Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Fantastic Threadworks at the Thunder Bay Museum

An incredible little show of selected works representing twenty guilds from across Ontario with nearly a thousand talented members is on view on the Thunder Bay Museum’s third floor. Titled, Threadworks 2013, the show is comprised of needlework each taking on the theme of Water. The show was professionally juried and the only reason there are no Thunder Bay artists represented is because they didn’t enter. Tich! Tich! Get your act together! However, this show has so inspired our local members that they are determined to enter submissions for the next show in 2015.
     It’s become a bit too easy to be an artist today, and when your typical fine art show relies on the subjective and viewers search for relevance and meaning, the amount of time spent creating the work will come into play in a big way. It’s one way, a weak way, to determine its value.
     This happens too when the work is sentimental schlock, shocking, downright ugly, or entirely self expressive. We naturally want to think the artist has the best intentions, but it’s hard to overcome feelings of resentment when we see works hanging on a gallery wall with a price tag that beats the few hours spent creating it with Wall Street zeal that screams – rip off!
     So, of all the art shows you might see this year, this is one that will be hard to beat for the combined amount of effort, skill, knowledge, and heart. Even if your knowledge of needlework is limited, and you can’t appreciate the amount of time invested, you can still appreciate the beauty and the many themes therein, including the overly sentimental pieces.
     Overall the majority of works are contemporary and brilliant, in both beauty and execution. The show is comprised of professionally crafted fabric, quilts, machine work, needlework, free motion works, and most involve mixed media and mixed techniques.
     So much so that two of our local guild members, Karen Boote and Cathy Ridley spent a great deal of time discussing each piece, returning to several pieces a number of times. They were entranced by the variety.
     When asked if they had a favourite, they couldn’t come up with a single work.
 “It would be hard for me to pick one,” says Cathy. She motions towards a work called Sirens, and although she doesn’t like its background she finds the freeform workmanship to be incredible. “It’s stitched so precisely but so creatively.”
She was also very impressed with the folding involved in the shell piece entitled Nautilus by Helen Gordon. They were both impressed by the occasional subtle hand painting and with the knowledge that, “None of these works start with a standard design of anything,” says Cathy.
     Karen had her nose practically pressed to the work, Cellular Aqueducts by Mary Cope. Karen wondered if the cloth had been dipped in dye, and whether rice paper was used, mesh, or mulberry paper.
     A good number of works involve the use of free motion, which involves dropping the feed-dogs on a sewing machine so that the cloth can be moved around by hand. This can take a great deal of skill. “It helps if you have a glass of wine,” states Cathy.
    Cathy and Karen were very inspired by the show. “Looking at this work online does nothing for the pieces,” declares Karen.
     Threadworks 2013 is on view at the Thunder Bay Museum till the end of June.

1 comment:

  1. Good to know this is on at the Museum! Thanks for sharing.