My life on Facebook: by Roving Reporter PDF  | Print |  E-mail

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How facebook functions remain a constant game of catch up as they redesign the site constantly in order to make it more inefficient, harder to navigate and frustrate user in some bazaar marketing stratagem. I assume at some point they will offer a pay version that will be seamless in hopes that frustrated masses will pay for that service. I won’t be one of them but until that happens I persevere simply because for me it is a great place to make notes and document events, post photos with quick notations, which others can question, correct and comment on. For example I went to an opening the other night “FOR KEEPS: A MENDING SHOW” and normally I would have posted these images on facebook but since I had started to write this article I decided to do it here and I will link this back into facebook once it is posted. I did put one photo up on the facebook events page they had set up for the exhibition so I could “Share” it but also to get some information.

Facebook is simple but as Mae West said “ One and One are two and two and two are five if you know how to work it right”

FOR KEEPS: A MENDING SHOW opened at the Cream Tangerine Gallery, 1087 Queen St W in Toronto December 9 2010

mending supplies


Everyone’s got something they can’t throw away. Sometimes the “why” is obvious – it’s an heirloom or a collectible – but sometimes it’s not clear at all. Maybe you keep stitching up the thumb on your grubby mittens or gluing the handle back on your dollar store mug. For one reason or another you’ve become attached…”  from the press release

What had the possibilities of being a great show is in fact kind of random and disappointing. I was hoping for samples of mending and got “DIY Art” and or re-contextualized bad mending. Not that there is anything wrong with “DIY Art” and the bad mending is evidence of the lost art of mending. There was a legitimate attempt to look at mending from a contemporary point of view

 for keeps opening

Jen Anisef, and Marsya Maharani two of the curators of For Keeps standing in front of Grant Heaps' darned socks and a 1920s Palestinian dress

FOR KEEPS is an exhibition of ordinary objects made extraordinary by the efforts their owners have made to recognize, save, store, and repair – and our own desire to assign value and meaning in a disposable society. Some of the objects contributed include a 1920s Palestinian dress, ripped open for an emergency delivery (and subsequently re-stitched), and a pair of decaying teddy bear passed down and loved through generations. Oh, and socks.” from press release

Looking at the show as art is less interesting but it allows you to excuse the lack of skilled mending and once you have suspended your expectations you can appreciate the whimsy and social commentary of it.  The collection of jewel boxes with photographs of mended objects in them plays on the process of sentimental memory in maintaining the status quo, much as mending was a way of “keeping up appearances”. Literature is full of references to sustaining or a shift in social positions caused by the state of repair of ones clothing, a frayed cuff can turn a gentleman in appearance to a man of disrupted in the turning of a page.  As mending has gone from economic necessity courtesy of mass production and “Wallmart” the skills have basically disappeared with the baby boomers. Their parents came of age during the depression and the shame of the necessity of mending just renders those skills uncongenial in the post war period. 

Grant Heaps darned sock

 Sock darned by Grant Heaps

Before the invention of Nylon keeping silk stockings in good repair was an act of economizing now darning a massed produced sock is a political act rather then redundant. Runs in Nylon and stockings have been codified as being sexy, wanton or slovenly. Where as a hole in a man’s sock is just sort of sad, pathetic, creepy, speaks to bad hygiene and holes in his underwear. A bachelor with mended socks might be considered a mama’s boy, effeminate, or a womanizer surround by waiting and willing skillful female. Grant Heaps collection of darned socks are more like a collection of paint by numbers Clown paintings they just reek (pun intended) of pathos.
to get into your pants
 “fixing your shirt to get into your pants” by Alison L. Pearce

There is an extreme range of sexual interplay in the concept of mending. Keeping that in mind along with the acts of subversive stitching that have been explored in contemporary art history and social theory “fixing your shirt to get into your pants” by Alison L. Pearce could not be a more overt announcement of the wily feminine arts (needlework).  Don’t look to close though the repairs are far from invisible and considering the title… This piece is a riot: the object, the needle work the title just throws the baby, the bath water and the bath tube out. It is just fun for me, what her intentions are I have no guesses, only hope.

Serah-Marie McMahon from Worn Fashion Journal, and participating artist Grant Heaps among others were sitting in the MENDING CIRCLE that was happening during the opening. Ernst discussions, stories of family skills or lack of them, gossip catching up with friends and where to get rug hooks and score buttons pervaded the air. The combination of both show and circle was enjoyable, informative and allowed for speculating on how other such gatherings became political hotbeds that gave rise political actions. Rural quilting bees in the central US and Canada gave rise to a Farm Women’s Association of the late 1800s when they eventual invited men to come along the men took over and then invited woman back in and supported woman’s right to Vote. In Canada there is a direct line from these meetings to the CCF in Western Canada which led to the establishment of a third federal party the NDP) and in Ontario the establishment of the Woman’s Institute in the early 1900s which spread through the British Common Wealth.  


