Manitoba’s Mawa centre promotes the intellectual and creative development of women in the visual arts by providing an ongoing forum for education and critical dialogue. Their mandate is to create access so that women have opportunities and achieve equal representation in the visual arts. They foster both emerging artists and established. They provide diverse and exciting programs created to help develop artistic practices and enhance the role of female artists in the community.
Their outreach programs include: lectures, workshops, creative groups, residencies, critical discussion groups, studio visits and mentorships.
Their lecture series provide a forum for education and critical dialogue. The three on-going programs: First Fridays, Artists and Curator Talks and the Wendy Wersch Memorial Lectures are extremely popular.
The First Fridays are an informal lunch-hour lecture series on a wide variety of topics from how museums acquire artworks to the role of the artist in contemporary society.
Their Artists and Curator Talks are a wonderful opportunity to hear from local and visiting women artists discuss their artistic practice.
Wendy Wersch Memorial Lectures celebrate women in the visual arts who act as role models for innovative cultural investigation. The lecture series builds awareness of feminist art criticism, activism and practice.
The centre runs on-going workshops such as Artist Bootcamps which are presented in partnership with Arts and Cultural Industries Association of Manitoba. A series of single-evening workshops on professional art practices. Mawa offers skills workshops. Here, the facilitators impart techniques, gives examples, and exposes participants to further resources. Past skills-based workshops have included Janet Carroll’s three-week workshop on book making for artists in May 2010 and Leslie Supnet’s three-session introduction to animation in September 2010.
Another unique program is Mawa’s Crafternoons. Crafternoons feature instruction by North American Indigenous and New Canadian women artists.
Alongside these dynamic programs are creative get togethers like: Artist Mothers. A drop-in group for artists who are mothers, and mothers who are artists. Each meeting involves group critique of participants’ work and a focused discussion or activity. All artist-mothers are welcome and there is no fee.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Mawa is a creative dream come true for women. They run an artist in residence program which hosts four artists a year. Artists at all stages of their careers are encouraged to apply. Equal consideration is given to emerging and established artists. This residency is intended to increase dialogue between the Mawa centre and the art world beyond, as well as to create networking opportunities for women artists and to provide a place in which women artists can do whatever they need to do in order to move their practices forward. At present the program is not accepting applicants but keep your eyes on it for the future. You can find out more at: https://mawa.ca/residency/application-information
Mawa also runs a series of mentorship programs. TheFoundation Mentorship program is a year-long program in which established artists share their experience with developing artists. It is designed to help women in the visual arts develop skills and define their decision-making philosophies, and to provide access to the information, resources and support they need to realize their goals. In addition to a one-on-one relationship with a mentor, the program provides a peer group for the mentees through group meetings. If interested contact: Sylvia Dreaver, Program Coordinator, at 204-949-9490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another intriguing mentorship program run by Mawa is Mentors on the Fly. This gives artists access to Mawa stable of artists who are available on an hourly basis to help you with grant apps, critical feedback, or advice on a project. Rates are $30/hour. If you need some short-term mentoring, contact the mentor of your choice directly and let the mentoring begin!
Mawa is truly an amazing and supportive place for women artists. This centre offers so much it’s almost overwhelming to describe it. Take an hour or so to explore their wonderful website. https://mawa.ca/programs. You’ll discover possibilities you’ve probably never imagined. It’s truly an inspiring organization.
Felt Forward is holding a 4 day workshop with Melissa Arnold starting on July 6th to the 9th at the Joy of Living Yoga Retreat Centre located 25 miles East of Kelowna. This is the perfect creative experience for those who wish to further their practice.
Melissa was a very popular instructor at the felt::feutre symposium in September 2016. She is known for her unique creations and generous spirit. Her students adore her.
Melissa has spent the last 12 years as a Professional Textile Designer, collaborating with Fashion Designer Catherine Bacon. To learn more about her and this class, visit: www.melissaarnoldtextiles.com.
In this workshop students will approach the art of creating a silk and wool nuno felted wrap from the perspective of a textile designer. They will begin by exploring the many design possibilities of combining wool and silk together into a white on white nuno “prefelt” wrap. From there they will apply a number of interesting techniques (Nuno Dreads, Organza Ruffles, “Lace” Holes and Felted Buttons) to create further texture and shaping to your wrap before the final felting and fulling.
