Friday, January 25, 2013

Tapestry revived

Agota Dolinay preparing the warp for the international tapestry project: Fate, Destiny and Self Determination.

I'm noticing these days that interest in tapestry is gaining momentum. Once again, its starting to ignite imaginations and delight our senses. Somehow, this time honoured technique still has a hold on us and persists in its ability to enchant and awe.

In a week or two the gobelin loom will be ready for us to start weaving a tapestry at the Toronto Weaving School. We'll have an official opening for the project so stay posted and come by to visit. Over the course of this endeavour I'm anticipating we'll  have several important and interesting people visit and hope that you will have the privilege of meeting them. If you'd like to participate in this project please join us. To date we now have 80 people participating worldwide.

Participants as of Jan 25, 2013
1.       Agota Dolinay, Ontario, Canada
2.       Ann Berman, Ontario, Canada
3.       Anne Vagi, Ontario, Canada
4.       Antje Goldflam, Connecticut, USA
5.       Anton Veenstra, Australia
6.       Barbara Heller, BC, Canada
7.       Charles Gee, British Columbia, Canada
8.       Christa Weitbrecht, Germany
9.       Christence Stubbe-Teglbjoerg, Denmark
10.   Christine Pradel-Yien, France
11.   Christopher Allworth, Nova Scotia, Canada
12.   Chung-Ja Jackson, Ontario, Canada
13.   Ciara Minden, Ontario, Canada
14.   Clare Coyle, Scotland
15.   Debbie Harris, Ontario, Canada
16.   Debbie Herd, Victoria, Australia
17.   Deborah Pawle, U.K.
18.   Debra Dubois, Arkansas USA
19.   Debra Greer
20.   Donna Wills, Ontario Canada
21.   Dorothy Clews, Australia
22.   Elaine Duncan, BC,
23.   Emmanuelle Holmes, Queensland, USA
24.   Emoke tapisserie, Marseille, France
25.   Ewa Bartosz Mazus, Poland
26.   Fariba Mahmoodian, Ontario, Canada
27.   Francois Seguin, Ontario, Canada
28.   Hilary Slater, Ontario, Canada
29.   Ixchel Suarez, Ontario, Canada
30.   Janet Austin, Rhode Island, USA
31.   Janine Dassonval, France
32.   Jayne Gaskins,  Florida, USA
33.   Jennifer Stafford, Michigan USA
34.   Joan Griffin, Virginia, USA
35.   Joe Lewis, Ontario Canada
36.   Juana Sleizer, Ontario Canada
37.   Judite Vagners, Ontario, Canada
38.   Judy Dominic, Ohio, USA
39.   Judy Kogan, Chile
40.   Kate Kitchen, Ontario, Canada
41.   Kathe Todd Hooker, Oregon, USA
42.   Kathleen Morris , Ontario, Canada
43.   Katia Wittock, Antwerp, Belgium
44.   Katie Rusell, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
45.   Krystyna Sadej, Ontario, Canada
46.   Linda Cunningham, Alberta, Canada
47.   Liv Pedersen, Alberta, Canada
48.   Louise Martin, Great Britain
49.   Maite Tanguy, France
50.   Marie Drury, New Zealand
51.   Marie-Thumette Brichard, Belgium
52.   Maximo Laura, Peru
53.   Megan Cleland, Ontario, Canada
54.   Merna Strauch, California, USA
55.   Michael Rohde, USA
56.   Mimma Draga, Ontario, Canada
57.   Miriam Constantino, Argentina
58.   Noella Kyser, Ontario, Canada
59.   Nowak Bernadeta, Poland
60.   Pam Huntley, Australia
61.   Pam Lowe, USA
62.   Patti Harden, MD, USA
63.   Pedro de Jesus Ibarra, Mexico
64.   Pedro Ibarra Hernandes, Mexico
65.   Ria Hartig, Ontario, Canada
66.   Roselyne Guittier, France
67.   Shanna Robinson, Michigan, USA
68.   Sharon Smith ?
69.   Stella Tang, Ontario, Canada
70.   Stephenie Collin, Auckland, New Zealand
71.   Stephnie Cantoni, Australia
72.   Susan Middleton, Ontario, Canada
73.   Susan Mowat, Scotland
74.   Susana Penaloza Donoso, Chile
75.   Sylvie Boyer, France
76.   Tommye Scanlin, Georgia, USA
77.   Tricia Goldberg, California, USA
78.   Vera Hazelgrove, Australia
79.   Vicki Jensen, MA, USA
80.   Yamile Roa, Ontario Canada