Interestingly I found an article in wikipedia about the United Framers of Alberta which doesn’t bother to mention its origins in a woman’s organization. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Farmers_of_Alberta the internet is an interesting place isn’t it.

FOR KEEPS features work by and contribution from Serene Daoud, Becky Johnson, Leah Buckareff, Angela Turner, Jacqueline Lawson, Mary Kroetsch, Alison L. Pearce and Grant Heaps/ The National Ballet of Canada. It was organized by City of Craft, Marsya Freedom, Serah-Marie McMahon, Jen Anisef, and Danijela Pruginic 


Barn Looms In Historic Ontario

Lang Pioneer Village

In August of 2009 I went to Lang for their Fibre Fest and posted these images on facebook and there they sat. Eighteen months later I contacted the Museum Manager- Joe Corrigan and Special Events & Community Liaison- Laurie Siblock to get some names and clarification for some of the pictures and got much more. The updates that Laurie Siblock and Joe Corrigan contributed in the last 24 hours are a perfect example of how facebook can actually be beneficial.  

" Lang Pioneer Village Museum was established by the County of Peterborough in 1967 as Lang Century Village to acknowledge Canada’s Centennial year and to celebrate and preserve the rural history of the area. Changing the word Century to Pioneer in the early 1980s to re-orient the village in a less specific time period then 1867. Each year, thousands of visitors from around the world take a trip back in time to discover how the pioneers lived. Nestled along the banks of the historic Indian River, Lang Pioneer Village Museum features over twenty-five restored and furnished buildings constructed between 1825 and 1899. Many of the buildings were donated by townships within the County of Peterborough and moved to their present site when the Museum was founded."  from their website.

The following is a facebook dialogue in comment form:

spinning wheels at lang

My Comment  from August 2009: I drifted over to building # 12 The Douro Township Hall was built in 1871, at a cost to taxpayers of $365, to replace a hall destroyed by fire. In this building had an interesting but hardly identified collection of Spinning wheels.

Comment from Laurie Siblock added Dec 10 2010

This collection of wonderful antique spinning wheels was brought to Lang Pioneer Village by Our Spinning Heritage Museum from Colborne, Ontario. The owners of the Museum are Barbara and Alvin Raymer and they were there that day to talk to visitors about the wheels.
big wheel

My Comment  from August 2009: Some of these were just amazing if you know the make and model make a comment

Comment from Laurie Siblock added Dec 10 2010

These are walking wheels, Here is a link that has (at the bottom of the article) at brief review of the museum along with a couple of photographs: http://www.country-magazine.com/2009/FM09/featureX2.asp?RefURL=ELKRANCHNET&KeyCode&tdate&PMCode&OrgURL

Our Spinning Heritage Museum is  in Colborne, Ontario. I'm sure they would love to give you more information about their wheels and you might even be interested to visit their Museum some day. If you do, you must stop by and see me in Cobourg.


 lang spinning wheel

My Comment  from August 2009:again this huge wheel has a tag on it, but I am well trained in the mater of museums and don't go and pick things up and turn things over I wish I had.

The Village is the site of David Fife's 1820's log cabin. Fife, who at the age of 15 emigrated from Scotland to Canada, was one of the first farmers who realized that the European strains of wheat were not suited to the Canadian climate. He wrote to a friend back home for new seed samples and began a horticultural experiment which led to the discovery of Red Fife wheat in 1842. It soon became popular in southern Ontario and the northern United States because of its high yields and excellent bread making qualities. By 1870, Red Fife was well-established on the Canadian Prairies and during the next thirty years it was regarded as the best variety of spring wheat. Red Fife wheat was ground into flour at the three-storey Lang Grist Mill. The limestone for the walls of this impressive structure came from the Indian River. Originally built in 1846, visitors can still see wheat ground into whole wheat flour throughout the summer. David Fife was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1963 for his discovery of Red Fife wheat.


 natural dying lang pioneer village

My Comment  from August 2009: out side of # 7 Fife Cabin Built in 1825, the Fife Cabin is typical of the settler’s first home. David Fife is famous for discovering Red Fife Wheat. a demonstration of natural dying was being presented

dye pot lang pioneer village

My Comment  from August 2009: natural dying #2 the woman doing the demonstration remains nameless at this point, though since she does sell her goods along with a booklet in the General Store I assume she is a know. I tried to speak with her but she maintained some distance of 150 years being in character i guess

My Comment  updated on Dec 10 2010:Natural dying #2 Mary Johnston, a long standing volunteer here at Lang Pioneer Village was doing the demonstration. Her dyed yarns are available for sale at the General store where they also sell a booklet “Natural Dyeing at Century Village" by Lois Carter. Lois was also a long time volunteer at the village (she passed away a couple of years ago) and the last printing of the book was in 1982    (they changed then name from Lang Century Village to Lang Pioneer Village in the early 1980's).

