Friday, May 20, 2011

Cutting Day at Joshua Creek

Oakville, ON. Monday May 16 2011

Hon. Mayor Burton, Sybil Rampen, Members of Oakville Arts council and Community Arts Space art lovers.

June 2010 I was approached by the Burlington Art Centre to produce a collection of large scale tapestries .These are mainly based in images of nature, transcribed and interpreted though textures in tapestry weaving techniques.

One of these images, a vertical one, was precisely ideal for a large scale tapestry. A piece of interesting proportions to be displayed in a way that the community would relate to. An important image of our Canadian Landscapes of the region: a birch tree.

But how big is BIG? May things crossed my mind: where could I set a loom of these proportions? Wonderful things started to happen. I approached Sybil Rampen who immediately got hooked, or should I say, woven) into the project, offering us this wonderful and inspiring attic.

Little by little, this fascinating project took on form—helped by great Music, snacks, short lunches, more music, and wonderful moments together with friends and art lovers that wonder around The view from the attic in Sybil’s studio provided us inspiration from late summer until blooming colours of spring.

Along the way this project had the fortune to be woven not only by me, but converting itself in a community project. Mainly by Stella Tang and Yamile Roa, who are both members of the tapestry studio and the Handweavers and Spinners Guild. Some other days by Lorraine Gard, member of the Tapestry Studio and some other friends and visitors who were encouraged to participate in some way in this project.

Today we are happy to make this official cutting written in the woven tapestry journal which started in September 19. More than 1400 hours of work and used more than 60 different kinds of yarns

I would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council through the Visual Arts Grant for allowing this project to come to fruition.

Tapestry is an ancient technique yet full of vast possibilities. Integrating groups, creating warm environments for our public and private spaces. Through this project we encourage new generations to visualize this medium as an art offer. Opening tapestry technique to the community, I would like to stimulate the critical writing and thoughts about this medium.

The Oakville Tapestry Studio, The Oakville Handweavers and Spinners Guild and the Fibre Arts Shared Space would like to offer this wonderful community new possibilities in the Fibre Arts. The new QEP soon to be opened will be a wonderful place for people to explore techniques such as this one. Thank you for being part of this birth of the “birch memories”.'s%20on/article/1012864--art-is-born-after-nine-months-of-weaving

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  • May 20, 2011 - 1:41 PM
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Art is born after nine months of weaving

Art is born after nine months of weaving. THE BIRTH: The Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre hosted the Memories of a Birch Tree event, with the cutting of a large tapestry piece by Oakville artist Ixchel Suarez. Pictured (l-r) are: Stella Tang, art centre chair Sybil Rampen, Mayor Rob Burton, Ward 6 Councillor Tom Adams, Rampen's dog Sam, Suarez, Lorraine Gard and Tamilet Roa. Riziero Vertolli / Oakville Beaver
“It's a unique art piece. It was really a community project. It was interesting to be there with Sybil.” - Ixchel Suarez, textile artist

Oakville textile artist Ixchel Suarez just gave 'birth' to a more than nine-month long tapestry weaving project.

She unveiled the large-scale tapestry, titled Memories of a Birch Tree, on Monday, morning at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre, where she had worked on it for that time.

Just like cutting an umbilical cord at an actual birth, Suarez cut the threads of the 4.5m by 2.5m tapestry off the loom at the event.

“Cutting the threads from the loom is releasing the tapestry. It’s giving it birth,” she said. “It took us over nine months to weave it.”

When the new QEP community centre opens, Suarez plans to offer education on tapestry as an artwork.

“It’s a fibre art but it’s not as common, that’s why we were going to make a little bit of noise about it,” she said of her unveiling.

Other members of the community,Stella Tang and Yamile Roa helped complete the project with the support from the Ontario Arts Council Grant in the Visual Arts section for mid-Career artist.

Some other members of the community collaborated such as Debbie Stephenson and Lorraine Gard, among others from the Joshua Creek arts studios.

“It’s a unique art piece,” she said. “It was really a community project. It was interesting to be there with Sybil (Rampen, chair of the Joshua Creek centre).”

The tapestry was cut and it is being taken to the International Textile Show in Mexico City this Sunday.

