Wednesday, November 14, 2012

support a P.E.I artisan

When I found out I had been chosen as the recipient of the 2012 W.B. Bruce European Fine Art Travel Scholarship, I felt pretty darn lucky.  The chance to travel Sweden and research a subject I am crazy about - hand-weaving.  I did receive a nice chunk of change from the Brucebo Foundation to complete my travels and research, but traveling is expensive. Staying in hostels, buying supermarket groceries to make my own meals, traveling as much as possible by public transit...even when traveling on a budget, these things add up when one is traveling for five plus weeks.

So, I sought out some supplementary funding. I applied for a Professional Development Grant from the Prince Edward Island Craft Council and I was successful.  This extra bit of money helped me make the most of my incredible opportunity.  And now I am back home on PEI, with a wealth of experience and exposure to Swedish textiles to share with the arts/craft community here.  And research that will influence my weaving practice for years to come. 

(My most recent weaving since returning from Sweden:  a small run of cotton and linen tea/hand towels...definitely influenced by all the incredible table linens I saw in Sweden)

The P.E.I Craft Council just launched an Indigogo campaign as a fundraiser for their Professional Development Fund.  The money raised will go directly to Island artisans who are seeking to improve their skill set and expose themselves to greater challenges within their given discipline.  This could mean attending workshops, traveling to mount an exhibition, or supplement a research project like my own.  As one of the most recent recipients of the PEICC Professional Development Grant, I was asked to lend a hand by appearing in the short mini doc produced by film-maker Rachael Hicken and talking about my experience and the value of this funding for Island craftspeople and on the link below to take a look and if you would like to donate, you have a chance to contribute to the further education and development of our rich pool of Island talent.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Following the Thread: Swedish Handweaving..rya front and back

I've been meaning to get back to my blog and keep the Swedish handweaving story going....and I will!  A full post about my visit to the National Museum in Stockholm will be written tomorrow.  In the meantime, out of my many many photos I have from my research and travels, I realized there were more than a few of them that didn't make it into my last post about the Nordic Museum.  So, I decided to post a few of them today from the Nordic Museum's Vav/Weave exhibition.

Rya, or what we call pile or shag weaving, is very popular in Sweden.  Wool and rags are used for the pile to create a lush, warm textile.  What I found fascinating about rya weavings was the contrast between the front and back of the textile.  The front was the rya shag, full of texture and colour and dimension, while the back is like a map to how the cloth was constructed.   The image below is the back of the rya weaving you see above.  It is like a code where what appear to be subtle accents of colour are actually explosions of colour when the textile is viewed from the front (ie. the diagonal orange stripes seen on the rya side).

This rya textile in white and red was one of my favourites in the Vav/Weave exhibit.  I liked the simplicity of the colours and the almost-but-not-quite orderly arrangement of the red spots.  Below is the back of the textile where the red rya pattern becomes a series of horizontal dashes.

Both of the these textiles are examples of contemporary handweaving in Sweden influenced by traditional techniques.