Last October I had the opportunity to visit the Cleveland Art Museum. They were just about to open an exhibit of ancient Andes Wari art. My weaver friends urged me to enter a proposal for the Tunic Project.
Now, according to Mary Frame, sprang was known to pre-Columbian people in what is now Bolivia.
I entered a proposal for a sprang tunic with a design inspired by the face-fret patterns in the Cleveland Art Museum exhibit.
Initially I ordered some baby alpaca and silk yarn from KnitPicks. I set up my tunic and started work. The yarn was quite soft and fuzzy. After struggling for a couple of inches and plenty of warp sizing (a whole can of spray starch) I decided to abandon this warp, set it aside for now, and turn to a tried-and-true worsted: Bockens Mobelatta.
I submitted a proposal for a sprang tunic. This is a circular warp. I figure I am working from the neck down. When the cloth is finished, I will open up a slit at the center for the neck hole.
The tunic needs to be finished before Christmas, to get it to Cleveland by early January.
The weaving on the circular warp completed, I cut it apart at the knees.
I tied the loose ends into fringes. The whole thing curled quite badly (as to be expected) Blocking is required for sprang garments. This means a soak and then squeeze out in a towel.
The tunic seemed to need side panels. This will ease the closure under the arms, attaching front to back. I set up a figure-8 warp.
My ‘tunic’ took second prize at the Cleveland Museum of Art. It will be on display in their atrium starting January 15.
A big Thank You to Haley for the great job modelling!
See a video that features some of the ‘making of’ at
Students at Bannatyne School sewed those ‘sashes’ together, using braids made by the younger students.
This tapestry commemorates the 100th anniversary of the school. It celebrates the role of the individual, as well as exemplifying the strength of the community.
Each thread is important. A single thread can make a huge difference. Single threads are fragile, can be easily broken. Many threads together can create something very strong, very beautiful.
Here’s the completed tapestry.
The numbers are in for another week at McNally Robinson Booksellers.
Sprang Unsprung is the bestseller in the non-fiction category for Manitoba Authors, for two weeks running now.
Thanks to all my friends who’ve gone out and bought copies.
A friend of mine captured the ‘sprang dance’ from be book launch on her camera. I’m hoping to figure out how to post it. The launch was lovely.
In other news, I am pleased to be part of a collaborative work. The Alliance Francaise here in Winnipeg, along with the Maison des Artistes brought together a traditional embroiderer from Brittany, Pascal Jaouen, and a visual artist Collette Balcaen to collaborate on a Métis theme. The exihibit opening is this week. My contribution to the display was a fingerwoven belt, made using a very fine silk thread.
The Rheault Farm in Fargo was the site of the Fargo Fiber Festival. Amazing demonstrations of diverse fiber techniques, spinning, knitting, quilting, embroidery, stumpwork, tatting, felting, kumihimo, basketry, on and on. I brought my fingerweaving and sprang.
A great idea for using up all those extra quilt tops.
I’ve set up another pair of sprang socks. This time I want the socks to be long enough to be ‘knee socks’. Here is my inkle loom where I set up the warp.
I wove the feet all in one evening. More as the socks progress.
It’s that time of year again.
I can be found with my SashWeaving in the Souvenir tent, alongside the Habitat for Humanity run Official Souvenir desk.
The thing I love about Festival is seeing all the sashes. Every year it gets better. People are making their own, and wearing them.
This woman took a one-hour workshop from me at the public library, and look what she did!
This gentleman and his wife purchased my book Fingerweaving Untangled. This year he’s sporting a chevron belt, and she’s made little coat toggles.
And a Big Thank You to those who helped me at the booth.
And I have to show you pictures of the snow sculptures:
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.
Once again the Sashweaver attended the St Boniface, Winnipeg annual winter celebration, the Festival du Voyageur. The sash, an important article of clothing for the men who transported trade goods into and out of the Great White North in the days of the Fur Trade, the sash still holds significance to Canadians.
Snow sculptures at the entrance to Voyageur Festival Park depict voyageurs portaging their canoe, and the voyageurs always wear a sash
And another snow sculpture
I’ve been busy with fingerweaving workshops and demonstrations:
Stationed in the temporary museum at Festival Park, I talk with the public about weaving and other skills commonly practiced in the early 1800’s
weaving at Festival du Voyageur
A few more photos from the Métis Pavilion at Folklorama 2008.
Eager to learn to fingerweave, the ‘make a friendship bracelet’ project was very popular with the children. Basically I used the directions from page 12&13 of my book. It is a project that is easily completed in 5 minutes.
I am grateful to my students for helping out at Folklorama. Suzanne managed to finish her sash, while keeping me company at the Métis Pavilion.
The counter on my website now lists 1001 hits! Do you hear the fanfare?
Several of us, members of Manitoba Artists in Healthcare, met up today in the St B Atrium. We chatted about our various projects. Shirley took my photo weaving away, now midway on swatch number 7 of 8.