Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mississauga Handweavers and Spinners

Carole Neely
Carole Neely from the Mississauga Handweavers and Spinners rallied members to weave shapes for the Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination/le sort, le destin et l'auto determination tapestry project. What a surprise to receive a dozen a half shapes in the mail.
Carole Neely
When you look up the meaning of guild and its historical evolving role, I couldn't help but notice that guilds have always been associated with learning and education, of handing down time honoured practices, of a respect for the tools and materials be worked. This is certainly what weaving guilds continue to do - provide a fraternity of a sort, focused on the practice of weaving and spinning, and now sometimes also felting, knitting etc... For more interesting information about guilds go to
Cheryl Seaton
Guilds also at one time became very powerful and wealthy but then suffered a decline because they were not responsive to changing times and needs, in particular, they seemed to impede capitalism. Reading books by Ross King such as Brunelleschi's Dome, gives one great insight on how significant a role these guilds played. 
Cheryl Seaton
In this book, silk merchants, became very powerful and wealthy in Florence for instance and literally shaped the appearance of the city by overseeing its architecture, and art such as sculpture.
Cheryl Seaton
Guilds and the system they had in place for training and creating masters at their respective craft, brings to mind also manufacturing to some degree. It is with tapestry  that manufacturing was first coined as a term to produce a quantity of similar products. It started with the Manufacture des Gobelins, situated in Paris on 42 rue des Gobelins. Guided visits are at 1pm at last check in, when after reading on the website that visits were at 2pm and arrived too late! I was very disappointed. Here is more about the museum and site: To learn more about the history of  manufacture Gobelins go to

Cheryl Seaton

Gobelin started creating tapestries in 1602. Prior to that they were a dye house and this is how they built up their assets and wealth. Their main competitors were Aubusson and Beauvais, especially in the 17th and 18th century.
Heather Lawrie
To some extent it does feel like this tapestry project is being 'manufactured' because I give it over to others to accomplish the work and weaving on so much of it. It differs in that the manufacturing is not happening in one locations, but in many locations all over the world. Social media and technology is transforming many of work situations, and artists and craftspeople are not excluded from this transformation. I can see it now.....I'll be able to print a tapestry with a 3d printer......
Marion Matson
Thanks to the Mississauga Handweavers and Spinners for the immense contribution to the project.
Susan Smart

Susan Smart

Kathleen McDonald

Kathleen McDonald

Kathleen McDonald....this one looked like it was done with handspun!

Louise Fulton

Louise Fulton

 Learn more about this guild -

Monday, December 16, 2013

Thomas Cronenberg

Thomas Cronenberg sumbitted these four shapes for the international tapestry project: Fate, Destiny and Self Determination/le sort, le destin et l'auto-determination. Thomas wrote: 
I've woven a T within a non-square shape; it seemed more appropriate to the feeling of the project. I like the way the shapes look like shards, or fragments. This T could read a T, or perhaps an arrow or other character. There is something slightly enigmatic that I like about the approach.

When I was a little girl, I remember I had to sing the song Que sera, sera for a concert. It was a song that Doris Day sang in the 1950s and made popular. Essentially it said that we are unable to predict the outcomes in our lives and that our fate/destiny is not entirely knowable, predictable or controllable. Somehow, the future is obscured and vague and ambiguous. For some this is comfortable. For others it causes great uneasiness. Regardless, when faced with our own hopes, dreams and aspirations it can certainly be baffling, bewildering, confusing, perplexing and puzzling. Often I feel I am just groping my way through, as though blind....and taking it day by day, feeling and thinking my way through life, with my goals shaping the actions I take and the words I speak. 

I've always like that sense of mystery of not knowing for in that state, there is the opportunity of exploring, of venturing out into the world, of finding out, the unfolding of a life, which may or may not be exactly as one had anticipated.
To see more of his work go to : and

To see the entire Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination page on Facebook go to the link below. While you are there, like the page:

Cite de la Tapisserie - Aubusson newsletter

Call for Entry:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Solitary and Social practice

Ellen Allas at the loom in Peru with Puchka Tours and the Maximo Laura workshop/studio.
Tapestry weaving is usually considered a solitary practice, In part this is what can draw people into tapestry weaving.  I've read some great books about solitude and it's very much connected to the process of creativity. In solitude, we have time to connect to our own thoughts and feelings, our own ideas. Through solidtude, we reflect on other things going on in our lives and to find meaning in it all. From the chaos created from the tangled threads of thoughts, emotions, relationships and life situations, we can find some order in these moments of solitude. 
Corrie Parsons with her recently finished panel for the Community Threads tapestries
What has been great about the Community Threads tapestry project in Alliston and the ongoing Fate, Destiny and Self Determination international tapestry project is that it has introduced a social element into the process. The weaving classes themselves are also a vehicle for sociability in weaving. People making new connections, new friendships, and of course learning all at the same time. 
Agota Dolinay shown here helping with finishing of section one of the international tapestry project, Fate, Destiny and Self Determination/le sort, le destin et l'auto-determination. Bambi Rutledge also came in today to help get this part of the process underway. 
Overall I think most of us seek some balance between the two...times of solitude, times of sociability - neither of which we would appreciate if we didn't have both. 
At the Opera, by Bambi Rutledge
Christine Shipley wrote: The only thing one can give an artist is leisure in which to work. To give an artist leisure is actually to take part in his creation. -Ezra Pound, poet (1885-1972) Perhaps I would add to that solitude as well for without it, it is more challenging to be creative. By receiving the Ontario Arts Council grants for the two tapestry projects, it has certainly enabled me as an artist to follow my larger creative urges.
Emmanuelle Holmes, Australia

Sidsel Moreb, USA (Florida)

Janis Hunter, Australia. 
Christine Shipley created this shape with handspun merino/bamboo and hand dyed yarn. Christine teaches weaving in Scarborough Ontario through the Parks and Recreation at Cedar Ridge as well as at the Markham Guild of Weavers and Spinners. 
"When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude."

— The Prelude by Wordsworth
 102 shapes from 21 different countries have been received to date and more are on their way. 

Dorothy Clews shared this link on Facebook about how one woman created a tapestry warp:

Susan Middleton sends along this link to a video featuring Peter Harris talking about his work:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

101st shape received

Sidsel Moreb from Florida USA submitted some of these photos of her process. One of her tapestries is featured here: and you can friend her on Facebook:

Emmanuelle Holmes from Australia send two shapes. Her family is focused on this endeavour: and you can find her on Facebook

This gem arrived from Australia. Janis Hunter wove it. Janis didn't send me any other information about her tapestry weaving endeavours unfortunately. 

Woven by Juana Sleizer, Toronto Canada.