Comment from Laurie Siblock added Dec 10 2010

Joe, you must have caught Mary Johnston in a rare moment of quietude for she does love to chat up the visitors and she is always laughing.

Mary is a long standing volunteer at Lang Pioneer Village (well over 30 years of active voluntarism in many capacities in the Village!). She and her husband Ross just received the Ontario Volunteer Service Award last year for over 30 years of volunteer service at Lang Pioneer Village. Mary is a spinner and as you can see, also does natural dyeing. She is also a member of the Peterborough Handweaver's and Spinners Guild. The book you're referring to is an old one entitled "Natural Dyeing at Century Village" by Lois Carter. We did resurrect the printing of the book last year (2009) when we got the natural dying going again and the public interest was great. The books have been selling well. We include samples in the book of hand-spun yarn dyed with the various natural dyes. Lois was also a long time volunteer at the village. She passed away a couple of years ago but right up until the end she was coming out to Lang to repair and help maintain our spinning wheels.


skiens drying

My Comment  from August 2009: natural dying

Comment from Laurie Siblock added Dec 10 2010

Pauline Gillespie is pictured here. She, along with Mary Johnston, takes a lead role in harvesting and preparing the natural dyes prior to the natural dying demonstrations that she and Mary Johnston do at our Antique and Classic Car Show and Applefest events at Lang Pioneer Village

 quilt stand

My Comment  from August 2009: The quilting demo remained unattended so I have little information on this "group" or individual there was no printed material

Comment from Laurie Siblock added Dec 10 2010

Ruth Millard and Dorothy Hunter, quilting volunteers must have been on their lunch break. Both volunteers do restoration work on quilts in our collection as well as create reproductions of original antique quilts. Dorothy Hunter just received the Lieutenant Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award for 40 years of dedicated volunteering at Lang Pioneer Village Museum.

 rug hooker

My Comment  from August 2009: the Northumberland Rug Hookers were sitting around "hooking" one a teddy bear from a kit it was her first rug. the leader of this group was not present when I was trying to find out about the group, they had an array of magazines and kits in lou of explanation and a photo copy of some contact numbers.

Comment from Laurie Siblock added Dec 10 2010

This rug hooker, Denise, comes to Lang often with the group though she just moved to Toronto so we may not see her as often.  Denise is an inspiration to those who might be afraid to try their own hand at rug hooking for she hasn't let the fact that she is blind deter her from learning the craft.

On this visit to Lang I had also gone to see the Progress on the new Weavers Shop
cement pad
My Comment  from August 2009: cement pad on which the Weaving Shop will be built. The building will be a reproduction of a late 19th century weaver's shop and will provide visitors with an opportunity to see the restored Lowery Jacquard Loom as well as a fully operational, reproduction Jacquard Loom. It is this which is real of interest to me, will they make coverlets or let the loom be used to create new jacquard woven cloth by artist weavers


 You can see more images from this visit in the facebook Album

Fesival of Textiles, Lang Pioneer Village, August 2009

And now back to the Barn Looms

two harness maple loom

Along with the jacquard loom, a two harness loom was among the Samuel Lowery possessions that came into the collection of Lang Pioneer Village.

Lang Barn Loom

Weaver Carrie Osbourn is currently weaving rag rugs on this loom which is located in the "Trades Barn"

weaving rag rugs on Lang 2 harness barn loom

These rugs are replacements for the rugs in the public spaces of the various buildings on the site. Being made from cotton sheets bought at local charity shops the "Authenticity" of these rugs hardly matters considering the practicality. When the need for replacements has been completed continue production will find its way into the gift shop.

Photo taken with permission of Lang Pioneer Village for my use in fibreQUARTERLY postings

These photos are from the facebook album August 14 -17 2010,Lang Pioneer Village & Hutchison House Museum

This album features Lang's exhibition  "From Eaton's to Ebay: Shopping from Home" the exhibition in the Visitor's Centre is a gem. Using the Eaton's catalogue (1884 - 1976 spring-summer ) and artifacts from the Lang collection this exhibition explores the concept of mail order. After the visited to Lang I dropped by another Historic site in nearby Peterborough. 


