Friday, November 29, 2013

Ode to Tapestry

We're on the last few inches of the public section of the international tapestry project, Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination/le sort, le destin et l'auto-determination. This week a number of people put in time to bring this section of the tapestry installation to completion (weaving-wise). After her visit on this day, Bambi Rutledge wrote me and said:
         Thank you for today’s visit and work and opportunity to see other weavers’ work! I liked the large Navaho-looking tapestry located towards the back of the main room -  so crisp and clean!* And I liked the small English post-card weaving of seaside shelters**. I love feeling the yarns and thinking about the process from critter to product and how ancient it all is!         I appreciated the tasty treats too ….It was odd somehow hearing the discussion about Out of the Cold…I know Sr Susan Moran, OLM, who started the program with the students at St Michael’s College School and she is still a go-getter. She works with refugees now and also with organizing housing for individuals (mostly women more recently) with mental health issues near Yonge and St Joseph Streets, closed to where I work. She received the Order of Canada a little while ago. (* This referred to Debbie Harris' Navajo rug she has been working on for awhile. Debbie is shown below on the right. ** here Bambi is referring to Christine Shipley's small tapestry series.)
Francois Seguin and Debbie Harris 
This tapestry project is playing out for me like a symphony. A symphony requires an orchestra. An orchestra, musicians. Each musician plays their part, without which, the symphony could not exist. Each person is playing the threads of this silent music. Together our creating of this tapestry is a beautiful and harmonious melody. Though the playing of an instrument is solitary, as often the weaving process is, everyone is playing their threads to create a rousing and vigourous arrangement, a celebratory ode to tapestry. This is fairly remarkable in a world that seems to praise and reward egotism and narcissism.
Jutta Polomski and Agota Dolinay
To see the shapes that have arrived to date go to the Facebook page for Line Dufour and on my home page click on the Fate Destiny and Self Determination page.
Kate Kitchen and Francois Seguin were the last two people to be weaving on the tapestry and brought this part of it to completion. The video link is attached below. 

Carla Duncan tied off the warp and cut off the tapestry. Now we are ready to do the finishing work on it. Any volunteers? Lunch is on me if you let me know when you can join me.

Back to the Community Threads tapestries, also funded by the Ontario Arts Council - Linda Needles wrote to tell me that the weaving of the last two panels on the gobelin loom is now complete:
from left to right: Lynda Mitchell Reynolds- executive director of the South Simcoe Arts Council, Valerie Splaine, Linda Needles, Sandi Nemenyi, Corrie Parsons and not sure who the last person is. 

As you may know, these tapestries were woven in Alliston Ontario, the hometown of Frederick Banting, one of the inventors of insulin. You can visit the Banting Homestead when you are in the area. In his spare time, Banting painted and recently one of his canvases, French River,  went up for sale. To read more about the story go to

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Season of Giving

Mai-Liis Toome and Ellan Allas recently returned from Peru after taking a tapestry workshop with Maximo Laura. 
We are not only blessed and fortunate  to  have the weaving class environment to come to, where joy and enthusiasm for weaving runs rampant, but we are also very fortunate to have the means and the time to weave. Some can also afford to go to far flung places to do so. Others can acquire expensive equipment. Most cannot, and even fewer can even make weaving their hobby. Not only is weaving an investment in terms of time, but also  financial. This week I am inspired not only by how generous and supportive people are at the Toronto Weaving School aka TDSB weaving classes....and their donations, without which we might not be here as life 'on the outside' of our weaving sanctuary gets leaner and meaner. I am inspired by how much people have donated their time to the international tapestry project, Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination: le sort, le destin et l'auto-determination.  I am also  inspired by people's kindness, understanding, patience....and this generates only more of the same. This kindness and generosity manifests in other parts of people's lives....many in the class volunteering their time to charitable organizations such as and Out of the Cold,  initiatives for the homeless and marginalized...initiatives to help make the city a better place to live in (despite certain recent political events!). 

Enter a call for entry for small tapestry.... HGA's Small Expressions

Another call for entry for tapestry and fibre related work:
Agota Dolinay, recently returned from taking a workshop with Maximo Laura in Peru, returns to contribute to the intrnational tapestry. 

