After the Dunlop Art Gallery (Regina Saskatchewan) earlier this month, I took one of the three panels started in the Stitch in Time exhibit with me to Winnipeg Manitoba. I left it with my sister, Joan Baker, who took it with her to work where students visiting the Niakwa Place School Library got involved! Thank you, Joan, for explaining the project and urging students (Kindergarten to Grade 8) to learn about forced migration through hand work and textiles.
Tonight is Nuit Blanche in Regina! Indeed, white flakes are already starting to fill the city's windy streets that are expected to be white by evening. Otherwise, the Slofemists' part of the Dunlop Gallery's "Stitch and Time" exhibition will add colour to the night.
Join us at the Dunlop through the white night. In the gallery's warmth there will be stitching, a reading cart, a menditation circle, and a table for you to add your intentions to mend and recipes to realize that intention. Lori and Lois will be there to guide you in all of the above, and to get some slow and intentional conversation going on the many topics that they are bringing to this city's night of art: ecology, forced and natural migrations, intentions for change, feminism, textiles, time, and more.
Famished Road Ecology (for 25 Million Refugees) is a new embroidery pattern that the Slofemists designed especially for Nuit Blanche Regina 2019. The stitches laid down onto unbleached cotton panels will be added to Jennifer Kim Sohn's 25 Million Stitches--a project that is working to realize the quantity of refugees listed by UNHCR in 2016 .
Download pattern - Download Slofemist_FamishedRoad_Pattern
Visitors to the gallery will see that Slofemists are in the colourful and profound company of artworks representing the other projects that are part of the longer-running "Stitch and Time" Generator project. These include: Mindy Yan Miller and Suzanne Miller: Needle and Thread, Heather Majaury and Terre Chartrand: Neighbours: A Community Quilting Project, Stacey Fayant: Hand-Sewn with Love/kashkwaykashoon a maen avik shakihitowin .
This week, the Slofemists (Lori Weidenhammer and Lois Klassen) are stitching and menditating at the Dunlop Gallery. Come to stitch and menditate. After Nuit Blanche other activities will take place including stitching menditation masks and menditation circles:
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 7:00 - MIDNIGHT
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 4:00 – 8:00 PM
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 12:00 - 4:00 PM
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 4:00 – 8:00 PM
WOW what a lot of feminist news to process at the final 2014 Slofemists event last weekend...
Let's see how much I remember:
- Hillary Clinton deflecting discussions during her recent visit to Canada of the formidible possibility of her breaking through the thickest of glass ceilings;
- mansplaining, an as yet unarticulated cultural concept, courtesy of Rebecca Solnit;
- the complex and contrary messaging of #yesallwomen;
- Germain Greers's provocation - what will it be like when women are not needed to make babies? (in a lecture at the new Canada Human Rights Museum);
- ... I'm sure there was more!
Here are a couple of podcasts that were shared:
Semiotext(s)'s new publication by Simone Weil inspired Sunday's SlofemistS. We wondered if the entrenched economic inequity based on gender, from stories in our families' histories, could be understood as what Weil describes as an unexamined and highly desired "truth" --the stuff of religions, and adherents to political parties. In "Note on the Abolition of All Political Parties" (first published in French in 1957, and now available in English as part of the Semiotext(e) Whitney Series), Weil decides that political parties, like religious groups, are incapable of critically examining the truth... "how can one desire truth without knowing anything about it?" (20). We wondered if her logic could be applied like this: how can one desire some "truth" (like inequitable distribution of family assets based on gender, for example) when one does not thoroughly examine the justice of this truth on all of the people involved?
Weil's essay ends: "Almost everywhere --and often for purely technical problems--the operation of taking sides, of taking position for or against, has replaced the obligation to think." (30)
Other SolfemistS highlights from Sunday:
Lexie Owen is continuing her deconstruction / reconstruction project called For All The Boys I've Loved Before, that was featured in the graduate exhibition at Emily Carr University of Art + Design at the beginning of this month.
Kriss Boggild dug into her archive and brought along three issues of Makara: The Canadian Magazine by Women for People circa 1975-78. Coming out of an office on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, Makara's editorial policy was "'Canadian general interest alternative magazine by women for people.'... some art, some fiction/poetry, some politics, some humour, some health news, some children's features, some book reviews... We want to reflect the growing, moving, changing times, without making things appear impossibly dismal, because we believe in possibilities, and people who are working for new ideas, new approaches, new lifestyles. Do we sound fussy? We are!" (Vol 2, #4, page 10)
Jem Nobel brought a family story about the important but unacknowledged economic contribution that his mother had made in his extended family. He used the SlofemistS time and supplies to do his mending.
Margaret Dragu was completely delighted by the hazards the heavy weather had presented to her en route... I was so glad she made it!
At the Contemporary Art Gallery last week visiting curators from Germany reminded me of this very common German suffix. When Verein is appended to its subject, it describes the inherent sociability of that subject. It means something like an active membership or association or group working together.
Kunstverein is something like the more established artist-run institutions in Canada in that they are art institutions that have been built up from a community of active members. Bart van der Heide, the director of Kunstverein Munich, described how he had come to love his institution's verein: a group of lovable and loving mostly middle age or elderly women who continuted to act as long term members, donors and champions of the institution.
Mostly, I remember hearing the words neiverein and frauenverein - the sewing groups and women's groups that my grandmothers eagerly attended on at least a weekly basis. I can hear these words spilling out of their mouths repeatedly, so much as to accumulate in mounds on the scrubbed surfaces of both their kitchens. Verein, verein, verein, verein was affectionately cited in almost all talking - it was creditted for gossip and for tragic news and for brilliant insights and all manner of resolution and restitution in one's local and larger universe...
screen shot - "Frauenverein" image search, Google, 20140521
In this video Lisa Anne Auerbach explains how her art works in the 2014 Whitney Biennial are meant to be examples of alternative publishing. By this, I think she means that her knitted items can carry around and display a legible narrative, by way of text and symbol. Using a knitting machine, she makes garments that record her chants & rants ("keep abortion legal"), her past times (food and drink are represented with readable symbols), her collections (an archive of psychics' predictions makes up a large banner). Also, to make the publishing theme unavoidable, she has included in the show a "megazine" -- an oversize publication that documents her research into psychics at work.
In the video she comments on her self-sufficiency in the works' production. Really, it is her use of studio-sized industrial machines that makes her self sufficient. The oversize colour printer is pictured, and the knitting machine cannot be too far away. I find this intriguing: her work refers to DIY culture (yarn bombing and 'zine culture), but through the works' materials and processes, she has forced this aesthetic through industrial processing. Is she claiming a creative territory in the rapidly expanding world of rapid prototyping? What does the "maker" culture think of her work? What is retained from the DIY in her large-scale, quick-copy publishing?
Her work is well placed in this iteration of the Whitney Biennial since so much of the selected work concerns the "complex relationships between linguistic and visual forms," in the words of her curator, Stuart Comer. I thought the exhibition in its enormity displayed the complex relationships between visual forms and just about everything else. Much of the work situated art practices in other worlds, and situated other worlds (publishing, archiving, narrative film...) inside the world of art.
Here is a new zine published by the alumni, students, and faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts. In their introduction, the editors suggest that each issue will be featuring a geographical as well as thematic focus. To start, the region featured is "La Frontera," the Mexican north / the US southwest; and the theme is "slow." Pam Calore, an alumni of VCFA who lives and works in San Deigo, sent me a link to this zine because her contribution to it features a photo that she took of one of the blankets made by way of my project Comforter Art Action. Pam delivered that blanket to a shelter for deported migrants in Tijuana. She fittingly paired the blanket photo with one she took of a protest sign at the Mexican/US border: "No Militariza[...] La Frontera" | "Angeles Sin Fronteras". The sign is partially obscured by drying clothes, evidence of the daily and personal costs of the militarized border. This edition of here ends with a manifesto by Faith Wilding that works by chronicling a day well spent in mindful attention to its pleasures, including its delays.
"Don't let speed control you. The slow body's pleasures and pains are part of your radical subjectivity." Faith Wilding, "Manifesto for the Slow Body-Mind," Here, VCFA (2014)
Slofemists will be embroidering again next Saturday (February 22, 1-3pm). For this event, Cindy Mochizuki has graciously agreed to tell us about her grandmother's practice in the Japanese art of Bunka Shishu (or thread painting). Everyone is invited to bring feminist stories, as usual. Embroidery supplies and equipment will be available. No prior experience needed. If you have your own project to work on, bring it along, otherwise, Slofemist Patterns will be available for you to work on.
Note: This gathering will move out of the Yukon Studio, for this time only, and take place in The Textiles Institute, an itinerant project space created in Emily Carr's Abraham J Rogatnick Media Gallery by Lexie Owen. Owen is an Emily Carr University student of visual art and critical studies. This is how she describes The Textiles Institute:
Anyone with any type of interest in textiles is welcome to use the provided work space from Feb 12-23rd. The project hopes to create an opportunity for knowledge exchange between art and design, students, faculty, support staff, and the public, and proposes itself as a potential model for a topic driven post-displinary workspace. The space is a structure for exchange, and throughout its duration will host sewing bees, knitting groups, design consortiums, fashion designers, performance works, and a variety of workshops.
Slofemitsts will be embroidering at the Yukon Studio next Saturday. We've invited Elisa Ferrari to talk about her experience embroidering a Boetti panel. Bring your own feminist story... and come ready to embroider!
16 DICEMBRE 2040–11 LUGLIO 2023 (December 16, 2040–July 11, 2023). 1971
Embroidery on fabric. Each: 23 5/8 x 23 5/8" (60 x 60 cm). Private collection, Houston. © 2012 Estate of Alighiero Boetti/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome
These embroidered squares were the first works Boetti had fabricated in Kabul, on his initial visit to Afghanistan. He supplied the dates to hired embroiderers without further direction, and he was pleasantly surprised when the texts came back surrounded by ornate borders. Boetti was interested in the idea that an artwork might be produced by different parties without collaboration or discussion—a form of authorship that is split rather than shared. The dates had superstitious connotations for Boetti: December 16, 2040, will be the hundredth anniversary of his birth; July 11, 2023, is the date he predicted for his death.
We hope you can make it to one or more of these studio embroidery circles in Vancouver, Canada:
Saturday, February 8, 1-3pm = Special Guest, Elisa Ferrari will talk about how she came to embroider an Alighiero Boetti textile. We hope to bring a feminist frame to his iconic textile work.
Saturday, February 22, 1-3 pm = Special Guest, Cindy Mochizuki will discuss her grandmother’s practice in the Japanese art of Bunka Shishu (or thread painting).
Saturday, March 29, 1-3 pm = Special Guest, Lexie Owen will talk about why her projects (The Collaborative Embroidery Society, and more) bring critical theory alongside handwork like embroidery.
These are small, free events that take place at the Yukon Street studio near the O. Village Sky Train station. No skill or equipment is needed (but you are invited to bring your own embroidery supplies if you have them.) Please send an email [loisATloisklassenDOTcom] to reserve a place, and to get details on the location.
[[Note the change of dates from previous posts.]]