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I have come back to this editorial to ad a sad note, I have just been informed that,
Helen Marie Duffy (nee Stahel) died on September 7th, 2008.
It is the exploration of her curitoral work that has provided the base of the my main articel for this issue. "It simply started with a question" which points out the need to document artist and curators before their work gets lost in time.With her passing this need has been sharply brought into focus for me.My research into her work has opened the door for fibreQUARTERLY's editorial plans for 2009- 2010. this story is the first and introduction to those plans. An outline with calls for submission will be posted in the new year.
HELEN MARIE DUFFY 1923-2008
Its about finishing touches, repairing broken links, finding replacements for stuff that just did not come in. iIs about sharing information. Last September I was in Calgary and got to see a stunning exhibition Wendy Toogood’s A Nakusp Narrative. In the simplest terms it is a journal of the everyday. It is appliquéd, embroidered, embellished cloth pages documenting the making of Tea. I got to see it hours after it was hung and was on an airplane during the opening the next day. Wendy Toogood is profiled here with a theoretical examination by west coast artist and writer Amy Gogarty. I need to thank Amy and Stride Gallery for allowing me to represent this essay in this venue. I landed running, in three months since then, I have been to almost a dozen openings of shows featuring textile and fibre arts, they have been in hotels, galleries, museums I have seen a dress that could be Marie Antoinette’s. read “in the viewfinder” and click on the image “detail of flower and feather embroidery” and a window will open and show you an larger then life close up of the embroidered stitches.
Larger than life close ups to examine take up a lot of space and take time to open on your computer so be aware there are many high resolution in this issue. Since it is December and you might be thinking about buying things for people, I have given you a sampling of textile related exhibition catalogues for you to think about buying, it is just the basic information the who what and how to purchase. I can recommend all. In this issue Artist and writers have given me the show case a wide range to approaches to working with textiles. Two exhibitions dealing with the immigrant experience, Dyed Roots: The New Emergence of Culture at the MOCCA in Toronto had two women working with manufactured textiles in almost opposite ways, Rashmi Varma embroidering and Reeta Saeed removing threads. In Montreal at the FOFA Gallery at Concordia, Rearranging Desires- Curating the "Other” Within Karen Tam, working in traditional paper cutting takes seemingly recognizable decorative motifs cut out of gold paper and fabric applied to the wall. Yes the panda bear is smoking. Mary Sui Yee Wong’s Yellow Apparel is a fashion parade, performance and installation. Concerned with a resurgence of a kind of fashionable Orientalism the jingoistic images of children on the textiles she worked with has to be seen to be believed.
Pam Tracz looks at a ten year time span of adult education in the Professional Quilt Instruction Community in the US provides insight and a way to understanding the ever expanding workshop and “kit” heavy Quilt world internationally. With from the Trades Show Floor: part 2, Shoshana Teitelman continues her exploration of new products available for "Crafters" that were displayed at the annual Craft and Hobby Association Convention last February in Anaheim California. She found automatic desk needle threaders to be amusing.
While all these stories give a broader scope to the pages of this publication my main article addresses the issues surrounding the need to catch our fibre history before it is gone. I lay out a timeline, earmark/ bookmark specific groups shows that when revisited can fill in some gaps in our understanding of the transitions from the guild supported weaving of domestic products to weaving art tapestries and experiments in off loom structural fibre work. This is my call to arms to claiming and naming our immediate past before it becomes our lost history. its about finishing touches , enjoy them, you don't need me to tell you what is in this issue, you just need to enjoy it.
cheers, Joe lewis Dec.2 2008
the images on the cover are as follows on the left from top to bottom, Mary Sui Yee Wong’s 美 mei (beautiful) 人 ren (person), Carol Seeley Echoes, 2003 , Wendy Toogood, journal page Marie Antoinette’s Dress, Rashmi Varma