To register call Violet Racz @ 1-(250) 765-1033. The workshop is limited to 12 participants. Spaces are reserved with full payment at the time of registration Payment can be made by credit cards or e-transfers. Felt Forward will maintain a wait-list based on a first-come next in line policy in the event of a cancellation.
This March Fibres West celebrates its ninth year. Events begin on Friday and Saturday, March 17 and 18, 2017. 9:30-5. The festival is known for its promotion of Canadian fibre producers, fibre shops, independent artists, equipment producers, non-profit groups and weaving and spinning guilds. It is a must visit for anyone interested in: spinning, weaving, felting, knitting, rug hooking, lace making, dyeing, tapestry. basket weaving
Throughout the weekend Fibres West will be holding a lecture series about fibre crafts discussing topics such as: the creation of Harris Tweed, the creation of cloth across the globe and fibre preparation.
The list of vendors is amazing. Fibre lovers won’t want to miss the opportunity to see all that’s an offer. Picks for felt makers include: Butterfly Fibres, Langley, BC, Chaotic Fibres, Victoria, BC, Harmony Farm Cashmere, Quesnel, BC, Humming Bee Farm, Shawnigan Lake, BC and Fibres Plus, Maple Ridge, BC.
If you’d like to take a class there’s still time to sign up. There are spaces left in the following workshops:
Needle Felting, Pearl Chow
Art Yarn Fundamental Part One: Spinning Thick and Thin, Diana Twiss
Wire Lace Easter Egg, Lenka Suchanek
Spindling 2.0: Taking it to the Next Level, Diana Twiss
Cedar Bark Basket, Jessica Silvey
Tapestry Weaving 101, Janna Maria Vallee
Fibres West is held on the Cloverdale Exhibition Park Grounds, in the AGRIPLEX building. The Cloverdale Exhibition Grounds are located at 6050 176th Street, Surrey, BC, just North of the Cloverdale town centre. Enter the grounds from 176th Street on the West side of the site via 62nd Ave – through the Cloverdale Rodeo Wooden Archway, by the new Cloverdale Recreation Centre.Free parking on site, wheelchair accessible, refreshments available. No pets please except for assistance animals.Adult admission $8.00, seniors and students with valid id $6.00, kids 13 and under free (2 day pass available on request, adult $12, stud/sen $9). CASH only at door. ATM on site.
Going to Manitoba? Want to know where to find the best wool sources? Look no further. Here’s a list retailers Manitoba artists adore.
Wolseley Wool:Winnipeg Manitoba. This independent wool shop is known for carrying great supplies for for knitting, crocheting weaving, spinning and felting. They give a variety of classes in nuno felting, knitting, crochet and Portuguese knitting. To learn more visit: www.wolseleywool.com/blog
Art On A Whimsy:Winnipeg, Manitoba. This needle felter and fibre artist creates whimsical gnomes, forest creatures and sprites guaranteed to melt the heart that she sells on Easy. She also gives classes in the Winnipeg Michael’s store. She can be contacted through ETSY for those interested in tutorials.
Baloun Alpaca Acres: Manitou, Manitoba. This farm takes great pride and enjoyment in maintaining a high quality, happy and healthy alpacas. They do their own shearing, sorting and processing of all of their fibre. Whether you are looking for the best pair of socks you have ever worn or a special one-of-a kind piece, they are happy to help. www.balounalpacas.com
Circle O Alpacas: Brandon, Manitoba. The farm sells alpacas and their products. Check out the product page to see socks, yarn, teddy bears, rovings and other products available for purchase. www.circleoalpacas.com
Creature Comforts Cottage: Creature Comforts Cottage is a Fiber Arts Studio and Heritage Craft Gallery, Educational Butterfly & Fiber Farm. Here you will meet rare breed fiber animals, learn about their fiber and the process involved in harvesting natural fibre for unique handcrafted products. Creature Comforts Cottage runs education programs on heritage animals and butterflies for schools in Manitoba. They sell wearable fibre art, fibre kits, and fleece kits. www.creaturecomfortscottage.com
Generation Fibreworks: Carroll, Manitoba. Primarily seasonal, Generations Fibreworks sells both raw and prepared fibre for spinning and felting, as well as handspun yarn, fiber-arts tools and body products. They also have a small selection of finished items, perfect for gifting. www.facebook.com/GenerationsFibreworks
Leidsla Wool Imports: Gimli, Manitoba. Featuring high quality yarn, roving and notions for knitters, spinners, weavers, felters and fibre artists. (204) 642-5974
Earlier this week we interviewed Janice Charko of Flights of Fibre from Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba. Today we feature several other feltmakers from Manitoba whose work we think you’ll enjoy.
