Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Advanced tapestry Workshop

Amazing Experience.....

Traditional tapestry weaving is always fabulous. Selecting a design and then little by little letting the weave take shape. It is a slow but rewarding technique that alows us to have an internal communication with our souls.
No matter if you are weaving alone and you are well accompanied by great music, or you are with peers, students, friends or relatives. Weaving is an activity that can integrate us in a space transforming it into a special moment.

I wanted to share with you some results from our latest workshop at the Oakville Tapestry Studio.
I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful lady, Michelle, who came into the lets say "gears" of my constant moving family, especially at the end of the school year when everything seems to come together at once.

The location of the Tapestry Studio is a beautiful Town called Oakville, 25 km. outside the City of Toronto in Ontario. AAt the Oakville Museum at Erchless Estate you will discover 19th & 20th century history. It is situated in downtown Oakville in Old Oakville’s First Heritage District. Oakville, once a thriving port of entry for merchants and sailors, was well known for its majestic scene and welcome, featuring the Erchless Estate Family Home & Custom House.

Set on the eastern side of the Oakville Harbour and the shores of Lake Ontario, sailors & ship merchants would enter into the outpost of British North America in the early 1800's.

During this time Oakville was also a terminus for the Underground Railroad, and signified freedom for many African Americans who fled to Canada.

This is a plate of the founder of Oakville, Colonel William Chisholm.

Weather also helped us to walk around and get inspired. We visited the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre where I showed Michelle where the large tapestry was woven recently finished.
Wonderful place in North Oakville.

For 50 years Sybil Rampen has had a vision. Her lifelong goal has been to establish a cultural legacy on her family farm for the future generations of Halton to be inspired. Located on Burnhamthorpe Road, 1 km east of Trafalgar Road in Oakville, the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre serves the community as a place of gatherings—from creative media workshops, films, musical events, and lectures to weddings. The Centre serves as a place where individuals meet to learn, collaborate, and cultivate relationships with one another. This emerging cultural facility promotes local heritage, outreach and accessibility, with ecological integrity being central to the activities of the Centre.

Here we are together with Stella Tang, Sylvia my Mom, and Yamile Roa. Both assistant weavers of the Studio.

Not only we where able to have a wonderful outdoor lunch, but also to do some practices on natural dyes with cochineal, indigo and turmeric on our way back to the Studio.

Together we worked on tapestry techniques that allowed us to explore possibilities on different textures, volumes and shapes through weaving.


Michelle had the opportunity to meet some members of the Tapestry and Painting Studios.

It is important to work on exercises that are able to be put into practice, and what better example is to see tapestries on their locations. This one was a commission which Michelle happen to see on my website. She was happy to get to see the real one and to find all the different textures we where working on earlier in the first week.

On the weekend, we visited the Textile Museum of Canada and its interesting exhibition o Magic Squares from Muslim Africa.

Here is the link for the great review of "Magic Squares" which was in today's Toronto Star. I know some of you read the Star but it's easiest to just send the link to all of you.

Here's the link:

Later on we went to the Toronto Music Garden. It is a wonderful place to enjoy great music while being in front of the harbor front.

The Toronto Music Garden can be appreciated on many levels - as a garden infused with the spirit of music, dance and artistic genius, as a public place for young and old alike to enjoy and learn, and as a meditative space to sit and quietly ponder nature. It is a symbol of Toronto's participation in the international community, and a place for everyone to enjoy.

The Toronto Music Garden: Inspired by Bach by Julie Moir Messervy

A beloved public garden celebrates a milestone: The award-winning Toronto Music Garden turns 10. To commemorate this momentous occasion, author and landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy has released The Toronto Music Garden: Inspired by Bach. The book is an in-depth guide to the creation and completion of the three-acre public garden with a design based on the “First Suite for the Unaccompanied Cello” by J.S. Bach. Readers will enjoy the books’ comprehensive tour of the garden’s six “rooms” – each an interpretation of the traditional dance forms featured in the cello suite’s six movements. Gorgeous color photographs and sketch renderings transport readers to the many paths and gathering places along the musical journey.

The annual Summer Music in the Garden series produced by Harbourfront Centre in partnership with City of Toronto Parks Forestry and Recreation, with the generous support of Toronto Culture, and Margaret and Jim Fleck. Summer Music in the Garden is curated for Harbourfront Centre by artistic director Tamara Bernstein.