The artist plans to display it in Burlington next year in September 2012 along with a collection of large scale tapestries.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Encounter Mexico-Canada

Encounter Mexico-Canada: Contemporary Textile Art

Anahuac University North through the The School of Design invites you to the Encounter Mexico-Canada, Contemporary Textile Art.
May 25, 2011. CAD Auditorium
Round table at 12:30

Panelists: Thoma Ewen
Ana Paula Fuentes
Miguel Peraza
Sergio Rasgado
Ixchel Suarez
Martha Turok
La Escuela de Diseño de la Universidad Anáhuac, de la que tú eres pieza clave, semestre a semestre dirige sus esfuerzos hacia la formación integral de sus estudiantes y la vinculación con lo mejor del gremio profesional.

Clara muestra de ello se dará el próximo 25 de mayo, en cada uno de nuestros magnos eventos:

9:00 hrs. Entrega de Medalla Liderazgo Anáhuac en Diseño / Mtro. Ricardo Rosas / Auditorio de Rectoría

11:00 hrs. Inauguración de Expo Diseño / Hacia la sustentabilidad y el ecodiseño / Hall del CAD
11.00 Opening Expo-Design / towards a sustainability and eco-design/ CAD Hall

12:00 hrs. Inauguración de la Exposición / Arte Textil Contemporáneo: Encuentro México Canadá / Salón del Diseño
12:00 Hrs. Opening Exhibition/ Contemporary textile Art: encounter mexico-Canada/ Design hall

12:30 hrs. Mesa redonda / Arte Textil Contemporáneo: Encuentro México Canadá / Auditorio del CAD
12:30 hrs Round Table / Contemporary textile Art: Encounter mexico, Canada / CAD Auditorium

Tu asistencia es fundamental para llevar a buen término nuestros objetivos formativos y será un ejemplo de compromiso y entusiasmo para los estudiantes.
Your attendance is fundamental to bring all the formative objectives and will be an example of enthusiasm for all the students.

Consulta con tu Coordinador los detalles del programa.
Please contact your Coordinator for detailed programming.

Friday, May 6, 2011

woven tapestry journal Day 55...labour begins!

Today was a wonderful day.

May 7 will be in our journal with bold letters! Not only because the weather finally is having a bit of consideration and is letting the flowers bloom, but because we got on the day 55 of the woven tapestry journal and we got to the last line of the inside of the weaving of our wonderful birch tree!

It has paid off all the time spent on it. Every weft, every yarn, every lunch and every song we had the opportunity to share.

All the wonderful people who has taken the time to drop by and share their feelings, their comments and thoughts in our book, sharing cookies, or donating material...everything has just been a wonderful experience. We will sure miss being here. It has filled our soul with such positive energy.

Of course it is just the starting of the labor...the birth will take place as soon as we finish ALL the ends, sewing the slits, cutting the loose back ends, edges, etc. It will be the moment to cut the umbilical cord to release this wonderful project and bring it to life.

No wonder all the ancient communities refer to the process of weaving as a pregnancy, and this one starting in September will be an almost 9 months baby!

THE NAME:_____________________?????????

For me it is always difficult to name my pieces. First of all, because many times I interpret through textures images or photographs i have taken, not with the idea of copying, but as i say, just to feel it and read through fibres, regardless the final result.

On the left is the tapestry, on the right the image.

In this case, of course the image is taken from a picture i took from a bark from a birch tree. We have been struggling to find a proper name for it. Some people have shared that all they see is a landscape, or an underwater scene...

suggestions are welcome and we would like to hear what you, weavers from the world, have to say regarding the name for this tapestry.

Option 1: Essence of life

Option 2: Wonders of Nature: the Birch Tree

Option 3: Mysterious Bark

Option 4:_________________

Suggestions are welcome!

The cutting ceremony will take place on Monday May the 16, just in time to prepare it to travel to Mexico City, where a tapestry exhibit awaits us.

Encounter Mexico-Canada: Contemporary Fibre Art, where there will be an interesting round table and a collaborative exhibit, including the participation from Canada of Thoma Ewen from Quebec, Peter Harris from Ayton Ontario, Mike Prysiezny and Stella Tang from Oakville.

