In this newsletter you’ll find:
Canadian Modern & Radical Stitch
In the studio I have been finishing up my Gist subscription box projects, which launch this June — and I wove a small birthday gift, the textile above. I used naturally dyed cotton and indigo wool for a friend who makes beautiful things with natural colours. I think it’s very important to return ‘home’ in your creative practice sometimes, it cleanses the palette and resettles your balance, and the structure of this textile was just what I needed.
Yes — that was also the first I’ve mentioned that I’m doing a subscription box with Gist Yarn! I’ve been working on three patterns that focus on floatwork (AKA overshot) for a few months, and I hope you will be interested and happy with the projects. I’ll share more in the next months, but you can learn more about the Weave Quarterly program here.
This spring I have also been practicing my hobby — basket weaving. Here’s a small basket made from willow bark, iris leaves, and dandelion. Once you start making baskets, you begin collecting sticks and leaves while walking and look at everything just a little bit differently…
Canadian Modern & Radical Stitch
A few weeks ago I went to see the Canadian Modern exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum. This exhibition charts Canada’s contributions to modern craft and design through furniture, radios, pots, jewelry and more… Like textiles!
The above piece is a blind by Adele Ilves c. 1950-1954, woven with rayon and lurex. That’s all the object label had to say about this textile, but I loved the big sections of unwoven warp in between the patterned areas.
Back in the fall I was looking at the NIDC Design Award brochures at the AGO library when doing research for my project Generation. The piece of all-mohair upholstery fabric in the exhibition was designed by H. B. Burnham and was, in 1957, available for approximately $8 a yard (~$85 today). Coincidentally, last spring I made a very similar sample.
Another exhibition I’ve been recommending to friends is Radical Stitch, on now at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
“Beading is one of the defining mediums of contemporary Indigenous art on this continent, and this landmark exhibition brings much needed critical attention to the breadth and impact of this practice.
Radical Stitch looks at the contemporary and transformative context of beading through the aesthetic innovations of artists and the tactile beauty of beads.”
There were many standout pieces, but some of my favourite pieces were by Nico Williams, including Aaniin (see above left or click here for a nicer image) and his beaded Dirty J-Cloth, which still makes me laugh when I think about it.
Some things on my to-read list lately:
Saving Time by Jenny Odell. I loved her previous book, How to Do Nothing and I’m really looking forward to starting Saving Time when my current library stack is depleted. Read a review here.
The Crafters of Today interviews with contemporary craft artists and makers. There are many weavers, among them Moeki Yamada, Ria Lucey, Ansuya Krishnaswamy, Vega Määttä Siltberg, and Fuyu Yeh.
Thanks for reading this month’s studio newsletter! I’m looking forward to sharing more next month when my currently hectic schedule calms down a bit…
A table, chair, and stool my grandfather designed and made won a Design Award prize in 1958!
Perhaps better known as a textile curator at the ROM and co-author of Keep Me Warm One Night
Love this newsletter! Spot-on about returning to basics every now and then. So cleansing. Wondering what structure is used on the wonderful checked textile you made for your friend, and whether I can cram one more "craft" (basket weaving) into my repertoire!!