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!

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