On June 21, 2017 we celebrated the work of our hands with the 2017 edition of Show, Share, and Quell. Have a creative summer, everyone.
About Annyen and her work:
Annyen Lam is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Toronto, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from OCAD University (2012) as well as the Medal for Printmaking (2012). Her practice includes cut paper works, installation, stone lithography, screenprinting and book arts. She has exhibited throughout Canada and has participated in shows and print exchanges in Holland, Japan, Russia and Venezuela.
Anna Vandelman writes:
Naomi Smith, our guest lecturer on Jan 18th 2017, shared the “Spirit of the Bead” and “Indigenous Stories of Beadwork” with our Guild, introducing us to the work of several First Nations peoples.
Many beads were acquired through exchange during the fur trade. Early beading was done with extremely small beads (sizes 22 and 24 – the smaller the number the larger the bead). A common object for beading were six-sided flap bags made for both native and non-native purchasers. Patterns included crosses depict the four corners of the world as well as other symbols interpreted through beads. Florals motifs appeared on pouches likely of Seneca origin. Some embroidery also shows added ribbons with beading on the ribbons. Decorative items were not differentiated as “art” but are fundamental artifacts.
Naomi showed us some of the popular techniques, including the use of paper templates and double-beaded edges. She showed us how purses opened in the back and not by lifting the flap.
From the 1870s to about 1910 beads get thicker with sizes 9 and 8 being used. Clear beads can be seen on the paper templates overlaid on navy blue velvet. New objects are created: pin cushions begin to appear along with hat pin cushions. By about 1921 there were more new products, including matchstick holders. And as photography became more prevalent there were beaded photo frames.Selling these products created a way for women to survive.Travelling sales saw tribe members carrying up to 2000 lbs. of bead work across the country.
After the slide show we were all invited to view – and touch! –the artifacts. Of great interest were the exquisite cuffs and collars. We could feel Naomi’s pride in her history. But beading remains a living activity: Naomi told us about a current commemorative art installation, “Walking with our Sisters,” where beaded moccasin tops symbolize indigenous lives cut short.
Altogether a rich opportunity to glimpse another culture through textile techniques.
About Naomi Smith – Beader
Naomi is a First Nation Artisan and Educator. She is actively involved in educating others about the ways of the First Nations people of the Woodlands and Northeastern area from a historical and contemporary perspective often through the story of beads. Her work embraces ancestral designs in the form of bags, adornment and traditional accessories. Naomi’s work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally. She has exhibited at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington DC and NYC, Vancouver 2010 Olympics and participates in numerous Native and non-Native events throughout the year. Her work has been acquired as permanent collections at the Art Gallery of Guelph, Niagara Historical Museum, and private acquisitions throughout the world.
“It all begins with a line,” says Helen, a weaver of fascinating shapes.
Helen Liene Dreifelds spoke about her own artistic journey, illustrating it with many examples of her work in woven monofilament and hand-spun fibres. She concluded the evening with a hands-on exercise for us.
Helen explores textile constructions to see how she can expand beyond traditional boundaries of the craft/art. When a number of us remarked that a striped piece seemed to recall a tallit, Helen said such observations help connect her to a recently discovered Jewish great-grandmother.
Every table had a chance to look up close at samples of her very fine work, and compare them – as she urged us – to her photographs of them. With music playing, Helen often works in 15” widths on a 36” wide loom and builds up sculptural forms by layering, twisting, weaving, and hanging the narrow strips together. Due to the properties of the filaments and threads, much of the work is self-supporting and they are miraculously completed with the use of light shining through them.
Positioned like actors on a stage, Helen’s work will be on view at the Lonsdale Gallery from 23 November – 23 December 2016. Helen can also be found working at Harbourfront Craft and Design Studios where she works, learns and shares ideas with the other 28 artists-in-residence in a wide variety of disciplines.
We all felt the metaphysical experience of her work hands-on as Helen led us through an exercise to use pieces of screening, cellophane, along with other materials we were not used to. And – believe it or not – a flashlight to help us let the shadows of our work tell a story. We each surprised ourselves by creating nylon mesh sculptures. Take a look at our work here, and Helen’s too.
Anna Vandelman writes
Hats off to programme guru Paula Miller as she continues to bring creative ideas to us at the Guild. For our opening programme this year– in our new accommodations at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagoge – she brought millinery expert, Ampara Findlay of Hatitude to run us through the ins and outs of making exquisite fascinators.
Everyone was involved and excited to participate – including those who came intending just to observe. Personal knitting and crochet projects were put aside as we all rummaged through the Guild stash and chose items of our own that we’d brought along for the evening.
After a brief introduction, we got to work. Amparo went around to each one of us helping us with our choices and making suggestions so that all of our creations looked professional.
It was, indeed, a fascinating evening. And we are sure that many new items of headwear attracted attention at shul this high holiday season!
Karen Sanders writes:
At our May meeting we had the opportunity to get down and dirty while learning to use an exciting new material.Marlene Morton of Camerons Studio, Port Dover, Ontario was the speaker and teacher of our meeting. Marlene is a fabric sculpting artist. She uses natural fabrics treated with Paverpol, a remarkable new sculpture medium from Holland. This environmentally friendly, water-based hardener is non-toxic and harmless to people, plants and animals.
