Archive for April, 2009


April 26, 2009

Buffalo, it seems, is very near to Niagara Falls. Some of my friends and I decided to take a bit of a sightseeing excursion on Saturday afternoon and made it to the Falls, both US and Canadian views.

Niagara Falls from the US

Niagara Falls from the US

And then from the Canadian side:

Niagara Falls from Canada

Niagara Falls from Canada


Society for the Arts in Healthcare Poster presented in Buffalo

April 23, 2009


Carol at the Buffalo Hyatt, Society for the Arts in Healthcare Annual Conference

Carol at the Buffalo Hyatt, Society for the Arts in Healthcare Annual Conference

The whole purpose of this trip was to attend this conference. I contributed a poster, which told the story of my recent Heritage Weaving Project in the Atrium of the St Boniface General Hospital:

Braiding and Weaving relaxing, creative, meditative

“Spinning and Weaving are the highest forms of Meditation”
Mahatma Ghandhi
The project described here, one of several undertaken at the
St Boniface General Hospital Atrium in Winnipeg, Manitoba,
produced 8 Fingerwoven Samples for The Manitoba Museum.

The type of weaving selected seemed appropriate to the setting:
-Fingerweaving is low-tech, no noise, easily mobile,
quick to set-up and take-down daily.
-The project was very time consuming,
but also easily interrupted,
the weaver is able to interact with the public.
-The method used is culturally very significant
to the demographic served by the hospital.
-Perceived as a disappearing art,
it generated much interest.

Slow but measurable progress over a period of 10 months,
allowed for a rapport between weaver and atrium visitor:
-Hospital staff regularly visit the atrium on break time.
-Visitors enter and exit the hospital through the atrium.
-The atrium is accessible to hospital patients.

The variety of patterns in the samples were based
on articles in museums across North America.
Sash samples will be used by the Manitoba Museum
for future education & display purposes.

Previous weaving projects
received much anecdotal support,
I decided to institute a method
for generating concrete measurement of success.

Humans reach to their heritage
in times of crisis in search of healing.
Repetitive creative activities
draw the individual into a mental state
in which they access their personal resources.
Weaving is a metaphor for teamwork:
Alone we are fragile, together we are strong.

In-house advertising was done
through the hospital newsletter.
Poster announcing my presence
was on display in the Atrium.
Weaving took place in the Atrium,
3 days per week, 11AM to 4PM,
November 2007, to July, 2008. Materials were made available
for visitors to try fingerweaving.
These numbers are countable.
Knitting, crochet, and quilting assistance
also offered.
Brochure outlining the program
was available to visitors.
Brochures taken is countable.
Guest book was offered
to visitors for signing.
Book signatures are countable.
Designs were chosen in consultation
with Manitoba Museum curator.
Samples were woven according
to the fingerweaving method.

Weaving in the Atrium of the St. Boniface General Hospital contributed to a healing environment.
On the basis of comments left in the guest book, individuals expressed the impression that:
-The sight of the sash speaks a welcome
to local ethnic groups.
Number of brochures taken and read: 972
-Weaving provided a diversion and relaxation
for staff, patients, and visitors.
Estimated average 50 per day, watching.
-Craft was promoted as a means to personal re-sourcing;
Individuals reported that looking was nice,
but doing it themselves was even better.
Number of individuals completing a small sample: 172

The Manitoba Museum received 8 fingerwoven pieces
for education & display purposes.
Weaving is an effective remedy
for the stress experienced in health care settings.
Manitoba Artists in Healthcare
Manitoba Culture Heritage and Tourism
Musée de St. Boniface Museum
St. Boniface General Hospital
The Manitoba Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

April 22, 2009


Royal Ontario Museum, South Entrance

Royal Ontario Museum, South Entrance




Tuesday, April 21 I was privileged to examine sashes in the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum. In all I looked at nine fingerwoven sashes and two sprang sashes. Amazing pieces all. How to put into words all the things I saw is a challenge right now. I will make this information available to you eventually. Among the details viewed are the recovery from the situation where the center of the arrow wanders off to one side, recovering from weaving too far, short rows near the central arrow, and interesting plaiting technique linking the fringes and preventing them from tangling, evidence of splicing in new threads, and another detail that created an interesting ridge at the change-of-weft. All this is inspiring me to write up a set of ‘problems and solutions’, expanding on the ‘trouble shooting’ section in my book.
Eagerly awaiting the photos taken by the curators.
The word to fingerweavers of the world is not to sweat when mistakes happen. There is clear evidence that this even happens to the experts.
Many thanks to Karla, Christine, and Anu for their patience and support.

