Thursday, October 31, 2013

Marketing Tapestry

Part of the purpose of this the Community Threads project was not just about designing and weaving the tapestries. This alone does not make one an artist or craftsperson. Another aspect that participants learned about was what an artist/craftsperson needs to do to promote and market their work. Many artists and craftspersons struggle with this and as guild members discovered, it takes a lot of effort and time. The participants in this project were very successful in engaging the community and the media and the opening reception evidenced their labours in that regard. They can pat themselves on the back for their very successful opening of the Community Threads tapestries in Alliston Ontario. Four different media sources came out to put the opening, the tapestries and their creators in the spotlight. One of them was the local CTV news which aired that same evening. Here is a link to the news clip:
The Mayor, Mike MacEachern also showed up for the reception and tweeted about the tapestries and opening. About 50-75 people showed up for the opening. Sandi Nemenyi designed a lovely brochure featuring the tapestries and explaining each one, as well as listing the projects participants. 
Agota Dolinay, Ellan Allas, and Lana Gregorovich at the opening. 
Betty Cerar, president of the Nottawasaga Weavers and Spinners writes: "We've learned so much, and I hope that the tapestries will continue to create interest in the fibre arts in our community, as they will enrich the spaces in which they are displayed.  I'm afraid our work is not at an end as we work with different venues to display the tapestries to a wider audience, and eventually make decisions as to where to hang them.  
Ann Berman with her sister.
Betty goes on to say: "We've had good media coverage.... .  We've had coverage from CTV, the New Tecumseth Times (the article will appear either this Thursday or next Thursday), Sapphire E-Zine attended (new material is usually posted at the beginning of the month, so it should be up within the week), the Alliston Herald's article appeared last Thursday.  SNAP South Simcoe came out and I believe photo coverage will appear in the November issue, out in a few days.  The Briar Crier (monthly publication for the residents of Green Briar) expects to be out on Nov. 1st for photos, but they would likely not appear until December.  I believe we've had some coverage from the local radio station.  We also had coverage from MadHunt on their website.

The project was advertised in In the Hills (print and on-line), Simcoe Tourism Website, Madhunt website, I think on the radio station website (I listed it but am not sure if it was actually posted), in the New Tecumseth Times and the Alliston Herald community events columns.  There will be a brief article by Susan Menzies in the Briar Crier in the upcoming issue, as well as a listing in their community events column, and the South Simcoe Arts Council has given us some coverage in their e-mails, I believe.  Ontario Handweavers and Spinners have promoted this through their e-mails to members, on their website, and unfortunately, they didn't list it in our Guild News in the latest issue.  I made sure to have our report in on time, but for some reason somewhere along the way it was omitted.  However, we will be writing a feature article about the project.  Oh, that will delay my getting up close and personal with fibre again, as I believe I agreed to write it.  Rats!  :-) 
Many people need to be thanked for their contributions to making the Community Threads tapestries a source of civic pride, which has increased the esteem and profile of the guild members. The exhibition is still on until the end of November: Gibson Centre, 63 Tupper Street West, Alliston Ontario. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Community Threads tapestries project coming to completion

Has it been over two years now that the Community Threads tapestries project commenced, and if I include planning and writing up the grant and then doing the report it will be a total of 3! Time has flown. I went into Alliston to visit the Gibson Centre and Linda Needles, the Managing Director of the project, was doing last minute preparations for the exhibition. Here she is working on a display to show the process of the entire project. Initially the plan was that I was coming to help them hang the tapestries for their upcoming exhibition, but when I arrived, though disappointed I wasn't involved in hanging them, the tapestries were already hanging, and the lighting highlighted their magnificence. Linda kept everyone focused on weaving the tapestries and without her ongoing direction and positivity, I wonder if these tapestries would ever have been woven. She's been tireless and indefatigable in that pursuit, and now she can stand proudly as 9 tapestries have been entirely completed and 3 more are almost done. 
Discussing and preparing the exhibition,  from left to right, Linda Needles, Lynda Mitchell Reynolds, the Executive Director of the South Simcoe Arts Council  and Ann Berman.
Though I took pictures of the exhibit I don't want to reveal it all and instead hope you will join us at least for the reception Sunday October 27 between 2-5 pm, 63 Tupper Street West, Alliston, Ontario, Canada, so that you can be awed and inspired by them. In attendance will Loree Lawrence, the Ontario Arts Council officer for the grant I received to undertake this initiative. A handful of weavers were particularly persistent in their weaving contribution and hope they will receive the recognition they deserve. To my knowledge (though forgive me if I have left anyone out), we have to thank Corrie Parsons, Valerie Splaine, and Elizabeth Bishoff  who were relentless and others too made considerable contributions to the project. One panel is being woven entirely with handspun yarn by Jean Kazcmierczak who will be at the opening reception weaving. Another panel was woven entirely by Sandi Nemenyi who is the President of the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners. 

