Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Love and Money

Love and Money
Dec 16th - 31st 2010 @ the Ontario Crafts Council
Opening reception: Thurs, Dec 16th 6-9pm

This year’s exhibition will explore the broad relationship craft and crafting has with commerce.  Craft(ing) is currently a multi-billion dollar industry.  From mainstream craft media personalities and the DIY Network to hipster how-to guides, mega craft fairs and fabric designers du jour, the commercial nature of the contemporary “crafting” movement often seems to starkly contrast the idea of crafting for necessity from days gone by.  On the other hand, there are people who turn to craft and craft processes for a sense of transcendence and autonomy.  Many would argue that there is more of a need to craft for crafts sake now than ever-- either to re-skill ourselves for an uncertain future, or simply to learn to slow down.

Are money and craft strange (or natural) bedfellows?  How does craft transcend issues of commerce?  How might one navigate or perceive the dichotomy of craft for love/craft for money? How do examples of contemporary craft and craft practices address or challenge issues of ownership, value, and exchange?

Participating Artists:Helen Benninger
Kalpna Patel
Leah Buckareff
Lizz Aston
Matt King
Meags Fitzgerald

Rachael Kess
Sandra Gregson
Stephanie Cormier
Steven Tippin
Wendy Walgate

'From Rags To Riches' - detail

My Ideas about Love & Money...

In response to the theme Love and Money I have been researching notions surrounding the saying ‘from rags to riches’. Taking cue from historical craft practices such as the art of spinning shifu (paper-thread), and the gathering of discard material to make Rag rugs or Clootie mats; I am interested in combining each of these processes as I work to re-define the values we apply to common craft materials as well as domestic craft objects.
Both shifu and rag rug-making developed as practices once born out of necessity, where coarse paper thread would be woven into cloth for work clothes and other household items, while the rags of old clothes were coveted for their reuse-ability, being knotted back together in the form of much needed objects.
‘From rags to riches’ incorporates the use of newspaper ‘rag’ and kozo papers as they are laboriously spun and crocheted into a delicate network of threads that make up the rag rug.
Through a sophisticated use of process and materials, the once ‘ragged’ and utilitarian object will be rendered precious and unusable, as emphasis is placed on re-evaluating the value of the materials and object at hand. Through my practice, I am interested in celebrating craft for love as means to continue to tap into the meaningful, intuitive and historical practices that employ the use of my hands.

Finished installation will be on display at the Ontario Crafts Council till Dec. 31st 2010

The Collective @ Triangle Gallery: 12 days of art and ideas

I recently participated in a collective show at Artscape's Triangle Gallery entitled The Collective: 12 days of Art and Ideas. This turned out to be the perfect opportunity to further develop my Hand-spun Kozo paper brooches, I have been working on over the past little while.
Each brooch is made out of a delicate network of thread that is spun from sheets of kozo paper using an old fashioned spinning wheel. The threads are then crocheted and starched into sculptural forms before being crafted into fine jewelery pieces.

I will be spending my time finding a home for these within a number of stores over the course of the next week... In the meanwhile, if you are interested in purchasing one as a gift for the holidays, send me an email at and I can make one available for you.

Hand-spun Shifu paper thread

Over the course of the past five months, I have been working hard towards researching and collecting what little information I can on the relatively unknown practice of Shifu-making.

In the Japanese language, the word shifu refers to woven paper.  Shifu can mean the fine-as-silk paper weaving that was given as tribute to regional rulers during the Edo Period or the very rustic, utilitarian cloth woven by peasants by shredding leftover ledger books and weaving this against a bast fiber warp.

Traditional shifu is spun from hand-made Japanese tissues, or strong paper made from vegetable fibres.

Japanese tissue may be made from one of three plants, the kozo plant (Paper Mulberry tree), the mitsumata shrub and the gampi tree. The long, strong fibers of the kozo produce very strong, dimensionally stable papers, and are the most commonly used fibers in the making of Japanese paper (washi). Tissue made from kozo, or kozogami comes in varying thicknesses and colors, and is an ideal paper to use in spinning fine shifu threads.

Here is a chronology of images as my samples have progressed over the past few months...

 First attempts using a drop spindle & sampling with coarse papers

Pattern drafting paper, newspaper and misc handmade fibres.

 Tengu-jo tissue & misc papers.

Sekishu Tsuru - spun using a traditional Ashford spinning wheel

Various kozo papers. 2nd ball dip dyed using Madder Root.

Skeins wound into balls.

Hard Twist: Chroma!

Hard Twist is now on in full swing for its fifth year at the Gladstone Hotel.
If you get a chance to check out this show, there are a couple of real gems on each floor to take a look at..!
Here are a couple of my favorite pieces... (didn't get a chance to take my own photos... so those I found online will have to suffice!)

Shuyu Lu


Amanda McCavour - Spiro-graphs!

Hard Twist has become an important annual event within the Canadian textile art community as well as being a signature event for the Gladstone. For this fifth anniversary of Hard Twist 5: CHROMA! exhibit will be expanded to include public spaces on all four floors of the hotel and will run for two full months. It is free to the public 12pm-5pm daily in the third and fourth floor public galleries at the Gladstone. Year five of this annual juried exhibit is all about colour. Participating artists explore colour symbolism, meaning, relationships and perceptions through textile and fibre-based mediums.
Co-curators Helena Frei and Chris Mitchell invite artists to submit textile and fibre based works, which explore the expressive qualities of colour, colour symbolism, and/or the meaning, relationships and perceptions of colour.

2010 Participants:
Amy Bagshaw, Fiona Bailey, Susan Bidinosti, Monserrat Brandan, Kerry Croghan, Dhashi Farha, Lindsay Fisher, Holly Gabel, Angela Iarocci, Say Ivison, Shuyu Lu, Alanna Lynch, Amanda McCavour, Renata Meirelles, Joyce Melander-Dayton, Melanie Schaffer, Kat Shaughnessy, Mafalda Silva, Marcy Sperry, W Collective, Sarah Waldman-Engel, Jennie Wood