Sunday, November 11, 2012

Continuum at World of Threads Festival

The dates: November 2 - 17, 2012,
The times:  8:30 - 4:30 Mon-Friday, 10 am - 5 pm Saturday
The place: Oakville, Ontario (thirty minutes west of Toronto)
The venue: Oakville Town Hall, 1225 Trafalgar Road, (North of QEW) 
Viki Jenkin's self portraits greet visitors first.
Femininity, 2012, by Victoria Jenkins.  Fifteen parts, each about 5 inches square, embroidered layers of digitally printed fabric, framed.
"It is about becoming someone, or acting a part, based on the way in which I appear.  By exposing this superficial vanity as a construct and not a natural representation it becomes far more difficult to determine the genuine self within."
Flying Family Tree, 2012, by Monika Brueckner.  Stitched paper. 

Monika's piece is an example of how this venue challenged the exhibitors to rethink the presentation of their work.  The exhibition first showed in June 2012, in the gallery space of Middlesex University, London, England.   In England, Monika was able to hang her vessels so that the threads and layers of time were evident.  She installed them over an old suitcase full of family memorabilia but because of the very public nature of the town hall, her work needed to be encased within plinths.
"Childhood experiences as well as social surroundings form the individual.  Even family members we have not met influence our personality and behaviour, as does the German history of society.  Each paper vessel represents one family member.  The thickness of paper and thread refer to personal relationships. Stitches are the visual representation of experience, forming the vessel itself." 
Untitled, 2012, by Jean Kirk.   Pin tucked shibori-dyed organdy

Another challenge in the Canadian venue was the colour of the brick walls. 
"This work is about meditation.  Based on the gravel raking of a Zen Bhuddist garden, it reflects the contemplative quality found in many world religions.  Meditation begins by confining the mind, which then allows it to be free to enter a different mental plane.  The pin tuck manipulation sometimes confines the fabric, and then allows it to be free."
Considering Pattern Darning, 2012, Denise Jones.  Embroidery, silk on linen ground, digitally reproduced images

In the June exhibit, Denise was able to install her smaller embroidery as a table cloth, but for security reasons in the Canadian venue, this was not possible.  Denise and her husband Mark came over from England for the installation and opening as did Monika with her husband Joachim and Viki with her sister Helen.
I stitched her words "All We Want Is A Better, Fairer, Human Life"  detail, Denise Jones. Counted thread pattern darning, silk thread on linen.  Each stitch represents one of the words in the quotation above, covering the correct number of spaces with thread.

"Using hand-worked pattern darning as a language and social metaphor, the work embeds meaning into the grid of linen cloth.  The embroidery in lustrous silk transforms and adds an absent voice to the matt linen, like writing across a page."
Collection, 2012, by Valerie Cross.   Found material and bare iron wire

Val responded well to the restraints of the wooden display cabinet and the plinths available at the town hall venue in Oakville.  In England, the work was not behind glass and showed well against white walls. Val travelled to Canada and installed the work herself.
"This work is about collecting. The excitement of detection and acquisition has been distilled into complex linear structures in a curated display.  The spheres, large and small, combine collected material with bare iron wire. This combination provides authenticity and implies the natural process of disintegration which has been temporarily halted by display."
Freedom is Choice: Choice is Freedom, 2012 by Marilyn Hall.  Sculpture relating to corsetry.

In England, Marilyn had five of these sculptures displayed on life size stands.  For the Canadian exhibition, she made two distilled sculptures and suspended them within plinths.  In Marilyn's case especially, the challenges put forth in regard to bringing her work to Canada, and then placing it within confined space, helped the artist to refine and come closer to the essence of her intent.

Marilyn and her husband Vince also came to Toronto for the installation and opening, afterwards going on to New York.   
Freedom is Choice; Choice is Freedom, 2012, by Marilyn Hall.  Sculpture relating to corsetry.

"This work is a narrative that references the relationship between constriction and release.  The sculptures are a visual metaphor for female empowerment." 
Make Gloves Not War, 2012, by Caroline Hibbs.  Stitched boiled wool, metal embellishments, book of digital photos.

Caroline had perspex boxes made for her gloves so that they would be able to be well presented in this brick walled venue.  In England she had six pairs unframed - here she has distilled her work and refined the presentation. 
"This collection has at its source the notion of protection with special reference to our hands.  Inspiration came from research into medieval armour.  The chosen cloth focuses on the colour and shine of steel armour.  The use of white openwork is representative of peace.  "
Home, 2012, by Lesley Turner.  Stained and stitched cotton.

Lesley's work in the Oakville venue made a radical shift from her installation in the UK.  There, she hung the four large lengths of cloth from a square frame so as to form a soft home that one could walk into.  Since hanging from the ceiling was not possible in the town hall, Lesley refined her vision and was able to create the idea of domestic space using a minimum of means. 