Instead of helping hang the tapestries, Linda Needles filled me in on all the media attention they received for and the various tv, radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews they have had as a result of the Community Threads project.Maija Hoggett, shown here on the left, and a reporter for  The (Alliston) Herald, interviewed me about the project for an article she is writing, which she is hoping will appear in time to let people know about the opening reception on Sunday.
On display will be two of the remaining panels which will be woven during the reception. I'm thrilled that the project has been in my mind a great success. It has generated a lot of new members for the Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners. It has attracted a lot more people to tapestry weaving, and finally, the project garnered a lot of enthusiasm from the community and raised esteem and confidence among the guild members, as well as increased  regard and respect from the community

Tapestry contest:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ewa Bartosz Marzus

Ewa Bartosz Mazus from Poland sent this shape for the Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination project. Her website is below. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

International visitors and participants

Joe Lewis and Valya (on right) visited the Toronto Weaving School to work on the international tapestry project, Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination. Joe is a fibre artist with a penchant for weaving and has also explored jacquard weaving. He has been writing about what is going on in textiles with an eye to what is going on in Canada. "VALYA  is a fiber artist whose artwork has been exhibited extensively.... internationally, at venues such as National Art Museum, Lithuania, Oceanside Museum of Art, USA, Vision Art Museum, USA, Betriebsraum Gallery, Austria, TSEKH gallery, Ukraine, Mingei International Museum, USA,  Manezh Exhibition Hall, Moscow, Russia. Her work has been presented in anthology UKRAINIAN ART OF XX TH CENTURY, Ukraine, DECORATIVE ART OF UKRAINE OF THE END OF XX TH CENTURY,  500 ART QUILTS, Lark Book, 500 FELT OBJECTS, Lark Book, among many others. VALYA received several awards and diplomas, including Brakensiek Caught Eye Award at Oceanside Museum of Art and Honorable Mention at Kaunas Biennial TEXTILE’ 11, Lithuania.
Born in Ukraine, VALYA now lives and works in USA. In 2006, she opened her studio in Oceanside, California." 

 Arlette Schulman from Toronto, Ontario Canada, created these two shapes (above and below) for Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination.

Emoke tapisseries from Marseille, France created these two shapes of a material I haven't yet been able to identify. Looks and feels a lot like cassette tape. They are quite a remarkable technical challenge!
Judite Vagners created this tapestry based on a computer drawing created by a friend. Judite reproduced the drawing to give to her friend as a gift.

Susan Middleton writes: Tapestry is alive in Toronto. Just discovered this vimo video of a workshop of Turkish Kilm weaving that was presented at the public library in September. I was amazed at the number of participants and the level of interest and enthusiasm for this short workshop. Just thought that you might be interested in knowing about it. The looms that they are using are also interesting.
Hope you are having a good week.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tapestry weaves Community

COMMUNITY THREADS exhibition: Line Dufour and the Nottawasaga Handweavers & Spinners                                                              Opening reception: October 27 2-5pm
The Nottawasaga Handweavers and Spinners, situated at the Gibson Centre in Alliston, Ontario Canada,  asked me to help them design 12 handwoven tapestries depicting the cultural and historical aspects of the New Tecumseh municipality. The initiative commenced in July of 2011 and is entitled Community Threads.    The Ontario Arts Council gave me a grant to work with the guild to this end. Once the designs were created, there were many hours of creating the cartoons, preparing the yarns for the tapestries, and preparing the looms. 

