years I've seen her name associated with Fibre Focus, or in previous times called The OHS Bulletin, a magazine published by the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners.

Betty Cerar is an avid (and excellent ) spinner and she has warmed to the idea of weaving some of the Community Threads tapestries. She needs a more efficient way to weave her image from her cartoon so if anyone can screw in a piece of masonite behind the warp threads, it would help with following the design and be less frustrating for Betty most certainly.
I hadn't seen Allanah since last summer and she has grown and looks more mature and certainly just as beautiful! She decided to join us today with her Grand Mother, Elisabeth Bishof (who is not in this picture). Allanah is on the right, and Nathalia Sugden on the left. They are both working on finsihing the back of the tapestries that have been completed for the Community Threads project.
Though the picture does this tapestry section any justice, it depicts the potatoe fields in the area of New Tecumseth. The white circles are 3 dimensional (textural).  The red bridge like looking design at the top of the tapestry is a machine used to water the crop of potatoes. Simplicity is still powerful and effective.

And finally, the video is now uploaded to YouTube. I've posted it on Facebook to my page

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Community Threads Tapestries week 52

The Community Threads tapestries are still going strong and is ongoing due to a steady and dedicated group of weavers from the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners Guild. Linda Needles, the president of the Guild, updated me this week. Weaving the image for the Gibson Trucks proved to me more challenging than anyone would have thought and they kept undoing what they wove because they were not satisfied with the results. When I was visiting last week, Jackie mentioned to me also that those involved in the process are becoming more and more confident in making aesthetic changes, both technically and artistically. They are all begining to trust   their artistic instincts and evolving their capacities.
On Canada Day, the Nottawasaga Guild was out strutting their stuff and they brought their completed tapestry banners (even though the finishing isn't completed) to show the public. Linda wrote: "(July 1st).... 3 of the completed tapestries celebrated their first Canada Day by going outside for the day. They joined the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners Guild at their demonstration of spinning and weaving at the community celebration held in Riverdale Park. It was a busy day with hundreds of people “oohing and “ahing” at the handiwork. Even Mayor Mike MacEachern came by to see our progress and was amazed at how they looked. " Mr. MacEachern had also attended our official opening for our Community Threads project. This weeks marks our first year anniversary and the project has greatly exceeded my expectations and I know it's only going to continue to do so.

Lastly, I am glad to announce that I have been asked by the American Tapestry Alliance Education program to be a mentor. I continue to have new tapestry students even over the course of the summer.