Share how you came to be a tapestry weaver and your tapestry journey with the American Tapestry Alliance at:
Susan Middleton and Deirdre Meyer
Susan has been helping with this project since the beginning, which was January 2013. She helped me set up the warp, a big task. She's been coming periodically to weave on the international tapestry project and after her recent visit she wrote:
Dear Line, It was a joy and privilege to work on the tapestry project yesterday. It seems like such a short time since setting up the mass of warp threads. It is wonderful to see them transformed into this vibrant piece by the many hands that have worked on it and by your vision and exciting mixing of colours. Many thanks for creating a wonderful environment where ideas can grow and be shared by all.
Bambi Rutledge from Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, took my classes over 10 years ago. The project inspired her to come and find us and tapestry weaving again!
 An inspiring story about why one woman 'makes':
Tapestry students from right to left: Susan Grimbly, Barbara Aikman, Diane Gillis, Caroline Castilloux, Gert Rogers.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


More helping hands for the international tapestry project: Lis Baston from our weaving class and Christine....who was visiting before she went off for her Reiki class. 
"Resistance is futile" I proclaimed (one of my favorite quotes from Star Trek ) as one of my weaving students said that she was 'socializing'! Why did I get it in my head that we should get so serious anyways? Must have been that teacher training I took at the University of Toronto that drilled me about what teaching is. There is a momentum in our weaving classes that is very energizing and keeps us all excited about weaving. The environment is more like a studio and less formal than the conventional course and this is how participants want it. They want the social component,  they want to interact together. Like many weaving groups, such as guilds, weavers are very helpful to others. They can never seem to do enough to help you out ...not just in weaving but what ever other challenges you might be facing. This kind of real human connection, where we feel unjudged, accepted and even embraced for who we are, is what makes our weaving classes a pleasure to be in. All of the participants contribute to making this a great place to be weaving together. What, you might ask, is my role in all this. Definitely not a traditional definition of teacher. Perhaps my role is more about making sure all that you need is there to make what you want to weave happen. My experience in weaving is also necessary in realizing the many projects people accomplish.
Aliona Karpov, who resides in Morrocco, sent me her picture and 4 woven shapes to contribute to the international tapestry project. It's wonderful how unique each person's contribution is. This brings our total up to 95 received shapes. 

And so,  I've learned while teaching the classes, that real connection with others comes in the physicality of doing, in materiality, in actions, interactions, processes and events shared by an assortment of individuals. Weaving is an appropriate metaphor for engagement and activity with others. Both can be described as a means of producing a coherent united whole or collaboration through the combining and interlacement of various elements. All these individuals are like threads  woven into a community fabric through this one shared activity a permanent reminder of our shared history and values. This was really driven home to me in my recent Community Threads tapestries project where everyone had skills, abilities and resources to contribute to making the project a successful one. It wasn't about one individual getting all the acclaim or having to do all the work. Great things can happen when we pull together, are cohesive and put aside our differences. 
Susan Middleton shared with me this handmade foamcore loom that she can carry easily in her bag and weave anywhere she goes, even while in transit! Thank you Susan for sharing this with those of us who are hopelessly addicted!

Here are some of our tapestry weaving students. Left to right: Marlene Stubbins, Jane Richmond, Jutta Polomski
It's that time of year again when classes are coming to an end and it's time to register for the Winter session. Classes re-commence January 13 and 15. Go to and register to learn tapestry. 

and more tapestry students.....Gert Rogers, Susan Grimbly and Diane Gillis. We still have at least another half dozen.....

Tapestry links and resources
Aubusson tapisserie in France:

Tapestry artist retreat in Bulgaria:
My name is Silvia Haralambova. I am a Bulgarian artist, living and working
in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria. Works of mine can be seen on the following web

My husband and I are running an Artists Retreat in the village Patalenitza,
Bulgaria. This is a place where we invite artists to live and work in a
tranquil rural site and to concentrate on their own artistic activities.
The retreat can accommodate up to 2 persons at one time, so artists can
come with a partner or a friend. The retreat is a non smoking area.

The price is 45 EUR per night for the whole retreat, including electricity,
water, linen, towels and full kitchenette. The retreat is open from 1-st of
May till 30 September. Application process is simple and via e-mail ? we
request some samples of works, CV and the desired dates.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