Toronto Visit

April 20, 2009

So, April 20, here I am in Toronto.


My view of Toronto

My view of Toronto

I was scheduled to examine sashes at the Canadian Textile Museum at 11. This gave me time after breakfast to check out Romni Wools … yes, there is a reason that Ontario weavers and fiber artists rave about this store. What an amazing collection of yarn!
Yes, I did move on the the Textile Museum. Roxanne had three splendid fingerwoven sashes out for my examination. All three were in the classic arrow-and-lightning pattern. One particularly captivated my interest. The weaver must have had a rough time. It looks to me like there may be evidence of a number of problems my students face … and some clever solutions.
-losing the shed
-weaving too far

OK, in the category of losing the shed. I recommend the use of a ‘safety belt’ to tie off one group of threads whenever you pause in your work to keep the upper and lower threads separate. The error I saw on this sash entailed two different spots where a whole row (or significant portion thereof) exhibited an awful disorganization in the threads. I am thinking that this weaver lost the shed, and instead of meticulously re-establishing the shed, this clever weaver just buffaloed on, and you don’t much notice until you look closely.

Second problem, weaving too far.
In the arrow-and-lightning pattern, weft-to-warp changes are supposed to happen at regular intervals. It looks to me like the weaver of this sash occasionally went too far with a weft. When this happens to me, I work backwards, unweaving as I go across the row to the spot where the change is supposed to happen. The clever weaver here did not work backwards, but rather just pulled the weft between the shed back to the right place, and dragged the proper color on over. With the next row, yes there were three threads in the shed … maybe this needs a diagram. It’s a clever solution to a common problem.

The third anomaly in the sash was the presence of short rows. In knitting, particularly at the neck of a sweater, a person sometimes works only part way across, not using all the stitches before turning. This causes the work to grow a bit more in a selected spot. In this sash, I saw evidence of short rows at the outside color zones for the first half of the sash, and near the central arrow in the second half of the sash. Now, I’m not sure about these short rows at the outside edges. I have seen it before, and my theory is that the weaver felt that the thread in the outer color zones was perhaps a bit thinner than that in the central arrowhead and center color zones. This might be the way to make up for this difference in thread size. As I say, I have seen this in other sashes. Where it is present it is not always consistently done throughout the full sash. The sashes seem to lay quite flat, equally in the areas with the short rows and in the areas without.
Anyhow, the feature of this sash that I think might be of interest to weavers was the use of short rows in the second half of the sash … in the lightnings immediately to the side of the arrowhead. I am thinking that this technique could help those weavers who are chronically plagued by checkerboarding. Extra rows, extending from the center and weaving through only the first two or three lightnings increases the length, relieves the puckering and eliminates the checkerboarding caused by too much tension on the center threads…this is my theory to explain the odd presence of this feature of the sash.
After lunch I headed out to Peterborough by Greyhound. I had a lovely chat with Beth, Ipie and Jeremy, about sash weaving and sash wearing, and speculation concerning the origin of this special design. Then the real treat, a quick tour of the Canadian Canoe Museum.
Any of you who read this and who are in the area, go visit the Canadian Canoe Museum and the Canadian Textile Museum. Both definitely worth the trip!

April travel

April 17, 2009

The Society for the Arts in Healthcare is holding its annual conference in Buffalo, NY, April 22-25, and I’m going.
While in the Great Lakes area, I’ll be visiting sites and museums connected with sashes. On the list are
Monday April 20, Canadian Textile Museum and the Canadian Canoe Museum.
Tuesday April 21, the Royal Ontario Museum.
Wednesday to Saturday, April 22-25, the SAH Conference in Buffalo
Sunday, April 26 I travel to Rochester
Monday and Tuesday I’ll be at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Monday evening I’m meeting with members of the Weavers’ Guild of Rochester.
Tuesday evening I travel to Niagara Falls where, on Wednesday the 29th I’ll check out sashes at the Lundy’s Lane Museum.
Then it’s back to Winnipeg.
If you’re on my route, send me an e-mail and maybe we can meet.