Since Paverpol is made to cure rock-hard, sculptures and statues are weather resistant after hardening, and can withstand snow, frost, wind, rain and sun. Paverpol is easy to work with. It adheres to almost any material, except plastics.
We met at Darchei Noam for this joint program with our venue hosts. With floors and table tops covered in plastic sheeting, we wore aprons to protect our clothes and gloves to protect our hands. In advance we chose either to work on a flat surface or to created a vessel. We each supplied a 100% white cotton tee shirt. Each table was equipped with scissors and several containers of liquid Paverpol. We cut our tee shirts into small squares, then dipped each square in the pre-mixed and tinted Paverpol, squeezing it so that the liquid was completely absorbed by the fabric, leaving no white spots uncovered.
Each person working on a flat surface was given a small face to place on her work. The others had brought vessels, e.g. pots, vases, or even an armature. We crumpled our fabric pieces and draped them to make a design or to totally cover our vessels. This was very messy and therefore was a lot of fun. Once we were satisfied with our projects, we used hairdryers to partially dry our work. Then we used dry brush acrylic paints to paint our creations. The paint covered the “ridges”, leaving the “valleys” – the original black or gray of the Paverpol – giving an interesting finish. The Paverpol dries completely in twenty-four hours, so we took our work home to finish drying and curing.
We hope you will add pictures of your own finished work to our Facebook page post of this meeting!
Visit Marlene’s website at www.cameronsstudio.com. Many thanks to Marlene, her volunteer helpers and our own Paula Miller for organizing the evening for us.
Anna VanDelman writes
(with apologies to Ella Fitzgerald)
Once again Pomegranate members indulged in an exciting creative project. It happened on a beautiful evening at Temple Sinai on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. As we entered the hall we were treated to a display of members’ own creations of vessels, each one exquisite in own design and execution, made of felt, fabric, reed, and many other materials.
The evening began with a D’var Torah delivered by immediate past president Karen Chisvin. To set the scene for the program ahead, she spoke about the commandment to wash our hands – our instruments of work in the world. And she quoted from the words of Torah by Rabbi Frand about the vessels of the poor brought to the Temple for Shavuot. They were handmade wicker baskets, kept by the Kohanim to bring merit to the poor, while the gold and silver trays of the rich were returned to them as they were not vested with the labour of the pilgrims.
Melanie Siegel then introduced her friend and colleague, Michelle Zikovitz our guest lecturer for the evening. Michelle is currently Art Supervisor for the Town of Richmond Hill. She started out as a tapestry weaver and then fell in love with basket weaving. Her baskets are visually appealing as well as functional and practical.
Michelle then taught us to create a basic basket by weaving wet reeds around a styrofoam cup. We used her hand-dyed reeds (her personal favourite material) that helped us, like her other students of all ages, to develop an appreciation of the ancient artistry of basket weaving. And then, Guild members took off in all directions, using more reeds, our fabric stash, personal ornaments and other materials to continue and complete our work.
Michelle also directed us to Pinterest and other internet sources to explore more basketry ideas. For more about Michelle, see her website, and search for name in the images tab of your browser.
Thank you Michelle for a fascinating evening!
Anna VanDelman writes:
On March 16, 2016 three dozen women and men from The Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Textiles Toronto and Congregation Darchei Noam joined together at Darchei Noam for a wonderful evening of textiles co-presented by the two organizations. We were thrilled to see the Guild’s current exhibit “In Celebration” on display in the synagogue social hall, with our pomegranate grid hanging on one of the public feature walls and Melanie Siegel’s marvel hanging over the main stair.
Wearing two hats – one from each organization – Sara Levine Petroff introduced our guest artist, Alice Vander Vennen. Alice is an artist of Dutch parentage who presented a slide show with comments, explaining how the methods and materials of her art are related to her life. Alice juxtaposes text with natural and found objects scavenged from many sources. She works intuitively with a strong basis in composition and colour. Many of the pieces are large and rich in deep colours 18″ by 50: some forming portraits. In other works, a canoe-like shapes of sticks and wire speak of journeys.
Alice then led us through a hands-on session of collage and composition. She shared some of the tips and tricks that work for her: using a frame to test a composition, cutting and repositioning, reaching for “just the right detail.” At one point in the evening as she was teaching her technique she looked down at her clothing and cut a large button off the jacket she was wearing. Though we all gasped and held our own clothing closer to us we realized that for Alice, inspiration is everywhere. This was an evening of pure magic. Thank you Alice for allowing us a view into your own creative process.
If you want to get your socks knocked off visit Alice Vander Vennen – Original Works
Anna VanDelman writes:
On a beautiful, cold, clear evening, Temple Sinai was ABUZZ with the excitement of creating 4″ x 6″ pieces of fabric into gift/greeting cards.
Rikki Blitt introduced our own TallitMaaven and fabric design diva, Marilyn Cohen Levy, who presented power point slides showing her amazing work on cards, postcards that yes, go through the mail, and a variety of her other amazing projects. And, who knew what you can do with dryer lint!
A plethora of ideas flowed through the evening. Marilyn generously shared an incredible amount of her stash so that we all took home several cards. This is pure mitzvah work allowing Marilyn to reduce her own stash and of course purchase more fabric. And I, for one, will never have to purchase another greeting/gift card. How lucky we are as members of this Guild to count such talent within our core.
Reesa Wasser flew in from Florida baggage and all to thank Marilyn for all her work and for sharing her special talent with us. Certainly a night to remember!