Doon Heritage Crossroads visited on August 17 2010
museum at Doon
Doon Heritage Crossroads is located at 10 Huron Road off of Homer Watson Boulevard in Kitchener, Ontario The multi panelled glass facade of the new Museum "gateway" to Doon is based on the quilts held in the archive and is meant to be a celebration of the "Regions Textile Traditions". To me at this point in time with the museums planed divisions of permanent exhibitions and changing ones I see the opportunity for showcasing the textiles of the region that is ripe in possibilities
Residents of Doon Heritage Village. in reality they are the volunteer interpreters, the youngest of which (in white) has been a volunteer for 6 seasons, the gentleman in the straw boater is a university student studying history who was there last year as part of placement program at Wilfred Laurier University and this year as a volunteer. The woman knitting has been there for more then a decade and the young woman in brown is there for the first time.
Doon Heritage Crossroads loom

doon loom

In the Weavery which was originally located at the Thompson Family farm, Waterloo Township, waterloo County, Constructed around 1845 and owned by Jacob Z. Detweiler, and gift to the site by the Caryndale Congregation, Swenenborgian. it is attended Monday, Wednesday and Friday by a volunteer who was taught to weave rag rugs by a 91 year old local weaver. Susan Norman an Ontario College of Art fibre graduate wove there in 1989. in 2002 she gave me the 4 harness jac loom i weave on.

washing machine

"the McArthur House" with a "Washing Machine" represents another strata of society.

After my far from satisfactory encounter with laundry at the Mackenzie House Museum Doon provided me with selection of equipment related to the income or social status of 4 different family homes located the in the site. In the back yard of the Seibert House the non farming family in this small created community are wash tubes and mangle.the mangle is a product of Beatty Brothers Limited of Furgus, London and Winnipeg.

On the day I visited it was laundry day as part of the weekly "Day in the Life" actives that are built on the domestic and farm chores of 1914 rural / small town Ontario

These photographs are from the facebook album textile tourism 3: Paris and Kitchener Ontario
When I went to Doon I did find their public relations people and introduce myself to Sean Jasmins Supervisor of Marketing and Communication and ask about their policy on posting images. a satisfactory agreement must have been met or the pictures would not have been taken. In Subsequent e-mail communications I was thanked for the images by Coordinator of Volunteer Resources. None of this however is noted on the images

the Paul Schneider Loom at the Riverdale Farm in Toronto

the Paul Schneider loom at Riverdale Farm

This is the Paul Schneider Loom at the Riverdale Farm in Toronto. Pat Corbett and Raz Rotem members of the Toronto Guild of Spinners and Hand Weavers, threaded the old hand made loom during the Cabbage Town Festival in September 2010 for the first time since it was donated. This loom was donated to the Riverdale Farm in memory of Paul Schneider, a Cabbagetown resident of 30 years by his wife.**

 dressing the loom

After the "barn looms" I have seen this summer producing rag rugs it is exciting to see this brown and black warp being put on the Schenider Loom.
Mr Schenider was an avid collector and weaver. When his wife was clearing out her home she offered the loom to the Riverdale farm. The only thing she said was he had found it some place and she had it in her basement for many years. He had at one time had it up and was using it.

dressing the loom


dressing the loom at Riverdale farm



This photograph showing members of the Toronto Guild of Spinners and Weavers is from the Toronto Guild of Spinners and Weavers, rights of Spring Saturday May 1 2010


These Images of the loom where taken during the Cabbage Town Festival in September 2010 and posted in the facebook Album Fibreworks | FABRICcation | Knit camBRIDGE expect the unexpected. 

After posting them and some video taken the same afternoon I was to learn of the Riverdale Farm and the City of Toronto Parks , Forestry and Recreation's Photography Policies no taking and posting Photographs. Permission must be asked in advance and Wavers must be signed when taking any photographs with people in them (which is perfectly understandable and as much for the protection of the general public as themselves)Warnings to the public stating this was not visible at the time I was taking these photographs, but I should have know better.
After pointing out the necessity of the Toronto Guild of Spinners and Weavers to be able to promote their presence and activities at the Riverdale Farm means they need to post photographs on their website and explaining my role in covering Textile and Fibre arts and Crafts related events in Canada and agreement was reached. A request from the Riverdale Farm to acknowledge the donation of the Loom was made and has been noted here and in the facebook album. The provenance of artifacts on display can only ad to a viewers experience.

facebook can be a useful networking tool if used with purpose, it can also just be fun, but I wouldn't mix the two

 Happy facebooking to you all, proceed with caution and be forward on every bodies right to privacy and Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright laws.

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