Ixchel Suarez will be coming to the Toronto Weaving School to give a three hour workshop on using textural techniques in tapestry weaving, Monday January 28 from 10am to 1pm. If you would like to know more email me at

Not too long ago, the Nottawasaga Weavers and Spinners in Alliston, were at a seminar in Midhurst and had some of their tapestry banners on display for other guilds across Ontario to view.

Tapestry resources, posts and info
The American Tapestry Alliance posts this about tapestry exhbitions occurring and other tapestry related events:

Rebecca Mezoff's blog is currently examining and pondering the American Tapestry Alliance biannual juried show in Texas this year. The show looks stunning and she looks admiringly at several tapestries on exhibit. A very inspiring exhibition! Worth a visit to her blog:

Another interesting site to visit is!/Aubusson.CitArt on Facebook. Cite de la tapisserie in Aubusson, France.

Here is place where they dye yarns for tapestry in France:

Tommye Scanlin, a tapestry artist in Georgia shares her thoughts while she is weaving her tapestry:

A video about a commissioned portrait woven by the Victorian Tapestry Workhop, now called the Australian Tapestry Workshop.

Ixchel Suarez posted this video on Facebook about a tapestry restoration video on YouTube:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Mini tapestry workshop and setting up the gobelin loom

Fate Destiny and Self Determination international tapestry project is well underway. At the Toronto Weaving School, Susan Middleton and Agota Dolinay wound the warp on the gobelin loom Monday January 14. 
Agota Dolinay and Mimma Draga completed the task on Wednesday January 16 using our low tech method of vinegar bottles half full to wind on the warp with consistent tensioning. We'll be tying on the warp to the bottom beam and soon all are welcome to weave on the tapestry.
Ixchel Suarez will be coming to the Toronto Weaving School to give anyone who wants to participate in a mini workshop in tapestry weaving, demonstrating various textural techniques on Monday January 28 between 10am and 1pm. Please bring your own frame loom and weaving yarn. Ixchel will have some frame looms available if you do not have one. We will only be doing small samples to try out the techniques. If you would like to do this workshop and are not registered in the class, the workshop is $20 plus materials and loom.
Agota Dolinay, Marlene Stubbins and Susan Middleton cut out shapes and it was a good thing since I've been mailing them at a feverish pace.
The tapestry weaving community as well as many other fibre artists and craftspeople have responded enthusiastically to participating in this international tapestry project. To remain updated you can visit the Facebook page at!/pages/Fate-Destiny-and-Self-Determination-An-international-tapestry-project/194385150700425 to keep abreast of who is participating. Friend me on FB too and then you can like the page and it will be easier to keep abreast participants and their contributions. Not including those already mentioned in this blog here is a list of who is participating and where they are from :