Mexico will participate with some fibre artists: Claudia Gonzalez, Georgette Hernandez, Lourdes Aspe, Carmen Tejada, Guadalupe de Aguero, Myriam Suarez,Victor del Corral (USA).

This exhibits runs parallel to the World Textile Art VI International Biennial - AIR -, where I had the opportunity to have some of my pieces selected by the jury to enter the large format and the Time Based format. This exhibit will take place in the Museo Diego Rivera in Mexico City.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Artist Talk with Peter Harris

An afternoon with Peter Harris at the Oakville Art Society.

Display of technique and skills in the art of Tapestry weaving!

Members of the Guild and guests from Cambridge, Mississauga, Burlington and Georgetown enjoyed the visit and the interesting lecture:

A tapestry is like a unicorn… nobody has actually seen one,

but everybody knows what one looks like. by Peter Harris

Friday April 29 the Guild had the opportunity to challenge all our definitions of tapestry though the insight view and research of Peter Harris, wonderful tapestry weaver from Ayton, Ontario, who kindly accepted our invitation to share a bitof his expertise in tapestry.

Peter Harris has been interested in the weaving of Kashmir for a long time. The relation of techniques like embroidered, patched, or woven into one same garment. He also offers workshops for those interested in this fascinating technique of historical importance.

Quote from Peter from the beginning, when we started to get immerse in the theme"I don’t remember having any particular awareness or understanding of the word “tapestry” until I learned how to weave tapestry in the early 1980’s. Then when I’d begun to make tapestry my own, I noticed how frequently this word for a rare and arcane practice appeared in all kinds of commentaries about all kinds of non-textile things, and often with some additional reference to weaving thrown in as a bonus. The word “tapestry” has a currency and commonly-understood meaning far out of proportion to its actual production in the present era. Now for me it’s always accompanied by a flash of recognition, like a familiar face in a subway-train window. One of my favourite sightings is in an interview by Studs Terkel with Bob Dylan: “There’s one song, the only way I can describe it is as a great tapestry – ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’.” All true, but how does the word for an anachronistic craft come to be used today with such confidence and respect?".

Peter is a fantastic tapestry weaver who started in this art and craft almost 30 years ago. His backgroud though is in philosophy and literature, so we could understand his interest in the readings of visual images through different mediums, and it was through tapestry that he developed his main interest.

This tapestry, Enchanted Forest is full of weaving challenges, symbolisms, colour changes and blends and intricate design that alltogther creat a piece of Art.

Peter analyzes the medium and quotes:

"Tapestry has come under modernist critique for being a derivative art form, because of the historical specialization between artists and weavers, and the extent to which a modern artist-weaver’s design is pre-planned before the weaving begins, so that it resembles a process of translation or adaptation. But in fact, seldom is the weaver’s work so subservient to the designer’s that the weaving does not transform it in some way expressive of both. Tapestry weaving has a repertoire of effects that eloquently bespeak textile, as well as limitations for mimicking some sorts of mark-making in other media.

Peter finishes his talk with an interesting reflection:

"So much for the most commonly asked question, “How long did it take you to do this?” to which the answer should be, “It was over too soon”. The perennial issue among weavers – the internalized version of the second question we hear most often, “Can you make a living at this?” – is, how can we gain the critical acceptance for tapestry as work-of-art that would offer the possibility of professional success? In my view, that is to chase a receding, capricious, increasingly irrelevant prize. Historically, tapestry participated in cultural expression in ways that don’t necessarily conform to the occasion of modern gallery-going, where people expect to find certain kinds of objects enshrined. These same people, if they went to view stained-glass church windows, whether as tourists or as part of their religious observance, would have very different expectations. Everyone who seeks to give cultural expression through their skills, needn’t try to beat their way into the art world, but should try to situate their contribution as naturally and easily as they can in their personal and community lives. We should not be trying to alter our coat of many colours into a skimpy but fashionable accessory. The fact that tapestry has its own rich and widely recognized meaning is a tremendous advantage. "

Thank you Peter. We sure can take many reflections reading "between the warps".

We wish you luck with your piece which will be presented in Mexico during the events from the VI International Bienial of Textile Art hosted in Mexico.

The exhibition Encounter Mexico-Canada: Contemporary Textile Art will be presented in the Anahuac University, School of Design.

Come back soon and share with us your wonderful tapestries.