Lessons on Leaving; Joanna Schleimer OCAD University PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Lesons on Leaving

‘Lessons on Leaving’ Thesis installation at OCADU’s Graduate Exhibition, 2011

 A recent graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design University’s Fibre program, I have spent my time in OCADU’s Fibre studio over the past four years seeking to make emotional cloth. I find that through weaving with very fine thread, I am able to create cloth that communicates feelings of tenderness, fragility, vulnerability and the past.


’Faith’  linen, wool inlay 28x43’’

I have spent the past year completing my thesis work titled 'Lessons on Leaving'. ‘Lessons on Leaving’ is a series of hand woven and embroidered pieces made to reference the domestic textiles once collected in a young woman’s trousseau.  This work is the embodiment of my reflections on  leaving home and my coming of age during and after that time. These reflections are emotional and heartfelt; they are grievous, anxious and humorous. The imagery illustrating these reflections reference tangible objects such as heirlooms and intangible experiences such as anecdotes, lessons and advice associated with a young woman’s coming of age.

faith detail

’Faith’ Detail

This body of work draws attention to the fact that there is a current lack of ceremony for the leaving of one’s childhood home, a fact which I find to be profoundly sad. Through the process of hand making and reflection, this work seeks to create a new ceremony that honours a young woman’s coming of age by re-contextualizing a traditional female practice.

I find great joy and satisfaction in toiling through the lengthy process of hand weaving, especially with fine materials. I am constantly exploring methods of image-making through weaving, and find the process of inlay to be both effective and poetic, for it allows me to actually embed myself within the cloth. I weave because I feel the need to be responsible for every aspect of what I am creating. Making the whole work from scratch, so to speak, allows for me to control every aspect of the cloth. It allows for me to make something wholly unique that carries the mark of my hand throughout.

you can't make whipped cream with a fork

“You Can’t Make Whipped Cream with a Fork” linen, sewing thread

Family history and sentimental, nostalgic themes have always been present in my work. I believe that these themes will continue to express themselves in various forms throughout my future work. Weaving is a medium so expressive and experiential that it will continue to be at the heart of my practice.

I am currently seeking studio space in order to continue my weaving practice as well as to further develop a small product line that includes screen printing and embroidery.

catholic Guilt

‘Catholic Guilt’ detail, linen, wool and sewing thread
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