Thursday, April 24, 2014

Poetry in Motion tapestry commemorating Seamus Heaney

 Houses tapestry woven by Carla Duncan. 
"Seamus Justin Heaney was an Irish poet, playwright, translator and lecturer, and the recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. In the early 1960s he became a lecturer in Belfast after attending university there, and began to publish poetry. He lived in Sandymount, Dublin from 1972 until his death.
Heaney was a professor at Harvard from 1981 to 1997 and its Poet in Residence from 1988 to 2006. From 1989 to 1994 he was also the Professor of Poetry at Oxford and in 1996 was made a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres. Other awards that Heaney received include the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize (1968), the E. M. Forster Award (1975), the PEN Translation Prize (1985), the Golden Wreath of Poetry (2001), T. S. Eliot Prize (2006) and two Whitbread Prizes (1996 and 1999). In 2012, he was awarded the Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry. Heaney's literary papers are held by the National Library of Ireland.

Agota Dolinay made up this sampler  based on Maximo Laura's techniques.

Robert Lowell called him "the most important Irish poet since Yeats" and many others, including the academic John Sutherland, have echoed the sentiment that he was "the greatest poet of our age". Robert Pinsky has stated that "with his wonderful gift of eye and ear Heaney has the gift of the story-teller". Upon his death in 2013, The Independent described him as "probably the best-known poet in the world". 

Poetry in Motion tapestry commemorating the memory of the world reknown Irish poet, Seamus Heaney. 

The tapestry measures 4.65m high by 4m wide and was crafted by weavers from Atelier Pinton in the French town of Felletin, near Aubusson, over the course of three months. It cost €60,000, donated in six equal amounts by Paul Simon (one of the great poets of modern America, some of us would argue); Bono, Edge, Paul McGuinness and Kathy Gilfillan, Marie and Joe Donnelly, and American couple Kathy and Ed Ludwig, summertime Martha’s Vineyard neighbours of Bill Shipsey, the idea’s begetter and co-ordinator.
Peter Sís, the Czech-born, world-renowned illustrator, author and film-maker, who conceived the image after innumerable exchanges with Heaney’s family and friends, says he tried to convey something “about the power of books and words, about the writer floating and fighting to keep some control of where he is going . . . He’s not really in charge of the vessel . . . He’s flying on an open book, on his words, through these vast, changing skies and there is that little island, a place that loves him and waits for him and embraces him.” Below the link from which I extracted the above information if you want to read more than what is here eg. location of the airport!

Other Links, Resources, Exhibitions
Some of my tapestry students were inspired by Maryanne Moodie's tapestry work. She works out of New York and is originally from Melbourne. They tell me her work is quite trendy in the US. 

Barbara Heller is having an exhibition entitled Falling from Grace  in British Columbia. Go to for the most current exhibition that will feature her extraordinary tapestries. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Parameters and Perimiters

My section of the international tapestry installation and working on the finishing details. 
A grant from the Ontario Arts Council permitted me to undertake a project entitled Fate, Destiny and Self Determination/le sort, le destin et l’auto-determination. Weavers and non weavers from all over the world were invited to participate in co-creating this tapestry installation. It is composed of three sections. Section one is woven entirely by myself in my studio and will measure 60’’h x 36”w. Section three was woven by the public visiting the premises of the Toronto Weaving School in Toronto and it will measure 60’’h x 18’’w. These two approaches, working alone and in a group, on tapestry references the contemporary, traditional and historical practice of tapestry weaving.  
Michael Karton, BC Canada
Section  two  is composed of shapes, not greater than 10cm (4”).  250 people from 22 countries asked to participate, made possible by social media. The shapes are mostly woven in tapestry or rug techniques, but some are felted, needle felted, knitted, crocheted, sewn, needle pointed. To date 176 shapes have been returned from 22 different countries (more are coming in) and I have been documenting them all on Facebook on a page of the same name as the project as well as on my blog. This part of the project alludes to our multicultural composition as Canadians, as well as reveals that weaving is a practice that is shared with every culture.
Michael Karton, BC Canada
The project itself has parameters, that is to say, a constant and/or limiting factors: the shape, the size, and the colours used.  Each colour of the individual shapes and those in the larger panels, have a perimiter. All of this alludes to boundaries and limits - geographically, socially, psychologically, and emotionally.

Michael Karton , BC Canada
In our everday lives we have certain parameters that dictate our daily routines and interactions. In addition actions take place within a certain perimeter at any given moment. There are social parameters within which we conduct our relationships and we seek out to group with others who make us feel that we are accepted, understood, valued, appreciated, praised and even loved. It's a basic human drive, a need that is important to establishing a sense of self-esteem and self-worth. 
Deann Rubin, Missouri, USA
These days, I have been exploring my own inner boundaries and limits. When I was younger, I didn't feel I had any and felt I could be anything or anyone. I've come to realize how essential they are, especially in establishing the kinds of relationships and life situations that sustain you. As I mature, I find myself having the courage and self respect to honour my boundaries and limits. I once thought of it as weakness and now see it as strength. In accepting my own boundaries and limits I now see that in the end, this honesty with myself helps me to bring what I want into my life in terms of relationships and goals. I can also now respect that others have their perimeters as well. 
Along with the idea of parameters comes the reference to the word guidelines. These systems of behavior in which we operate can be dictated by religions, institutions, workplaces, parents and even children. At some point in life though, many of us assemble a set of guidelines that will bring more joy, happiness and well being into our lives. These personal guidelines are critical to living a fulfilling  and meaningful life.
Deann Rubin demonstrates how she made her shapes for the international tapestry installation. 