Concerts are Thursdays at 7pm and Sundays at 4pm (weather-permitting) and are approximately one hour in length. Bench seating is available, but limited, so please feel free to bring a lawn chair. We also advise bringing a hat or umbrella and sunscreen as shade is limited.

The Project

Italian background, Michelle was born in California, and after living quite number of years close to the dessert, she thought the idea of translating some images of cactus into tapestry projects would be interesting.

This is one image processed from one of her photographs.

2 weeks is not enough to finish a medium tapestry, especially when introducing different exercises and weaving parallel samples in the woven notebooks. However, I am so glad she is following up for she wanted to finish her project and took it back home to finish it.

Thank you Steve for the picture and for the loom you prepared for Michelle!!!
You have made her a very happy person, especially in this moment of her life.

Who wouldn't be inspired and happy with that fabulous garden you have back there?

Thank you Michelle for sharing part of your world with us. Hope to meet with you some other time. We where all happy to have you as our guest. Enjoy the rest of the Summer.



For those interested in participating in the next Advanced Tapestry Workshop at the Oakville Tapestry Studio there is another opening in the Fall:

Space still available!
Dates: November 7 - 18, 2011

Advanced Tapestry Workshop

Welcome to the Oakville Tapestry Studio.

Founded in 2007 by Ixchel Suarez, the Studio has been educating Art Groups and General public about the traditional techniques of Tapestry weaving and its role in the Contemporary presence in the arts.

For those who are staying at the Studio, arrival arrivals for the Summer course may be Sunday July 10th and leaving Saturday July 23rd.

I strongly suggest bringing any sample of previous work (or images) and if you want to bring ideas of ongoing projects in order to review interests.


** Please note that all materials are provided. However I highly recommend to bring different kinds of "bits and Pieces" of yarns (i.e. fabrics, textured acrylics, raffia, paper, etc.) to make more interesting the class. The techniques are developed to demonstrate diverse textures in contemporary weaving.

Workshop week 1:

Morning session from 9:00 am. until 12:00...lunch break... 1:00 pm. until 3:00 pm. (full program) Tutor/student

Evening session 6:00 pm. until 7:30 pm. (required to advance on exercises and/or to watch support videos) individual work.

Total hours: 30 Hours


Introduction and principles of Design and composition.

Cartooning and project design.

Selecting materials.

Project description and analysis.

Work on woven notebook through samples of textures.

Analyze different materials with similar techniques. An overall view of

tapestry's historical background, as well as contemporary tapestry, will be presented to you. Upon successful completion of this course, you will have learned the basic design and technical skills necessary to design, weave, and finish a tapestry

Select videos, slides and images to support project.

Handouts will be provided with supported bibliography

* Suggest bringing sketch notebook and scissors.

Workshop week 2:

Morning session from 9:00 am. until 12:00...lunch break... 1:00 pm. until 3:00 pm. (full program) Tutor/student

Evening session 6:00 pm. until 7:30 pm. (required to advance on exercises and/or to watch support videos) individual work

Total hours: 30 Hours

Applied diverse techniques on defined project.

Presentation of related exhibits on Contemporary textile Art.

Register sampler of materials.

Prepare samplers for cutting.

Certificate of participation.

Meals: (please advice in advance on dietary restrictions and/or preferences)

Breakfast: from 8:00 am. until 9:00 am. (Please advise any food instruction or restriction)

Coffee or Tea


Cereals (granola bars or advice on preferences)

Mixed Fruits

Toasted bread

Lunch: from 12:00 until 1:00 pm

Dinner: between 5:00 pm. until 6:00 pm.


Weekend lodging is provided if necessary. (Included in the cost of the workshop)

Saturday & Sunday (free).

Suggested Tours for visitors from outside Toronto Area not included in the fee: (ROM, BATA Shoe Museum, Niagara Falls, etc.)

For more information regarding the Workshop, fees, lodging and programme details please do not hesitate to contact the

Oakville Tapestry Studio

Instructor Ixchel Suarez

1121 kestell Blvd,

Oakville ON. L6H 1A1

905 845 3357

289 242 8685

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