Lesley recently moved from Calgary to Victoria BC.  She and Ingrid (scroll down) met in Oakville for the installation and opening of Continuum.  They were joined by the other members of Articulation who also travelled from Western Canada to take in the many exhibitions of the World of Threads festival and other art galleries/museums in Toronto.
"This work documents a process of getting to know the Douglas fir ecosystem by marking on cloth a lunar year in a tree's life cycle.  I began by wrapping four trees with sheets from my children's beds. The sheets are a signifier of how I nurtured my children and now reference my desire to nurture my natural environment.  The wrapped trees responded by staining the sheets.  My response was to add stitch in the colour palette I observed in each tree at each new moon."
Monumental Simplicity, 2012, Judy Martin.   Plant dyed silk/wool gauze with hand stitching

The scale of Judy's piece (9 feet square) makes installation a problem anywhere.  In England, the work was hung from the ceiling on a trapeze.   For the Oakville install, her husband built a stand that suspended the work from natural wood within a frame of emptiness.   This allowed Judy's work to get away from the dark brick walls and take advantage of the natural light of the atrium windows in the space. 
The artist also added and removed some red threads since the grad show, in order to give the viewer more of the feeling of being alone in nature, distracted and sent into inner reverie by the many small marks all around, each unique, all the same.

"Life whirls around me, repetitive risking, wide gentle blanket, stitching holds time
My friend the horizon, breathing in, breathing out, rhythmic intensity, simple design."

Place: A perfect landscape, 2012 by Ingrid Lincoln.   Silk fabric batik in resin.

Ingrid was faced with two challenges in the Canadian venue.  The wooden display cabinet for her three dimensional work and the hard dark brick walls of the town hall for her wall piece. As a result, her installation in Canada is completely different than the one in England, where long nails lifted her wall piece away from a white wall and her cubes of cloth encased in resin were stacked on the floor.  Here in Canada,  she arranged the hardened fabric on a black cloth backdrop and raised the cubes up to eye level.   
 Ingrid lives in Winnipeg, Canada, and her work is a response to place.

"Filled with contradiction, this landscape is warm and cold, isolating and comforting, barren and colourful, city scape and wilderness.  One knows it through its atmosphere and experiences it through colour and light.  The frozen gesture becomes form.  This form holds and confers perfection and order: an order that is not real but illusionary.
Judy Martin acted as the liaison between the World of Threads festival and Continuum, which first showed June 2012, in London, England.  This exhibition will travel to Germany in February and Monika Brueckner will be the liaison.  .  It will be interesting to see how the same work looks in an entirely new space.


  1. Judy, thank you and your fellow graduates for mounting this exhibition.
    My friends and I travelled from North Dakota and Arizona to see WOT, and we weren't disappointed. We made it to most of the venues, and yours was among my favorites. Our first time in Toronto, but we hope not the last!
    Kim Baird

    1. thank you for this comment.
      The show was very well received. We took it down today (Monday November 19) and there were many positive comments in the guest book. I may post them here just to record...

  2. Here are some of the 75 comments from the guest book.

    The work is lovely
    Lovely show with its variety of work
    Beautiful expressions
    Great work
    wonderful show
    enjoyed the display
    I really enjoyed the variety of work
    Lovely Work! So nice to meet some of you and to hear about the work in person
    What a fabulous celebration of textiles and wonderful artwork in its own right too! Bravo!
    A fabulous experience - ideas, ideas, ideas!!
    Beautiful work and refreshing, informative artist statements. Deserves a better display area, however.
    Wonderful work! Thanks for bringing it all together in Oakville!
    Wonderful exhibit
    Magical exhibit
    Great exhibition!
    Beautiful exhibition
    So different, makes you think!
    Love it!!
    Great showing!
    Really weird stuff.
    Beautiful and thought provoking!
    Talented and gifted display of work
    so creative!
    Very creative
    Lovely display
    Love it!
    Thank you
    Absolutely F amazing! well done
    Thank you!
    Innovative, inspiring!
    Amazing! Gentle
    So diverse!

  3. Judy..
    I was not able to visit this exhibition due to work/time constraints, but so appreiate your bringing this record of the work to each of us. The individual works are inspired and so meaningful. The special installation preparations are appropriate and allow the viewers the opportunity to view the work all the while it is being protected or enhanced in this place by the installation preparations. I so want to see your Monumental Simplicity in person and hope to one day. Thank you for your sharing, the care you put into every project and many congratulations to you personally on your BA (Hons) Embroidered Textiles Degree and to all of your friends as their precious CONTINUUM INDEPENDENT EXHIBITION pieces travel home. Thanks for the link and the time I have been able to spend today viewing the work thanks to you.
    Bethany Garner in Kingston, ON