Friday, March 30, 2007

Spring 2007 more things to do in places other than Toronto

The Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles
presents a retrospective of needleworks from Marie-Renée Otis

From April 12th to May 3rd 2007. Opening : Thursday April 12th at 5 pm.

The Gallery is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm

Fibrearts International 2007

this site will open but you might have to click OK a few times

Spring 2007 One of a Kind Show, Toronto: Fred’s not only here but she’s got T-Shirts
It’s true, Frederica Tomas, aka UTILITY GRADE, well known for her “bold original prints” and doing all the shows, has now moved her fun and sometimes very sexy images onto T-shirts. So get down to booth F 11 at the One of a Kind now or you’ll just have to wait for the Toronto Out Door Show (rumour has it these shirts might be hitting funky retailers soon.. but why wait???)

Meanwhile at the Direct Energy Convention Centre:

A stroll around the One of a Kind Show is always entertaining and occasionally eye opening. In this large space full of objects, wearable, edible, functional and non, there is an ever increasing number of stylized images applied on various things by the silk screening process: Skirts, shirts, book jackets, metal trays, and pillows. The number of Textile “Artisans” present is not as large as I would like and the quality is as always mixed. There are a few that I would like to point out because of the fun, beauty or quality of their work.

After wandering for awhile, my eye became tired--- and then I come across the work of Judy Black in booth P-31, T-shirts, Tops, Dresses, Pillows, and Purses. A bold mix of, acid colour, nostalgic imagery, reminiscent of Marimekko textiles, and Andy Warhol prints, this work is original and ironic and fresh. This is outstanding work.

Acid Ssunset Pillow

Buky (Buckminster Fuller ) dress

As you walk past the “Hall of Fame” wall you see a calf length jacket by Designer Annie Thompson. Annie was inducted into the One of a Kind Show Hall of Fame for her twenty years of “outstanding quality and craftsmanship” at the Christmas 2006 show where she had a second booth introducing a new line “a.t. Koosh” which consisted of pieced and embellished pillows reminiscent of her sophisticated easy to wear casual clothing lines. Beside her was the Designer Hand Weaver Lucille Crighton whose work is well known to the large and loyal audience of shoppers and fans of her elegantly cut jackets made of unique finely woven cloth. The induction into the Hall of Fame gives both these textile artist the recognition they deserve.


This year the generosity of the management has made it easier for Arts, Crafts and Design schools to showcase their student work. (So rumour has it) The Craft Schools of Canada Exhibit brings together in one area student work in jewellery, fine wood working, glass, ceramics and textiles. These nine art schools from five provinces have presented a vast selection of work from the next generation of up-and-coming artists, along with curriculum details from the post secondary institutions that trained them.

Weaving, screening printing, felting, knitting, sewing, embroidery, the crafting of one of a kind wearable fashion, home décor product lines as well as pure art pieces are the back bones of the textile education along with portfolio presentation and marketing courses. Not all schools have the equipment necessary for this general approach and the battle rages over space with other crafts/ departments as well as internally because both looms and printing tables take up so much space those students tend to specialize earlier then necessary. In spite of, or perhaps because of that factor, the quality of work coming out of the schools is generally high. The fact that you can now take textile studio practice from undergraduate to to graduate studies at some Universities adds to the growing numbers of students entering these programs.

The decision of the One of a Kind management to enable the schools to come together in this way was a good move. This is where their new artists will come from. Since both OCAD and Sheridan College will soon be having their year end Open House exhibitions I will only mention the work of students from the out of province schools here.

Kootenay School of the Arts at Selkirk College, located in Nelson BC, featured hand –printed yardage and house wares by Melissa Barber-Starkey, woven journal covers with silk lining and knotted accents by Bronwyn Woodburn Krause/ Dutch Door Textiles, and fashions by Sonya Lindsay

Centre de Formation des Chambres de Métiers et de l'Artisanat or, Masion Métiers d'Art Quebec featured the weaving of Isabelle Veilleux. There was a scarf and two purses made of the same yarn with the occasional strips of Douppioni silk added into the weft. Two hours after first seeing the scarf I return to look at it again and it was already sold. For a student about to graduate it bodes well for her coming career.\

NSCAD University featured textile artists Amy Belanger (Sheridan College 06l) Amy Nesbitt, and Robyn Stephens work with textiles in different ways. Amy Nesbitt’s screen printed textiles included Clock faces. Amy Nesbitt’s screen printed yardage takes a bow to nature in its selection of images and as pillows, aprons is reasonably current in decor vocabulary, as clock faces it is delightful. The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design has been around since 1887 and has produced generation after generation of both Art and Craft practitioners and historians and NSCAD alumni are among Canada's most esteemed artists, designers, curators, art educators and arts administrators.

