Friday, May 22, 2015

European Textile Network Conference

I'm just back from the ETN conference in Leiden, Netherlands.  This post gives a highlight or two from each of the eight days I spent there at pre and post conference tours as well as the conference itself on the weekend.
If it's Tuesday, it's the room full of Itchikato Kabuto's kimonos, hand stitched and with shibori dyeing.  Held at the Siebold Huis museum in Leiden, the Netherlands, the site of the 17th ETN conference.
If it's Wednesday it's the Textile Museum in Tilberg.  Here, one of the old machines threaded with linen to weave damask.

Several exhibitions were on view in Tilberg.  This Town-house wall piece was woven by Kiki Van Eijk in 2012.  
 She developed this piece at the Tilberg contemporary weaving Lab.
 If it's Thursday, it is the beautifully restored Riksmuseum in Amsterdam.  Above, one of the ceilings painted by contemporary artist, Richard Wright.
If it's Thursday, I'm still in Amsterdam at the Stedelijk museum, taking in the Oasis of Matisse exhibition.  Above, Acanthus, painted and cut paper on paper mounted on canvas.
If it's Friday, it's the European Textile Network's general assembly meeting.  Above is Beatrijs Sterk, one of the founders of the ETN in 1981 and now stepping down as the Secretary General.  There was some concern that the ETN might not be able to go on without her, but the conferences will continue, the next one being in Boras Sweden in 2017.   The conferences have been held all over Europe in different cities, the 2015 conference (the 17th) was the first organized in Beatrijs' home country of The Netherlands.
If it's Friday, it's the Leiden textile festival with many galleries and museums with exhibitions and workshops focused on fibre art.  These wall pieces are by celebrated Dutch artist, Barbara Broekman.
 It is important to Brokeman that her work carry the quality of the hand's touch and she works with groups of other people to create her work.  These pieces are embellished with previously embroidered table linens, the embroideries cut out and applied in new ways.
"Textiles are connected to every body, the manual and hand crafted is essential.  Labour goes hand in hand with our inner creativity, the creation is visible and tangible and therefore more understandable by others."  Barbara Broekman
If it's Saturday, it is the conference proper with a program of lectures on wide variety of material art topics.  The conference weekend was held in the Volken Kunde museum  in Leiden.  Above, one of the 1648 Japanese Buddha's in the Buddha room.
If it's Sunday, then there are more lectures all day in the Volken Kunde museum's conference room. Elsewhere in the galleries,  Magnetism, contemporary artist Ahmed Mater's depiction of the pilgrimage to Mecca is a highlight.
 If it's Monday, it's a visit to de Zaanse Schans to see the old homes and few remaining working windmills.  We visited a windmill that ground artist pigments from minerals
Also on Monday, we visited the preserved village of Marken to see the hand embroidered traditional costumes.  Above are examples of black work ribbons.

Then if it's Tuesday again, it's the Rijswick Biennale of textile art in the beautifully renovated and restored Rijswick museum.  19 artists were selected from 300 to participate in the 4th Biennale.
 This linen piece is by Raija Jokinen from Finland.
Tuesday was the last day I spent in Leiden.  I want to thank my dear friends Marjan and Wim for hosting me the entire week.  Wim was my chauffeur, getting me to the variety of events on time and Marjan often accompanied me to the exhibitions.  Her familiarity with the trains and trams made it easy for us to set an independent schedule.   I feel very full right now of all the artwork and ideas...and need more time to reflect on everything.  This post is just a taste.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

the light the hope

Lake - indigo dyed and hand stitched quilt on left.
The Light of the Moon - acrylic, thread, paper and cotton wall piece on right.
Before I delivered my work to Shannon at the Perivale Gallery earlier this month, I re-read the journal text in the stitched paper collage.
The darkness will always be there but you can see the light of the moon as hope.
I am showing three pieces at the Perivale Gallery this year.
Left to right:  Duet, Lake and Light of the Moon.
Ivan Wheale will be in attendance at the opening on May 17.  I hope that it will be well attended.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dutch inspiration

Pyrografie 60-13  1960  by Henk Peeters   soot on synthetic foil.  Seen in ZERO exhibition at the Tilberg Textile Museum
 I am in the Netherlands attending the European Textile Network Conference.
Marian Bijlenga - her work seen on her studio wall, Amsterdam
 During the pre-conference we have been going to galleries and artist studios.
Marian Bijlenga - her work seen on her studio wall, Amsterdam
Today is the general assembly meeting and tomorrow the conference speakers.
I'm learning all I can.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


passion over reason  by Mark Clintberg and members of Winds and Waves guild , Fogo Island Newfoundland
I have chosen a quilt made with wrong side out fabrics to begin this post about Folk Lore and Other Panics, a 12-artist exhibition curated by Mireille Eagan that was up at The Rooms in St. John's Newfoundand until April 26 2015.

