Thursday, May 01, 2008

Contemporary Textile Studio Co-op launches website

Contemporary Textile Studio Co-op launches new website, with interesting possibilities

Billing itself as “Creating a community dedicated to textile arts, craft and design through education, innovation and research.” it is a 1100 square foot studio space at 401 Richmond St. West in Toronto. Max Allen of the Textile Museum of Canada is quoted referring to 401 Richmond as “A city with in a city”. 401 Richmond is appropriately located in what was the garment district of Spadina Avenue south of College Street, which for at least ¾ of the last century was the location of clothing manufacturing sweat shops and factories with a long dynamic and occasional tragic history. Now called the Fashion District referring to the displace of manufacturing and retail by Condominiums. 401 Richmond is as they call it on the website a “Hub”

The first thing you run into upon entering the first floor is Kilim Crafts (Studio 130) it is an interior design shop, but it is Kilims, rugs and furnishings cover with them, if you can get past that, there is YYZ Artists' Outlet (Studio 140), Wynick/Tuck Gallery (Studio 128), A Space Gallery (Studio 110) photography galleries, Gallery 44 (studio 120), and PREFIX INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART (Studio 124) then there is the Women’s Art Resource Centre (studio 122), Red Head Gallery (studio 115) and Toronto’s premier printmakers studio; Open Studio (studio 104). The Contemporary Textile Studio Co-operative Inc. (Studio 109) facilities have all of the key tools for textile printing and dying, a small group of members direct and manage the co-operative. They organize workshops and present artist talks and on the website they will present Textile Writing “Incisive thinking on the past, present and future of textile design & production” as an addition to the talks.

As they launch the site the first of these is a three part (in reverse chronology) article by artist and writer Andrea Maguire in which she offers her impressions of Bhutan and its artistic traditions and the changes being brought about by the encroachment of the modern tourist. Bhutan has enjoyed a guarded privacy in the Himalayas but is beginning to allow western visitors in; it has a rich and sophisticated textile tradition which Maguire explores in a cursory manner with this article. The site also has a gallery page presenting some of the work being done at the studio: such as

Gitta Hansen work with natural dyes: Reds from Cochineal, and Madder, Yellow from Yarrow and privit, on yarn and cloth.

Kate Bushy: Appliquéd wool throw made of. Reclaimed wool blanket, hand dyed and hand printed linen, velveteen, cotton.

Katherine Dynes: Embodying Memory Series of Serigraphy on cotton and silk organza with plexi- glass and found objects.

just to mention a few showing the variety of work the members are engaged in.
For information on the contemporary battle against sweatshops


and textile labour organizer Emma Goldman

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