More hands weaving the international tapestry project

The push is on to finish this portion of the tapestry installation for December 2, 2013. 
Barb Hilts came by last week to contribute to the international tapestry project. She is a very talented silk painter who teaches the techniques on Tuesdays through the Toronto District School Board. She has been doing silk painting for many years and is very knowledgeable about it. To know more about her, her work and classes go to:
From Chile originally, Juana Sleizer,  like many tapestry weavers, has been doing this a long time. She also came by last week to help contribute to the international tapestry project, Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination. You can learn more about her work at
Kate Kitchen and Mimma Draga seem a little cheered by weaving the bright colours of the international tapestry project. Kate continues to be a registrant at the Toronto Weaving School and creates tapestries and handwoven scarves. 
Elizabeth Evans and Susan Middleton who you've seen in previous posts, came in this week and we enjoyed having them join us. 
Pam Hutley sent this shape from Australia. She writes: "The logo in the tapestry is a representation of the Brigalow tree, Acacia harpophylla. This tree grew in thick shrubs in the area I grew up and lived in, Queensland Australia." You can see more of her work at About the colour Dorothy Cloews wrote a while back: On looking up Royal blue I found this information- 
'Royal blue describes both a bright shade and a dark shade of azure blue.
It is said to have been invented by millers in Rode, Somerset, a consortium
of which won a competition to make a dress for the British queen, Charlotte
of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.[3]
Traditionally, dictionaries define royal blue as a deep to dark blue, often
with a purple or faint reddish tinge.
By the 1950s, many people began to think of royal blue as a brighter color,
and it is this brighter color that was chosen as the web color "royal blue"
(the web colors when they were formulated in 1987 were originally known as
the X11 colors, since the World Wide Web did not come into operation until
1991). The World Wide Web Consortium designated the keyword "royalblue" to
be this much brighter color, rather than the traditional darker version of
royal blue'
Who cannot resist going down these side trails

Aruna Reddy sent 4 shapes. In the last three she used assorted textural techniques. She is a member of the British Tapestry Group in the UK and you can see more of her work at their website: and she has exhibited her work in the UK. She writes in her artist statement: " My work is an eclectic mix of fibre art and weaving....and I enjoy the tactile quality of the work which is very textural. In my work I use a variety of materials apart from wool and cottons such as recycled materials: plastic bags, carpet tiles and other found objects and materials. I alos use other textile techniques in my owkr such as crochet, knitting, needle weaving, finger weaving and embroidery. As a designer I am interested in surface patterns recurring in my environment, glimpses of images in passing and the natural envrionment."
FATE, DESTINY AND SELF DETERMINATION/le sort, le destin et l’auto-determination
91 received shapes as of November 7  2013

Tricia Goldberg, California, USA               
Therese Jarry, Blaison, France                                  
Tayeoun Kim, Korea                                                      
Susan Middleton, Ontario, Canada                         
Stephanie Cantoni, West Australia                         
Stella Tang, Ontario Canada                                       
Sofia Verna, Umbria, Italy                           
Sharon Smith, Ohio, USA                                             
Pat Scholz, Australia,
Pam Hutley, Australia                                                   
Noella Kyser, Ontario  Canada                                  
Myrna Lindstrom, BC, Canada                                   
Michael F. Rohde, California, USA                           
Merna Strauch, California, USA                                
Melanie Siegel, Ontario, Canada                                             
Maximo Laura, Peru                                                      
Mary Lane, Washington, USA                    
Marie Thumette Brechard
Marian Constantino                                                       
Mai Liis Toomes, Ontario, Canada                           
Madeleine Darling-Tung, Ontario Canada           
Louise Lemieux Berube, Quebec , Canada          
Liv Pedersen, Alberta, Canada                                  
Linda Maxwell, Nova Scotia Canada                       
Leonore Johnston, Ontario Canada        
Krystyna Sadej                                                                 
Kirsten Glasbrook, UK                                                   
Katie Russell, Scotland                                                 
Katia Wittock, Belgium                                                
Kate Kitchen, Ontario Canada                                   
Karen Piegorsch, Arizono, USA                                 
Judy Kogan, Argentina                                                 
Judy Dominic, Ohio USA                                                              
Judite Vagners, Ontario, Canada                                             
Juana Sleizer, Ontario Canada                                  
JaQueline Keller, Saskatchewan, Canada                            
Janette Meetze, Oklahoma, USA
Janet Austin, Rhode Island, USA                                              
Ixchel Suarez, Ontario, Canada                                                 
Francois Seguin, Ontario, Canada                            
Ewa Bartosz-Mazus, Poland
Emoke tapisserie, Marseille, France.                     
Elaine Duncan, BC, Canada                                         
Dorothy Clews, Australia                                            
Donna Wills, Ontario, Canada                                   
Donna Kim, Ontario Canada                       
Chung-Ja Jackson, Ontario, Canada                        
Christine Pradel-Lien, France                                    
Bernard Ossant, France                                                
Bernadetta Nowak, Poland
Aruna Reddy, UK
Arlette Schulman, Ontario, Canada
Anton Venstra, Australia                                             
Antje Goldflam, CT, USA                                                              
Agota Dolinay, Ontario, Canada