This residency is plodding along. I haven't been able to spend as much time in the studios as I had anticipated when I first considered this residency. At the time that I put in the proposal, I had no idea how much work I'd be doing just a year later. Last year my residency at Leigh Square was my major focus at the time and I was able to spend two full days on site working on my art. This year, the residency is just one of many things that I'm juggling. Although, I have studio space booked three days a week, I've only been managing to spend a few hours there on each of those days.
This week I was able to spend some time working on an actual garment. I hand stitched the red/pink fabric into a wrap. The fabric is a 1/2 twill fabric that I wove with two heddles on my rigid heddle loom. I put the warp on the loom last year at Leigh Square and finished most of the weaving at home. I finished up the fringes during the first week of this residency.
We came up with this shape when I took this fabric to show my students at Place des Arts. It's a basic ruana shape, but with the back draped rather than cut. I decided to add a gusset at the back neckline to give a bit of ease. Since I didn't have any extra fabric, or access to a sewing machine, I decided to needle weave the gusset. I like that it is a seamless finish, but it sure took a long time, and I had to repeatedly remind myself of something that I often say to students who are impatient to finish things quickly: "This isn't a race".
I've been doing a sketch each week at and around the Anvil Centre. I wasn't feeling very inspired the first week. The person I started sketching got up and walked away before I got very far along, so I ended up drawing the garbage cans. Last week I went over to the River Market to say hi to Susan from Cosy Yarns as well as Leslie and Alice who are involved with managing the Market. Leslie even ended up in my sketch for the week! This past week, I sketched the view from my studio window.
I finally finished the crow tapestry. I was quite happy to get this one off the loom. I was determined to weave this piece intuitively without using a cartoon. It is okay, but I don't think that the SAORI idea of weaving without a plan is really well suited to pictoral tapestries.
I was quite surprised to see some Salish looms in one of the offices at Anvil Centre and I barged right in and interrupted a meeting to find out about them. It turns out that the one on the left belongs to Debra Sparrow, and I think the other one is used in New West school programs. What a coincidence! Debra and I lead a weaving group that meets at the Dunbar Community Centre a couple of times each month.
Seeing these looms gave me an idea for the community engagement activity that I'll be doing as part of the residency. I'll be doing a collaborative community weaving: on December 2nd using my own Salish loom.
All the details are here: Community Weaving with Dawn Livera
I also came across a display of woven baskets from around the province that were being put out for a youth program. They belong to the New West museum. This is just a small sampling. I asked how the museum came to have so many First Nations baskets, and they said that they don't know the history of most of them, but some of them came from residents who purchased them from someone "who came knocking at their door". One of the weavers in the Dunbar group had recently brought in a piece that she had purchased that way. She said that people have got to know that "she buys things", so they show up at her door when they need some cash. The fellow from the museum was surprised to hear that the practice still continues today.