Houses and fences, by Christine Shipley 4" x 10" 


Falling From Grace
The Tapestries of Barbara Heller
At the Maple Ridge Art Gallery
May 10 - July 26, 2014
Tapestry artist Barbara Heller has been steadily gaining acclaim for her contribution to the contemporary tapestry scene since commencing her studio practice at the Fibre Art Studio, Granville Island in 1979. The Maple Ridge Art Gallery is honoured to be able to present works signifying key moments in her career that are often linked to war, political aggression and the impact of humankind on the environment. Despite the apparent 'fall from grace' underlying many of her works, there are also suggestions of redemption, and it is Heller's intention that transcendence should prevail in the longer view.
Opening Reception
Saturday, May 10 - 2:00-4:00 pm
Artist Talk with Barbara Heller
Saturday, May 24 - 1:30-2:30pm
Weaving Demonstrations
Saturday, June 14 - 11am - 4pm
Saturday, July 12 - 11am - 4pm
Special Lecture
Saturday, June 28 - 1:30-2:30pm
Join Angela Clark, Curator of Il Museo, Italian Cultural Centre for her talk: Tapestries, Decorative Art and the Culture of Consumption.

American Tapestry Alliance Biennial 10 exhibition

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Divine Intervention and Destiny

Divine Intervention, 3' x 7'
I am happy to share with you that my tapestry, Divine Intervention, has been accepted into an exhibition entitled The Art is the Cloth, a traveling exhibition of contemporary hand-woven tapestry. The exhibition is hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Other venues have not been announced. A catalog will be published. The exhibition will take place  October 3 - November 5 2014.  The jurors were Andrew Lucas, who earned his BFA the New Hampshire Institute of Art and his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He is an adjunct professor of photography and has managed the galleries at the New Hampshire Institute of Art; Patrick McCay, is Senior Faculty Fellow and chair of the Painting/FineArts Department after serving for 8 years as academic dean. His education includes degrees  from the Glasgow School of Art, the University of Notre Dame and St Andrews University. He has exhibited his paintings in Europe, Australia and the US. Micala Sidore, BA, MFA, from Goddard College, received her tapestry training at the Manufacture National des Gobelins during the 1980s. She has exhibited her tapestries in the US, Europe and Australia, written more than 30 articles, and has given innumerable talks and workshops.  

The tapestry is a sculptural piece that is able to fold and fit in the corner as shown here, or hang vertically or horizontally, at the whim of the curator or artist. The piece and how it hangs is a metaphor for the theme of
divine intervention, referring to some unseen force that changes the natural course of one's life and path  to set you on another direction in order to  fulfills one's destiny.

Reflecting upon my life, I am able to clearly discern how the hand of some greater power has intervened on my behalf, to re-shape me, to guide or call  me to where I must be,  to where I must go, to what I must create. My own deep sense of connection with my spirituality is a vital source for my creativity, coming from somewhere that I cannot fully comprehend.

co created by 200 people all over the world. 
Dianne Cruttenden Kennedy from Manitoulin Island
We have now received 179 shapes from 20 different countries. I have submitted three exhibition proposals for the project: one to the Ontario Craft Council, another to the World of Threads festival and another to the PanAm Games 2015 York Region. If anyone has any other suggestions as to where they think it should be exhibited I am open to suggestions.
Lidwine Harpaz-Uleintjes, Israel

weaving in the threads at the back of one of the panels of the project

Weaving in the warp threads of the tapestry.

There is still more finishing to do on the last panel. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Carla Duncan at the front and Bambi Rutledge on the left , helped with some finishing last week.

Meet Debbie Harris, who has been VERRRRRY patiently weaving her Navajo rug in near perfection for the last four years! 


And I am very excited to have some new and enthusiastic tapestry weavers.....Ana Botelho, Rebecca Stevens, and Sheila Hewlett. They got interested in tapestry weaving through Instagram and finding inspiration with a woman weaving tapestries in New York (sorry...don't remember her name!) I was told that the 70s is back...(ok ....some of it was good!). It got me thinking about people who had inspired my tapestry weaving when I was there age....Mariette Rousseau (taught at the Banff School of Fine Art), Micheline Beauchemin, and Helena Hearnmark. Today...there are many more I find very inspiring indeed...oh so many with so much talent and skill. 

The deadline for the American Tapestry Alliance's International Student Award is coming up. April 15, 2014. Read more about it on the website and help us spread the word!

UNTITLED/UNJURIED: Small Format Tapestry 2014. The Unjuried Small Format Tapestry Show featuring tapestries from around the world will be hosted by the University of Rhode Island Feinstein Providence Campus Gallery, 80 Washington St, Providence, RI 02904.

The show runs from July 8 – August 8, 2014. Join us for the opening reception, Thursday, July 17th from 5:00 – 9:00pm. The opening reception will be ATA's Networking event during 2014


March 21 to April 27, 2014 - TAPESTRYFIVE - LaDonna Mayer's Studio, 17 Gallery@ 835 W. San Mateo, Santa Fe, NM (; March 21 – April 27, 2014. Days open: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday - 12 pm - 4 pm.

American Tapestry Alliance ATB 10, Visions Art Museum; San Diego, California; May 2 - July 20, 2014; Opening reception: May 10, 2013

Small Tapestry International 4: Honoring Tradition, Inspiring Innovation; June 8 – August 15, 2015; Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana;

The place of tapestry in museums today: