Monday, February 08, 2016

Canadian Contemporary Textile Collection - stitching

Dorothy Caldwell Untitled 1985  gold leaf, discharged cotton, resist, thread
This post is just a brief note about my visit to Cambridge Ontario today to see the Contemporary Textile Collection in the Idea Exchange gallery-library system there.   There are three exhibitions on now that feature the permanent collection of the gallery, which for over twenty-five years has had a focus on contemporary Canadian artists who work with textiles.
We went to the Queens Square gallery and to Preston gallery but were not able to go into the Design at Riverside Gallery because it is closed on Monday.  The two exhibitions that we did see were thoughtfully installed, with respectful space surrounding each piece or group of pieces.
Anna Torma Troubadour Song Part I 'she' and Troubadour Song  Part II  'he'  1998 
This post is focused on those artworks that are hand stitched.

Several pieces in the exhibition are by some of Canada's most beloved textile artists.
Heather Cameron Arbor Vitae 2012 crewel embroidery on canvas
One of Heather Cameron's set of new embroideries that translate the fantastical drawings of Louis Nicolas, 17th C French missionary to the new world, is included in the permanent collection and was part of the exhibition at the Queen's Square gallery.
Her careful enlargements of his naive renderings of native flora and fauna use the intimate method of hand embroidery and we are touched.   We wonder.  How strange it must have seemed.
Kirtley Jarvis  Victoria Hospital, 1991  2001 hospital linen, wool
Kirtley Jarvis also translates ink on paper into thread on cloth, basing much of her work on found lists and hand written notes.  This piece shows the shopping list her mother made as Christmas approached while she was in the emergency waiting room at a hospital as her husband sank into a brain tumor.   He wrote 'Billy Mink', his father's pet name for him on the surgery consent form.
Shuyu Lu  Welcome To The Village  2010 cotton, thread
The exhibitions continue until Feb 21 (Riverside) , Feb 28 (Queen's Square) and March 6 (Preston)
I wrote about just the stitching in this post, but crochet, felting, weaving, basketry, sculpture (such as Kai Chan's dyed bamboo and tooth pick pieces) are included in the exhibition.
Susan Bidinosti  Leave (the nest) 2006  paper and thread
 There is a call for entry out now with deadline of March 28 for fibre artists based in Canada.  here.


  1. How wonderful that you went to see the show! I am so honoured to have my work in the same room as such great artists as Dorothy and Anna. And to discover other artists that I want to find out more about. Thanks so much for sharing this, Judy.

  2. You are most welcome Heather. It was lovely to see your work again and feel so close to it because of our connection through blog land.

  3. what a wonderful post and lovely to see Heather's work, xfingers they acquire the complete Codex Canadinsis & I love that red & black crow bowl!

  4. Judy, the pieces you have shared here are extraordinary. I deeply appreciate your introduction to artists whose work would probably remain unknown to me without your generosity. (I was only familiar with Heather's amazing stitching.) The "Billy Mink" signature is incredibly touching, perhaps illustrating how we, in our most private hearts, identify ourselves.

  5. Wonderful stuff there on the show ;-)

  6. thanks for showing this... i wish i could see that in Person. great samples of Hand stitching.


Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx