"Stitch in Time" Accounting

At the Dunlop Art Gallery, inside of Reginal Public Library Central, in the downtown of Saskatchewan’s capital city, the people who wander into the gallery are welcomed by artworks that invite their involvement. A part of the “generator” series, the Stitch in Time exhibition and its programs are expected to reach audiences that include art viewers as well as library visitors who regularly pop into the space, which is opposite the check-out desk. “All libraries should have art galleries!” Lori Weidenhammer and I concluded at the end of four interactive sessions commissioned by the Dunlop curators Wendy Peart and Blair Fornwald (or was it that we thought, “all galleries should be inside of libraries”?).

Libraries and art are indeed well matched, from the perspective of Slofemists. Active (from time to time) since 2013, Slofemists reflects the way both Lori’s and my art practices have settled on the kind of “social practice” that aims to emphasize issues affecting our participants. In Slofemists we bring relevant topics like feminisms and ecology “to the table” and use art or craft processes to focus the discussions and enable the kind of connections and sociability needed to understand our shared challenges. As one of the groups featured in Stitch and Time, we spent four long workshop sessions in the gallery with visitors.

After we left Mindy Yan Miller and Suzanne Miller, next in the Stitch in Time series, presented the performance Needle and Thread. The components of Needle and Thread were on display while we were there, as if in-waiting for the artists to make them come alive. A circle of clothing stitched together was lying on the floor, ready for one of the performers to take her place in a waist-sized opening in the centre, and another to work on the periphery where more clothing would be attached. Behind this large disc of used clothing, a video projected names from the archives of Yad Vashim (The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre) up the wall like a movie’s final credits. An evocative sound work by Allan Paivio repeated this list of first names with softness and intensity. It was both a haunting and soothing accompaniment for the handwork and conversations that we shared during our sessions in the gallery.

I understand that tonight in the gallery the artists Heather Majaury and Terre Chartrand will be presenting the piece Neighbours as their part of Stitch and Time. The gallery’s notice describes how today’s workshop is aiming to “provide newcomers to Canada and its citizenship a more inclusive history of the diverse Aboriginal peoples of Canada.” When we were in the galley, Neighbours was shown as two incomplete “blankets” of textile pictures on the wall: one set made by newcomers to Canada and the other by Indigenous people. Many of the newcomers’ panels displayed Syrian signifiers like red boats commemorating people lost at sea--as was pointed out to me by one of the Dunlop Library’s staff members who was herself from the Middle East. The centre of the Indigenous panels was a dividing line made from three fabric strips in purple, white and purple. Owing to the generous teachings of Haudenosaunee hosts from Four Directions Indigenous Centre who welcomed me at events on the campus of Queen’s University (during recent studies), I recognized these horizontal stripes as likely representing the Two Row Wampum, or Gusweñta--a beaded belt recording a 406-year-old treaty of mutual respect between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch settlers. Two ships represented by the purple lines are on parallel but separate trajectories. Above these unfinished panels, the words of another document of respect and responsibility, the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada: Call to Action #93, formed a heading text for the entire display:

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with the national Aboriginal organizations, to revise the information kit for newcomers to Canada and its citizenship test to reflect a more inclusive history of the diverse Aboriginal peoples of Canada, including information about the Treaties and the history of residential schools.

It was very humbling to sit and embroider—one of many survival skills inherited from my newcomer grandmothers—under this call. Many of the visitors to the gallery were themselves newcomers and the handwork of Neighbours gave us an opportunity to talk together about the Truth and Reconciliation commission, and the way it included newcomer neighbours through Call to Action #93.

Following Heather Majaury and Terre Chartrand’s support of newcomers with information about Indigenous people and histories, the final artwork in Stitch and Time will end the series by supporting Indigenous people themselves. Stacy Fayant will later this week present Hand-Sewn with Love, a session for friends of this Métis artist to receive “comfort and medicine” through traditional skin stitching.

During our Slofemists time in the gallery, visitors were invited to consider how and what in their world needed mending while they sat quietly on or near Slofa, a patchwork created in similar gatherings during the years 2013 to 2016. In a nearby “Menditation Station” small boxes were set out to receive their handwritten mending descriptions and intentions for change. The Slofa’s embroidery patterns were wall-mounted in the space, as was a new pattern we had designed for Stitch and Time: Famished Road Ecology: for 25 Million Refugees”.

As described on the “Famished Road Ecology” pattern, our topics for this visit to Saskatchewan were broad but surprisingly interconnected. We wanted participants to sit with the biggest of our world’s problems by embroidering a hungry road with stitches representing refugees and ditches filled with threatened ecological diversity. Generously, Lori had also designed and brought materials for participants to make indigo eye masks filled with a soothing mix of lavender seeds, buckwheat, and wheat; and covered with sun-printed shadows of native plants. These were needed when the heaviness of the topics required an inward turn to meditation or rest.

Now that a couple of weeks have passed since Lori and I were stitching and getting to know newcomers to Regina, I am thinking about how the exhibit gathered artists and craft practices to count and be accountable. Needles and Thread by Mindy Yan Miller and Suzanne Miller recited a large number of historic names and processed a large volume of used clothes to mark a much greater number of lost lives—forever grievable. Another project of Mindy Yan Miller, Six Million Stitches, also memorialized people lost in the Holocaust with counted stitches that the artist made with human hair onto blanket fragments and counted on paper during public performances. Heather Majaury and Terre Chartrand’s Neighbours demonstrated for me how the TRC’s Calls to Action need to be read expansively. Majury and Chartrand's action to inform newcomers, in an art setting, goes well beyond the TRC call for the government to take on this responsibility. In this way they are demonstrating how the Calls to Action are expected to be enacted in spirit, not just in words or in literal interpretation of the words.  

With the library in the background—itself an ever changing storehouse of records and reading—this exhibition seemed to me like its own archive-in-progress. Soon, the curators will return to us the Slofa and the menditation boxes with cards recording realizations of brokenness and intentions to make change. Lori and I have decided that we will stage a quiet ceremony here in Vancouver to close our time with this evidence. We are also expecting that the embroidered famished roads will have collected more stitches and pictures of the problematic ecologies of forced migration and settler roadways. We will send them to Jennifer Kim Sohn to help her realize the 25 million stitches needed to make the number of refugees more real for her audiences in California. Besides the ecological losses recorded on the Slofemists banners made at the Dunlop, the stitches now also carry remembrances of genocide of European Jews in the twentieth century, and the responsibility of all Canadians to address our own broken treaties and genocidal histories.

Thank you to everyone at the Dunlop Art Gallery and Dunlop Public Gallery, particularly curators, Blair Fornwald and Wendy Peart, and Director Curator Jennifer Matotek.



Famished Road Ecology (for 25 Million Refugees)

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 .

Slofemist_Road_PatternDownload 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:


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 4:00 – 8:00 PM

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 12:00 - 4:00 PM

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 4:00 – 8:00 PM

All membranes are porous

A metaphoric feature of Slofa that has not so far been talked about or noticed or mused over is it's skin-like function in covering sitting surfaces that are maybe not so contiguous or new or pretty. As a furniture cover it designates a sitting surface different from what is under or inside of it. Wearing all of the little stitches and knots and minor mistakes and beautiful creations of Slofemists embroiderers over several years it is not just the thing that is looked at, its skin-like function is now one of its features.

Or at least that is one of the meanings that comes from its inclusion inside of the exhibition, All membranes are porous, which is now presented at Kamloops Art Gallery. This exhibition, curated by Charo Neville, brings together works by six Canadian artists that explore dynamic conditions and phenomena familiar to human embodiment --the experiences of living as a body. In her curatorial exhibition walkabout, which preceded the exhibition opening last week, Neville led the crowd in breathing exercises and proudly described how this exhibition would be her last professional output before her own swollen body would deliver an expected baby. Fittingly, this is a project that demands that the viewer use more than just the eyes. The body is expected to maneuver around precarious foam, ceramic and felt sculptures (Zoe Kreye and Luanne Martineau), sit through psychedelic eye-popping effects (Jeremy Shaw), and experience diverse video installation spaces, where the way one's body is positioned or held, is part of the video's effect (Jeremy Shaw, Pascal Grandmaison, Sarah Anne Johnson, and Margaret Dragu). The work of the Slofemists forms surfaces for that kind of altered or enhanced viewing in Margaret Dragu's The Library Project. 

Here are some photos of how Slofemists participants Rebecca Pasch and Lois Klassen experienced the exhibition and opening events. Excerpts of the exhibition notes that describe the Slofemists work is here - Download KamloopsArtGallery_Dragu001.

Congratulations to artists, Margaret Dragu, Pascal Granmaison, Sarah Anne Johnson, Zoe Kreye, Luanne Martineau, Jeremy Shaw, and curator, Charo Neville, and everyone at Kamloops Art Gallery!



The Slofemists' Intensive


Embroidery by Karin Millson

Since the fall of 2013, the Slofemists project and its many participants have slowly worked away at embroidery, feminism, self care, group care, and local ecologies --all with deliberate slackness. Not so much sluggishness as a rebellion against speed, the Slofemists project has been a methodology of feminist survival, an excuse to gather and exchange life skills and stories and to produce a pretty singular pile of embroidered creations.

Organizers, Lori Weidenhammer and Lois Klassen, are excited to announce that later in 2016, the work of the Slofemists will appear inside an installation by Margaret Dragu at the Kamloops Art Gallery (September 24 - December 31). In this exhibition the Slofa patchwork, on which so many hands have worked, is expected to designate a place for gallery visitors to view a very special collection of Margaret Dragu’s video archive. Her work called “The Library Project / Commodification of Touch” offers a profound view of people in the act of personal knowledge exchange.

You are invited to join the Slofemists in the final (intensive) production of the Slofa patchwork and other peices for this exhibition project.

The Slofemists' Intensive will take place at the Moberly Arts & Culture, 7646 Prince Albert Street, Vancouver, Canada.

June 23: 9 am to 2:30 pm
June 24: 9 am to 5 pm
June 25: 9 am to 3:30 pm

Everyone is welcome. No textile proficiency is required. This site will become an open textile studio during those times, so feel free to bring your own projects (or mending, etc.), to come and go, or just to enjoy the vibe. As usual, Weidenhammer and Klassen aim to mingle the collective handwork of the workshops with fun and empowerment: topical discussions, collective food, garden time and self-care.

IMPORTANT - Please confirm the times that you plan to come to ease in planning, especially food and supplies - [email protected]




Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 8.52.27 PM

Lisa Anne Auerbach - Video

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.


Degree Exhibition

The end of 2 years of studies at Emily Carr University.


In the exhibition of the Master of Applied Art students in the University's Charles H. Scott Gallery, I am exhibiting a new video work called Word Finding.

This gallery-based piece is a reflection on a community-based video project that I am currently completing with participants of the Elder Financial Abuse Dialogue project in North Vancouver, and students from the Film and Video program at Emily Carr University.

It looks something like this:


I am very grateful to Bette, Iara, Glenys, and Claire for being so willing to get involved in a community video project. The entire project will be screened on June 15, 2011 - World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at the John Braithwaite Community Centre in North Vancouver.

These are some of the words that the participants have found to address the issue of elder financial abuse:

financial abuse

seldom stops by itself

you need to take some action

much to my disbelieving ears

I heard my own voice

saying I do believe

you are trying to scam me

I am a feminist & social worker

who has worked in the field

of family violence for 25 years . . . .


FANCY DANCING is hosting some weekend closing events. Everyone is invited:

Saturday (Nov 13), 1-4pm - Comforter Art-Action Sewing Circle

- Make a patchwork blanket from recycled fabric. Bring scissors. Everything else is provided or learned on the spot. Finished blankets are distributed to NGOs or shelters.

Saturday (Nov 13), 7pm - VHS Movie Night with Sara French

- bring your pillow or folk festival lawn chair. Sara will bring a selection of VHS tapes from the ECU library. Popcorn provided. Bring drinks.

Sunday (Nov 14), 3pm - FANCY DANCING with pow wow dancer and ECU student, Adrienne Greyeyes! This performance will close the exhibition, so don't miss it!

And, on the same theme -

Thursday (Nov 18), 3:50pm (ECU, 301B) - Lois Klassen will discuss Fancy Dancing as well as the use of memorabilia and memory of events in the panel "Staging interations, obsessive copying and restless adaptations in emergent practices: Josh Hite, Lois Klassen, Holly Schmidt and Erdam Tasdelen" as part of AHIS333 Interdisciplinary Forum.

Hope you can join us! Spread the word.

Michelle Sound Perich & Lois Klassen

FANCY DANCING is open every day until Sunday, Nov 14  from 1-4pm.


Here is a mid-term exhibition that I am installing with fellow MAA Grad Student, Michelle Sound Perich.




A collaborative installations in which tradition, image, and material offer the promise of an event.

Michelle Sound Perich

Lois Klassen

With curatorial asistance by Frederick Cummings

"History is the subject of a structure whose site is not homogenous..." Walater Benjamin

November 5-14 2010

Opening event - November 5, 7-10pm

1612 Gallery

Emily Carr Univeristy of Art + Design

Faculty of graduate studies gallery

1612 West 3rd Avenue

Vancouver, BC CANADA



Offit Offsite - 1 & 2

I knew we were off to a good start, when Simon Piasecki, the new head of performance at University of Salford said "oh good, you are taking us on a Dérive." With that a small group of artists, performers and educators headed off to a five star hotel (named for an artist of the people) to be part of a performance: conversation in public. Mary Oliver & I commissioned three emerging performance artists to get us started. Rachael Nutter of Littleborough had us deconstruct a yarn from the repertoire of her previous knitting actions; Rowan Oliver-Weaver of Ripponden read stories of the hotel's namesake, LS Lowry, from the picture book The Lowry Lexicon, written by her grandmother and Lowry biographer Shelley Rohde; and Darren White of Chester transmitted the day's news stories by way of can and string. Later the group sat around and worked at figuring out some of the complexities of producing art in Salford, past and present - and how to ensure that the community remains vibrant, affordable and inspiring.




We will be having one more public conversation - Offit Offsite 2, on Thursday evening at 7 pm. Join us for a walk --Dérive-- to another one of Salford's great conversation spots... drinks on us! Meet at Hub M3 .

Offit Offsite asks: what happens when an art centre opens up in a regenerating neighbourhood?

Thank you to everyone who has participated so far, especially Rachael, Rowan and Darren.

Offit opening

has been launched.

Tomorrow (July 25, 2pm) is Offit Offsite, a conversation event featuring three emerging performance artists, in conversation with visitors of The Lowry Hotel: Rachael Nutter, Rowan Oliver-Weaver and Darren White. Everyone welcome, meet at the Hub M3, Riverside Complex in Salford, Greater Manchester.