It all begins with a line – an evening with Helen Liene Dreifelds

“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.

Textile 3D – getting messy with Paverpol

Karen Sanders writes:

Vessel_Karen_SandersAt 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.