The quilt flips the text from Reason over Passion , the quilt that beloved Canadian artist Joyce Wieland made for prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau in 1968.  We learn from the wall label that artist Mark Clintberg designed this quilt because he is interested in women's intervention in politics and had ten similar quilts made by the Wind and Waves artisan group of Fogo Island Newfoundland.
Clintberg is one in a growing trend of young Canadian artists who are employing traditional craft, folk art, and commonplace materials to help us understand our panic-ridden contemporary world.
I like that the sixteen women's names from the Wind and Waves collective are listed on the wall label.  I like that the ten quilts in this edition are placed randomly on beds in the Fogo Island Inn.  I like that the story of the Wieland/Trudeau gift is held up for contemplation.  I like that artists as cool as Mark Clintberg are speaking the language of the quilt.
1970 stomped globe  by Kay Burns  2003 and ongoing
These interesting circular shapes are also from the Folk Lore and Other Panics exhibition.  The text on the wall label reveals that the artist, Kay Burns, impersonated Iris Taylor, the fictional founder of the Flat Earth Society and that these discs are the results of stomping on globes, an initiation act that new members do in order to express their common sense.
Like so much conceptual art, it helps to read about the intent of the artist, and then something goes bong in the mind and new insight (and laughing out loud) happens.

Two interesting and more comprehensive reviews of Folklore and other Panics are here and also here.
Road Trip  2012  by Janet Morton knitted wool man's outfit, video approximately  60 minutes
In Cambridge Ontario's Idea Exchange gallery, there is a second exhibition, Making Otherwise that features two videos about knitting.  In the first, Robert Kingsbury unravels an odd suit knitted by Janet Morton. Entitled Road Trip, the sixty minute video explores the dimension of time, and Morton connects ephemeral with repetitive, walking with thinking, and real time with embedded time for the viewer.
That suit took at least a month for Morton to knit but Kingsbury easily unravels it into a single ball in an hour as he walks through the outskirts of a town - past gas stations, alongside ditches, rhythmically lifting his legs to undo her labour,  not losing a step.  (Video was recorded by Nick Montgomery).

The second video, Shiny Heart, reminds us that while making things by hand is a slow and meditative quiet act for the maker, the result can be seen (and heard in this case) by others in mere minutes. Janet Morton's use of time based art forms such as music and video in combination with her slow textile production confounds us.  All the time that is spent making.  It's invisible.
The tuba that Colin Couch performs Bach's Goldberg variation #25 is muffled with knitted yarn over the 13 minutes that it takes to play it, beginning at the mouth piece and going around and around each and every tube large and small while he determinately makes his music.  It makes us think about all the time he spent learning and practicing the difficult piece.  It's invisible.
Janet Morton spent weeks covering the tuba with knitting, a complicated and fiddly thing to do and then in 13 minutes, it was undone.  The video of the undoing was shot by Morton's collaborator, Robert Kingsbury, and then played in reverse so that the instrument is magically covered up.  What is mind boggling is that the sound of the Bach variation is unaffected by the reverse video.  The hours spent by Andrew McPherson editing and fiddling with the video and sound looks effortless, but it's not.  It's invisible.
This Canadian Art review gives more information and a photo of the silent tuba.  Click  here.
The final artist I will mention is Susan Maloney from Nova Scotia who uses embroidery to address art history and women's  place in society.
A mother of three, the non toxic and portable art of embroidery allowed her to maintain her art practice (MFA Windsor) while raising the girls.   She also made the heavy oak frames for her large pieces herself as well as a fainting sofa with bronze tulips that is also part of the installation but not shown here.
The beauty of the curves and patterns are compelling.  There is intensity in this careful art.  The botanically correct and much enlarged couples of fertile tulips are bursting with life.

Making and otherwise: Craft and Material fluency in Contemporary Art includes six Canadian artists and was curated by Heather Anderson and organized by Carlton University Art Gallery.  It will be in Cambridge until June 27 2015.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

circle quilts

I had another chance to get close to the meditation panels over the weekend.
I hope you don't mind seeing them again.
They have been invited off the island, so we borrowed them from their permanent home in the United Church and delivered them to exhibit in Southern Ontario.  Above is Earth Ark.
Each time that they go on exhibit, I check them over for flaws, loose threads etc.  I lay them out on our big wooden table and look them over in the sunlight.
I run my hands along their lumps and bumps.
I admire them.  These ginko leaves are on the reverse side of Mended World.
Above, Layers of Time with the bottom edge folded up.
Below, Precious Water.
 The panels are now in Kitchener for May and June.  More information about the exhibition here.

Quilt making is about giving.
The time and labour that went into making these panels was given by many individuals. (149)
Given freely and with joy.
Given so that others might be touched in some way.
So that others might enjoy.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

beyond the horizon

we stayed in efficiency units during our week in newfoundland (kitchen included)
 we learned to shop for easy dinner and breakfast makings in convenience stores
 the last week of April is still early for tourists
 there was fog
 no horizon
 then we saw them, the gannets at cape St. Mary's Newfoundland
and it was elating
the white out
the sense of vast space with no reference point
it's like flight