 Ann Berman, Ontario, Canada (will take 6 shapes to Guatemala  and ask indigenous people to weave them)
Antje Goldflam, Connecticut, USA
Anton Veenstra, Australia
 Barbara Heller, BC, Canada
Christence Stubbe-Teglbjoerg, Denmark
Chung-Ja Jackson, Ontario, Canada
Ciara Minden, Ontario, Canada
Debbie Herd, Victoria, Australia
 Debra Dubois, Arkansas USA
Debra Greer
Dorothy Clews, Australia
Elaine Duncan, BC, Canada (presently in Mexico)
Emmanuelle Holmes, Queensland, USA
Emoke tapisserie, Marseille, France
Hilary Slater, Ontario, Canada
Ixchel Suarez, Ontario, Canada
Janet Austin, Rhode Island, USA
Jayne Gaskins,  Florida, USA
Jennifer Stafford, Michigan USA
Joan Griffin, Virginia, USA
Joe Lewis, Ontario Canada
Judite Vagners, Ontario, Canada
Judy Dominic, Ohio, USA
Kathe Todd Hooker, Oregon, USA
Kathleen Morris , Ontario, Canada
Katia Wittock, Antwerp, Belgium
Katie Rusell, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Krystyna Sadej, Ontario, Canada
Linda Cunningham, Alberta, Canada
Liv Pedersen, Alberta, Canada
Louise Martin, Great Britain
Maximo Laura, Peru
Nowak Bernadeta, Poland
Pam Lowe, USA
Ria Hartig, Ontario, Canada
Shanna Robinson, Michigan, USA
Sharon Smith
Stella Tang, Ontario, Canada
Stephenie Collin, Auckland, New Zealand
Tommye Scanlin, Georgia, USA
Tricia Goldberg, California, USA
Yamile Roa, Ontario Canada

Kate Kitchen proudly showing a recently completed tapestry woven at the Toronto Weaving School. Kate has been a long time participant in the class and it's nice to have her  presence as she steadily  perseveres with her tapestry weaving.
Call for entry for small with the Handweavers Guild of America: Small Expressions
Ixchel advises us to watch this video about an amazing tapestry artist:
Tommye Scanlin, a tapestry weaver in Georgia lets us know about another tapestry weaver at this link:
Debbie Herd, fellow tapestry weaver tells us about this video on a tapestry weaver:

Saturday, January 12, 2013

International Tapestry project, Community Threads and much more about Tapestry

Line Dufour, tapestry weaver and instructor at the Toronto Weaving School, preparing warp threads for the International tapestry project, Fate, Destiny and Self Determination. Asking people from all over the world to participate in its weaving makes reference to its historical practice and the multicultural fabric that weaves Canada together. Photo credit: Susan Middleton.

Exciting things are happening here in Ontario regarding tapestry, most importantly, people's interest and enthusiasm are being (re)ignited after what seems a dormant period. There are many initiatives occurring, connecting with other tapestry weavers world wide, travels to places where tapestry weaving is taking place and its generating a lot of momentum here in Ontario which I, and many others, welcome. Many of you have already received the information below regarding the International tapestry initiative/installation. I wanted to point out that I will mail shapes to anyone who wants them if they are unable to send SASE. Also, the shapes don't have to be only tapestry woven; they can be felted, knitted, crocheted, fabric woven, etc...any fibre technique you wish. Below is a description of the project if you would like an overview and details on how to participate.
Recently I received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to co-create a tapestry installation entitled Fate, Destiny and Self Determination. Weavers and non weavers from all over the world are invited to participate.
The tapestry installation is composed of three sections. Section one will be woven entirely by myself in my studio. Section three will be woven on the Gobelin loom at the Toronto Weaving School in Toronto. Anyone and everyone is welcome to visit and weave a portion of the pre-determined design. Confirm with me the times and dates that the Toronto Weaving School is open for you to do so.
Section two is composed of shapes, not greater than 10cm (4”). Anyone who wishes to do so, can have a shape or as many shapes as they wish. The shapes can woven  in any tapestry or rug technique with whatever non perishable material or fibre you wish. Shapes can also be felted, needle felted, knitted, crocheted, sewn, needle pointed, embroidered and any other technique you choose. Use any colour on the colour wheel , preferably a pure hue.
Once all the sections are completed, they will be exhibited in a gallery. All who have participated will have their name included as being makers of the tapestry installation. I’ll be putting together a video and slide show of the project, and those of you who would like to weave individual shapes are welcome to make a short video of you doing so as well as submit still pictures. This video will be exhibited with the final tapestry installation.
To receive a shape or shapes indicate how many shapes you would like to weave and send me your address by email to or by any other means.
Mail completed shapes to Line Dufour, 25 Beckett Ave, Holland Landing, Ontario, Canada, L9N 1E6

