A time-consuming project
Since I've got time on my hands, all travel plans cancelled, I figured I should put my efforts to a project worthy of a great deal of time ... all those lace patterns. I've seen sprang lace in a number of collections, have photographed them, and have made some samples. Now is the time to sit myself down and to go through these, one by one, and render patterns that will be read-able to others.
The inspiration for these patterns come from several sources. There's that book of sprang sashes, repaired by Coby Reijndeers-Baas, sashes with all manner of designs, people, boats, deer, mermaids, and a variety of geometric designs. Then there is that collection of lace from the Cinquantenaire Museum in Brussels that I visited back in 2013. Other lace patterns come from pieces in the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Petri Museum, and assorted other collections.
I'm working on putting the patterns onto a grid, so you'll have a grid pattern. From that grid, I'm deriving a "written pattern" that will read "right-edge stitch, 3 plain stitches, left-edge stitch". Having done that, I then set up a warp and make an actual sample, to check my pattern, and to be reasonably sure that the pattern is correct.
I'd be very happy to have others check these patterns. If you're interested, send me a message by commenting on this blog, or to the "contact me" on this website.
And here's a better image of that shawl I made last month, demonstrating perhaps some of the drape and flexibility of the fabric
Photo by Chris Black
In August I went on a trip with my husband to the Islands off the coast of British Columbia. We stayed on Mayne Island for a few days, then on to Saturna Island.
On Saturna, I met a wonderful weaver, Teresa Higgins. She toured me through her studio. We shared ideas for working with grade school students. She has a wonderful ‘worry doll’ kit. A delightful thing!
Back home, it was back-to-school time.
I participated in the annual Scottish Heritage Parade in downtown Winnipeg. In 2012 they will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first Scottish settlers in the Red River area.
The Living Prairie Museum held an end-of-the Summer event on Sunday, Sept 12. I attended with my sash display, and of course, the sash weaving dance.
In September as well, I was invited by the Alliance Française of Manitoba to speak with Pascal Jaouen, an amazing embroiderer. Mr Jaouen is participating in a cultural exchange. Have a look at his website
Photos cannot do justice to the quality of work done by this man. Yes, the decorations on the clothes on that website are all hand embroidery.
Anyhow, Mr Jaouen was in Winnipeg to have a look at Métis culture. Alliance Française called on me to show him Métis fingerweaving. What an honor to meet such a master. It seems that a set of pieces are to be created, I cannot wait to see them.
In the midst of all this, yes, I am seriously working on another book, this time on Sprang. I’ve located several examples of the use of this technique in North America before Columbus. It’s such a lovely, flexible technique.
I’m working on the step-by-step of it all. I had a few pages written up and laid out. I took them along on my travels in early October.
Yes, in early October I did a bit of travelling.
First up was the Textile Society of America Symposium. I met up with textile enthusiasts and specialists from all over, Textile Museum curators from the US, Mexico, and Canada, weavers, academics, and others. Hoping to put these contacts to good use, learning more about sprang, and marketing my fingerweaving book, as well as the soon-to-be sprang book.
Next was the annual War of 1812, that is to say Mississinewa 1812, held annually near Marion, Indiana. There I display my weaving, sell a few sashes, as well as fingerweaving books. I met up with Peg, who has been participating with me on the Yahoo sprang list. She saw my sprang sweater in person, and reviewed my prototype sprangbook pages. Thanks Peg, I’ll have more for you to look at soon.
Then on to Chicago to visit with my cousin, Peg. And to the Field Museum, where I was granted a look at sashes in their archives. Too bad, as the collections manager stressed, the Field Museum collection began long before museum science existed. Some of their sashes look pretty old, but without provenance the age and culture of origin is anyone’s guess. Ah well. Nevertheless, it is lovely to see sashes done by other people, come to better understand what has been done in the past, collect ideas for future work.
Last but not least, I was able to attend a meeting of the North Shore Weavers. It’s always fun to meet other weavers. This group was as lively as any, a real treat to meet you gals.
Last November, in a moment of weakness, I promised a piece to the local Habitat for Humanity for a fundraiser. The deal is that artists can have $20 worth of stuff from the ‘ReStore’. The artist is to use this material to create an ‘artpiece’ and then donate it to the local Habitat for Humanity fundraising art auction.
I knew that Jan and Feb would be crazy busy … and they have been. And yet I’ve been really wanting to try working with wire.
I succeeded in finding a reel of fine, supple green coated wire at the Habitat Re-Store. This week I’ve set down to try to do some sprang.
I did a quick little first piece to determine how long, how wide.
I then launched into a piece I thought I’d mount as art. I was not pleased with the results.
So now I’m onto my third attempt.
I went back to the Re-Store and purchased some ‘bling’ as I still had $11 remaining of that initial $20 credit.
I also added some copper wire.
Here it is in progress
And here’s the finished piece
I wanted to make some statement that the textile technique known as ‘sprang’ is akin to what we all know as ‘chain link fence’. I stretched the sprang between two knitting needles. These endposts were affixed to the background (a cabinet door from the ReStore) with screw-in eyelets.
The art auction will be held at the Habitat for Humanity ‘ReStore’ or Archibald Street in Winnipeg starting on Thursday. Bids must be in by Saturday afternoon.
So, last Winter I kept getting e-mails, requesting submissions to the Canadian Craft Federation, for an international exhibit. I figured, what the hey. The theme was ‘Unity and Diversity’ and this is a thread that frequently works through my weavings.
So I submitted a piece that was a collaborative effort: my son the woodcarver, created a canoe paddle, and I wove a ‘sash’ that wandered through several patterns. I figured the diverse patterns were all related to my personal historical roots, Iroquois in the 1600’s, my husband’s Quebec connection, the Métis culture where I currently live. Sashes are made up of diverse threads, working together they form a unity that is stronger than any single thread.
Anyhow, to make a long story short, in April I received word that my (our) piece had been accepted. It now had to be packaged and sent off so as to be part of the exhibit in Cheongju, Korea. My piece ‘Mixed Heritage Sash’
was off to the Cheongju International Craft Biennale. Canada will be the official guest country to this, the ‘Cannes Film Festival of Craft’.
And then there was the e-mail saying that they were wanting artists to go to Korea to demonstrate their craft. What a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn crafts from literally around the world! What an honor to be representing Canada! I am grateful to the support of the Manitoba Arts Council and the Winnipeg Arts Council who have contributed to help pay my way to this amazing event.
I’m off to Korea on Sept 18, and won’t be back until Oct 2. Unfortunately the timing means I return too late for Mississinewa this year. But don’t fret, I do hope to be back to that amazing 1812 event in 2010.
July 12 to 25 I was in Quetico Park, near Atikokan, Ontario.
In a beautiful pristine wilderness, I had part of a studio, and my own tent, and two weeks to weave.
Some of the sights:
While there I was to weave a ‘Quetico Sash’. I had already worked out the color and patterns ahead of time.
I used the table in the studio to measure out the sash.
Weaving was a very pleasant proposition, a lovely view, nice light, and away from the mosquitoes.
I gave two workshops on finger weaving while in Quetico. Campers, Quetico staff, as well as individuals on the Paul Kane dig.
I eventually finished the Quetico Sash, and turned it over to the park.
I’ll be Artist in Residence in Quetico Park July 12-25. Working with park staff I’ve agreed to weave a ‘Quetico Sash’ while there.
Based on the Quetico logo, there’s a pattern that’s been rattling around in my head ever since visiting this beautiful wilderness last Summer.
For now I’m playing with colors. I need to decide which colors before Monday.