Tailored Suite with embellishments from Athena Eco Designs

New Brunswick College of Crafts and Design* graduate Ashley Watson ( Athena Eco Designs ) fashion designer and weaver was in attendance with a collection of caps and hats. Ashley Watson established her label, Athena Designs, in Jan 2006 during her graduating year at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. A fashion designer and an accomplished weaver, Ashley has gained recognition as an environmental advocate and animal activist.

Her focus on sustainable development combined with her passion for design led her to an idea that can best be described as eco-fashion. It is an innovative approach to gaining environmental awareness in an alternative market, or just giving conscious shoppers an opportunity to make their wardrobe more earth- and animal-friendly. From tailored suits to hand-woven hats, you can feel confident that you are helping the earth and looking good all at the same time.


All the schools present a diverse selection of artisans. Work isn’t necessarily for sale However, do yourself a favour and make sure you see the jewellery at the Selkirk College (Kootenay) booth.


Artist of Note

The PINPALS from Montreal are two young women just starting out and are producing small reasonably priced cloth collaged brooches (pins) that are whimsical and silly with a bit of the “Ugly Doll” thing happening, They are also showing exquisite cross stitch pins that are a so under priced they are a steal. With designs traditionally found in Ukrainian needle work, Aboriginal Beading and 19th century Japanese print making, this reworking of designs as pendants and brooches is stunning.

On the far edge of “Fashion Alley”, the clothing designs of dagg and stacey (booth P50) stand out for there classic lines. Unlike the over embellished, patchwork, raw edged, screen printed for no particular reason, far from original ever increasing fashion that has been showing up at the One of a Kind for last 10 years which is a bad imitations of the work of Dolce&Gabbana not to mention Annie Thompson. The cut, drape and skilled finishing of this line of women’s clothing is refreshing in its Balenciaga lines in contemporary casual textiles. This is a retail opportunity for One of a Kind shoppers, a PDF catalogue for retailers looking for wholesale lines is available.

The website is

For information contact them at

Tai Kim McPhail line of stuffed creatures Miru’s friends Booth F 13 are handcrafted from recycled wool and cashmere sweaters embellished with vintage buttons and whimsy. If you miss them here her work is carried in some shops in Toronto and she is part of an up and coming show at the Ontario Craft Council’s Guild Shoppe in Yorkville later this spring. Check her website: or the Guild Shoppe’s

Other Textile “Artisans” working in fashion or home decoration or both that I think are well worth the visit are located in these booths:

bookhou design from Toronto, ON at booth E-9

jenna rose from Guelph, ON at booth M-12

lines by: davis; from Toronto, ON at booth G-49

Little Brown Wren ; from Toronto, ON at booth I-48

Funk Shui is Jessica de Hass from Vancouver, BC at Booth N 10

For good quality home products visit these booths also

Silo Weavers; from St. Jacobs, ON at booth K-50

The Urban Quilt Co.; from Toronto, ON at booth H-34

Valerie Page Quilts; from Toronto, ON at booth L-34

Yasmine Louis; from Toronto, ON at booth G-7


* New Brunswick College of Crafts and Design (web site currently under reconstruction)

All images provided by the artist and used with permission.

meanwhile on-line from Calgary

Poplar ArtCraft online gallery of visual art presents...

Lesley Turner - new work

March 30 to May 25, 2007

You are invited to view a new online exhibition by Lesley Turner at Poplar ArtCraft. Lesley works with textiles and embroidery techniques to celebrate UNESCO World Heritage sites she travels to. Click the link below or cut & paste it into your browser to visit the gallery.

Mary Kim's exhibition continues until April 20, 2007

Poplar ArtCraft provides an online space for emerging artists and writers to showcase their work on the internet. We welcome proposals from individual artists, instructors, curators and collectives. Two online spaces are available for the exhibition of visual art. A text page is available to showcase not only artist statements for exhibitors, but selected critical and creative writing as well, including reviews of current and past exhibitions at Poplar ArtCraft.For more information visit the "submit your work" page.

Send proposals to:

Past exhibitions may now be accessed from the archive page at

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