I had prepared the warp threads for the project weeks before. Susan Middleton, shown here, agreed to assist me in dressing the gobelin loom earlier this week. Susan has been on a very interesting tapestry pilgrimmage, searching out very poignant and meaningful encounters with tapestry weavers worldwide. She is an experienced high school art teacher, now retired and pursuing her tapestry and natural dyeing interests intensively. I would recommend her as a guest speaker to any group or guild. Recently she emailed me:
I am sending you the link to the Web of Europe project. I especially liked reading about the artists involved in this project. And the diversity of their interpretations on the tapestry. Maria Almanza, the person who I studied with, has a very nice video of her working at her 16 harness loom, weaving one of the pieces in this project.
The link to the youtube video 'Listen to the Threads". The 8 min. version of my experience in Oudenaarde.
(It was made as a thank you to Maria and for family and friends who were curious about what I was doing) hope you enjoy it, too.
Susan and I spent the day sleying the reed and tying onto the Clement gobelin loom donated to the Toronto Weaving School by Neil MacInnis, who was featured in 2003 in an exhibit entitled Boys with Needles at the Textile Museum of Canada in 2003. We are glad to finally have the loom up and operating and have a purpose for it in this international tapestry project.
From left to right: Valerie Splaine, Jackie Tienussen, Ann Berman, Corrie Parsons.
Meanwhile, in Alliston, the Community Threads tapestry initiative continues and has not lost momentum. This is a dynamic group who are unafraid of any weaving challenge.

Betty Cerar, now the president of the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners writes:
Linda (Needles) took photos of the tapestries that were cut off the large loom today...Valerie (Splaine) began preparing the loom for the next warps, and two other tapestries on the small looms are with members, being worked on. Every week sees two or three members weaving in ends on the backs of the tapestries, and we are awaiting word as to whether we can hold our exhibit at the Gibson Centre.
Linda Needles, past president of the guild writes:
Two tapestries that have been on the Gobelin Loom since the Community Threads project started in July of 2011 were freed today as the Nottawasaga Guild members celebrated by cutting them off the loom. These tapestries have been created with the work of many hands; guild members, children, senior citizens, grandchildren, parents, spouses, Gibson Centre staff, out of town visitors and most importantly, interested community members who have come to see the project. The work of many hands over such a time period means that these tapestries have a unique look – certainly not the perfect work of an expert tapestry weaver but a look that shows enthusiasm and skill development as everyone progressed in their weaving and creative style. A huge sigh of relief was breathed since we achieved our goal of finishing these for the start of the new year… start all over again on two more!
Well said Betty and can do it!


And....that's not all.................

Sasha McInnes from Puchka Tours emailed me recently to say that this will be the last year she'll be doing the Peru Textile tours. She has 2 tours planned for this year so if you are free indulge yourself the experience. She also wrote:
A recent tour participant, Jayne Gaskins, wrote a wonderful article for Fiber Art Now about Maximo Laura, who some of you will be working with during your upcoming tour, and I wanted to share it with you and others who have already had that unique experience.
Sasha McInnes
2645 Mt Stephen Avenue
Victoria, British Columbia Canada V8T 3L5
(250) 360-1898 - land line/telefono fijo
 “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”  Maya Angelou

Recently I discovered a blog. It wasn't evident who wrote the blog at first and after sharing the link on FB and saying the person was a tourist describing her tapestry tour in Europe generated a lot of unexpected feedback. Much to my surprise, I was informed by Linda Wallace, herself an inspiring and interesting tapestry weaver in BC, that it was no other than Cresside Collette, one of the founding weavers of the then called Victorian Tapestry Workshop, and now called the Australian Tapestry Workshop. It's a fascinating read and definitely makes one want to go and follow the path she took:

Last but not least, if you are looking to buy a bas lisse 96" wide tapestry loom once owned by Helen Frances Gregor, Head of Textiles at the Ontario College of Art and Design (Toronto) prior to the 1990s, please contact Ursula Matrosov
Please contact Ursula at (905) 898-1580
More details are available with the attachment I sent with this email.
Keep dreaming those tapestry dreams and above all, keep weaving them!