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Invitation through Clasped Weft

Currently on display at the show: Community and Belonging: How Do We Heal Our World?

Show Opening: May 4, 1pm - 4pm

Night of Artists Gallery and Gifts, North end of Bonnie Doon Mall in Edmonton

Suite 133, 8330-82 Avenue

Here is the full artist statement.

I am a mother of a twenty-two-year-old force of nature who happens to be trans/non-binary.  They are an artist, filmmaker, activist, partner, friend, advocate, beloved blood and chosen family member.  We live in a world where they are in danger just for being themselves.  Their body is a radical act of not fitting in.      


Fitting in can keep us safe.  Fitting in can also mean being “normal” and hiding our most vibrant parts.. Belonging is where you can be your whole colourful self and feel safe, welcome, cherished, valued, and challenged.  We need all hands contributing to transform our current climate/political crisis.  This combination of threat and hope inspired me to create this work of art. 


I began with a plain black cotton warp on a simple loom.  The warp threads symbolize the rules, laws, and norms in our culture.  They are even, creating a framework for strength, but at the same time create boxes to fit into and hold everything and everyone in their place.  There are some gaps in the warp- can you spot them?


For the weft – over/under/back and forth parts- I gathered a big basket of many odds and ends from my stash of yarns.   I used commercial yarn, thread, hand dyed wool and locks, hand spun yarn and art yarn.  Materials are a combination of wool breeds, cotton, silk, and linen.


This intuitive, free form weaving is in two parts that flow together.  One half is mostly brown, grey, white, black.  Representing the status quo, all or nothing thinking, going along to get along.  Dialing down your vibrancy to not stand out or be a target.  Fitting in to be physically and emotionally “safe”.   There are some bright colours fitted in or looped around- attempting to join, but not really being part of the weaving.  This side represents our mainstream society- there’s attempts at letting in the odd ones- but they just fit in on the surface or the edge- not really belonging.  It also symbolizes how we all fit in somehow, but maybe not at our fullest selves. 


The other half is my vision for how diverse and vivid our society could be if there was less fitting in.  The technique of clasped weft is where one thread comes from the side- goes all the way through and across and grabs a second thread and pulls it into the weaving.  I imagine it as a hug held out in invitation to join in, belong, play, and add to the colour and fun of the fabric.  Can you spot these areas? All the colours, textures, and weights in this half send a bold challenge to be seen, contribute, work, be welcome, and be embraced just the way you are.  Where might you belong?


This woven art can be worn as a wrap, shawl, or poncho, or could hang on a big wall.   How might you feel wrapped up in this fabric?  Which direction would you hang it?


My textile journey began 30 years ago when I taught myself how to knit. From there I explored dyeing, spinning, wet felting, needle felt, eco-printing, and weaving.  Humble, natural materials transform with hands, simple tools, and imagination.  I draw inspiration from the natural world around me, balanced with my grief and anger at the state of our planet.  For me, textiles are meditation, solace, joy, and activism.     With gratitude, I live on the traditional and unceded territory of the Yaqan Nukiy of the Ktunaxa Nation.  (Creston, British Columbia)


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