During the project, I’ve been blogging about how the project has been evolving noting the people involved,  my own observations, insights and surprises as well as posting lots of pictures of the projects denouement:  I’ve been showcasing the talents of the guild members, many never realizing they had artistic aptitude, nor having much confidence. It’s been very rewarding to see their creativity emerge and blossom. Some guild members, after years of fabric weaving, are discovering that maybe tapestry is more their thing!  It’s been a positive experience for all of us. People have donated yarn, materials, equipment, food, and above all hours of their time. People have also donated time preparing audio visual presentations. Local papers, magazines, and the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners “Fibre Focus”  have written stories about the Community Threads initiative. . I made a video of the birthing of the project and you can see it on You Tube  

Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination/le sort, le destin et l'auto-determination.
Weavers and non weavers from all over the world are participating in  co-creating a tapestry installation entitled Fate, Destiny and Self Determination/le sort, destin et l'auto-determination.  

The tapestry installation is composed of three sections. Section one is being woven entirely by myself in my studio. 

Section three is being 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. You are welcome to participate Mondays and Wednesdays 10am to 9pm except on October 14 2013. 255 Royal York Road, 2nd floor, Room 30. Email me (Line Dufour) at \

Section two is composed of shapes, not greater than 10cm (4”).  186 people have asked for 230 shapes from 20 different countries.  The shapes can woven  in any tapestry or rug technique with whatever non perishable material or fibre. If you would like to create a shape contact me at So far, 81 shapes have been returned and documented on my blog. Below, recent shapes that have arrived. 

 MarieThumette Brichard, France

Once all the sections are completed, they will be exhibited in a gallery and the exhibition may end up touring. 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. This video will be exhibited with the final tapestry installation. 
Janette Meetze, Oklahoma, USA.
Bernadeta Nowak, Poland. 

Kate Kitchen, Ontario Canada.
A Weave-In project inspired my other community based tapestry endeavours. Shown here Marie Payne and Gail Sheldon and below Fran Gurwitz.

Tapestry by Marie Thumette Brichard, France. 

1.       Jobs at the Dovecot in Edinburgh (for a weaver and a rug tufter)
The deadline for applications is soon. For more information visit their web page

Lynn Mayne writes:
Traveling south from Michigan this week gave me the opportunity to visit “Outside The Line,” ATA’s Small Tapestry International 3 in Troy, Ohio. This second venue of the show is just six miles off I75 in a landmark mansion on the main street which has been converted intoa cultural center owned by the city.

The show is up a wide staircase on the second floor on beige fabric-covered walls. I enjoyed seeing these actual works which in manycases were even more impressive than their images in the exhibition’scatalog. The dimension and color of the catalog cover tapestry, “Colorin” Books" by Sharon Crary was striking. Margo Macdonald’s “Ebey’s Prairie” was made even more beautiful by the paper collage mounting which doesn’t show up in the catalog picture. Similarly, I
could really appreciate the delicacy of Dorothy Clews’ “The SpaceBetween” by seeing it in person. “Beyond the Line - A Sense of Injustice” by Suzanne Fitzgerald was arresting and Joyce Hayes’ “Etude
4” just shimmered.

This upstairs space could have used more tapestries and would have been better if the eight small and 3D pieces would have been positioned with the others instead of being enclosed in a big display cabinet on the first floor. The exhibit coordinator told me that this show met the center’s requirement for a traveling show, especially since it is an international one. I also want to encourage anyone who can to visit The Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC for the Tapestry Weavers South show, “ The Beat Goes On.” This is a beautiful big show with 49 tapestries in a high-ceilinged gallery. The exhibition will be on display until January 12, 2014.

to see Lynn Mayne's work go to:

3.       ARAKNE exhibition in Norway, Opens Saturday October 12 (flyer and invitation attached)
From Anne-Kirsti Espenes:
Enclosed invitation and flyer for Tapestry Group ARAKNE’s exhibition in Galleri Rød, Halden, Norway.
Artist Talk  Friday Oct. 11th 18.00.
Opening Saturday Oct. 12th 12.00.
Theme for the exhibition is ‘100 th Anniversary for Universal Suffrage in Norway’.
 Kind regards, on behalf of ARAKNE, Anne-Kirsti Espenes