Thursday, September 5, 2013

Community Threads Exhibition - 12 Community Tapestries by the Nottawasage Handweavers and Spinners

From left to right: Sandi Nemenyi, Libby Hoffman, Valerie Splaine, Linda Needles, Natalia Sugden, Janet Fayle. 
Two years ago the Community Threads tapestries project in Alliston Ontario was launched. Inspired by  a fibre artist in Leeds, UK, who worked  for 10 years on embroidered and quilted wall hangings celebrating the city’s history,  the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners asked me to help them design 12 handwoven tapestries depicting the cultural, leisure, agricultural, and historical aspects of the New Tecumseh municipality. Each panel has a theme or several themes, and four accompanying images. Starting from the left, In the first panel  different views of the Gibson Centre in Alliston are featured. The second and third panels feature rural views and monuments that are placed in these settings. The fourth depicts scenes of agricultural life, the fifth leisure and cultural activities, and the sixth show different views and buildings of the Banting Homestead. 
From left to right: Sandi Nemenyi, Valerie Splaine, Janet Fayle (notably absent is Elisabeth Bishof who must be credited for all she has done in weaving tapestries, and the finishing of the them.)
The panel on the left pays tribute to the Gibson Truck company and its contribution to the economic well being of Alliston. The eighth also shows agricultural life, but specifically the kinds of crops grown in the region, eg the last square is a canola field. The ninth features the South Simcoe historic train (, -  children's playground, a church and a trillium. Partially funded by the Ontario Arts Council this initiative could not have been  possible by  many volunteer hours of the members of the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners Guild, and some contributions from other members of the community. To date 9 of the tapestry panels are complete, the bulk of them woven by a handful of guild members. One in progress is being woven entirely with handspun yarn. It's still not complete but I am eager to see it. Two others are nearing completion and all 12 panels may be ready for display for the exhibition that will take place. Here are the details of their upcoming exhibition:

Gibson Centre
63 Tupper St. W, Alliston, Ontario
October 23-November 21, 2013
Opening Reception: Sunday October 27 2-5 pm

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