Elizabeth Roy‘s evocative work “calls into question the historical positioning of women-as-artists and current social hierarchies of craft and fine art reception.”
In her series, Smashing Dishes, Roy uses “monochrome as an artistic marker for modernism, linking her work to contemporary artistic precedents such as Minimalism, anti-Matter, de-materialization (the work of Robert Morris, Richard Serra, and others) and feminist critique of gendered practices (Judy Chicago, Eva Hesse, and others) or via its material to the social activism of Joseph Beuys.” She also refers to figurative, landscape or abstract/decorative motifs and connects with art history beginning with the age of enlightenment.
The randomness of what is included in the work is conceptually significant, in particular the different styles. These inspirations result in Roy creating large scale objects that have the appearance of regular tableware. Though each piece is based on a specific object, the method of it creation altars its resonance. The change in these pieces, the size and the materials causes the viewer to pull back from their normal response and to question and reflect.
This collection was conceived by Roy 10 years ago. The dishes get their dusty antiquated look from the grey raw wool Roy sourced from New Zealand. Roy decided to felt the pieces as she was attracted to “pliability and durability, a combination she needed for the size and intense detail in the designs.”
You can learn more about this amazing artist and “Smashing Dishes” in this article:
Roy participated in the 2013 Felt :: Feutre exhibition. Her work is remembered for its uniqueness, attention to detail and scale.
Roy has been working in the field of public art and mixed media installation for the past fifteen years. Her work is in the collections of the cities of Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, North Vancouver. Her work has been shown across Canada and collected by the Art Bank, Claridge Collection and museums in the United States. She has been a juror for many public art commissions and was the Co-Chair of the Public Art Committee for the City of Vancouver. In 2009, she was awarded a Public Art Prize from the city of North Vancouver for the work ‘Launch.’ Elizabeth Roy has taught in Ontario and BC, including Emily Carr University, and is the Chair of Foundation at the University of Manitoba School of Art, where she teaches Print Media, Drawing and Visual Language.
Helga Schulte-Schroeer of Fibre Artistry has been a professional feltmaker since 2006. She is inspired by the variety of natural colors and textures in wool and silk which is demonstrated in the raw beauty of the art she produces. She grew up on a farm and was taught about fibre from her grandmother. Over the years she has developed a unique approach especially to highlight her material’s special qualities. She makes both art pieces and functional craft. She shows her work internationally and sells it across Western Canada.
Cathy Sutton is an illustrator with her own line of cards, and a metalsmith who works with copper, precious metals and gemstones. She also creates one-of-a-kind felt pieces and hats from a merino that are destined to become heirlooms.
At her website: nepenthestudio.com , there is a marvelous gallery featuring her customers in her hats. She also combines her two talents to create original jewelry art pieces which are bold and colourful. Her felted merino vests are like wearable paintings. They are textured to create a luminosity and feature wild colours and unique embellishments such as elk antler tips as buttons. Her work is available at: Canadian Museum of Human Rights Boutique, Winnipeg Art Gallery, Woodlands Gallery, Bijou Gallery, Circle Arts and Uniquely Manitoba.
Her studio, Nepenthe Studio located at Winnipeg Beach is open some weekends through out the spring and summer.
The Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Confederation with an exhibition that features red and white craft. A portion of the exhibition will feature historical work from the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library collection. The remainder of the exhibition will include works submitted from the community that meet the following criteria: a) reflecting Canadian history and motifs, b) showcasing the truly multicultural nation of Canada, and c) that are original fine craft. All work must only include the colours red and white.
Call for submission
We are seeking submissions of craft items that meet any or all of the three criteria above. The work may be either historic or contemporary.
Priority will be given to items that have a clear history/story, but we acknowledge that some worthy pieces are often lacking in documented history, so this is not a firm requirement
Priority for contemporary work will be given to craft artists based in Manitoba
Brief visual description including technique, size, materials and any special exhibit requirements.
Craftsperson information with brief bio.
Information about the piece in terms of its inspiration, meaning, relevance etc.
An image of the piece, JPG preferred and less than 1MB file size.
Deadline March 31, 2017.
Conditions of Acceptance:
Items must be loaned for the duration of the exhibition – currently planned for June and July 2017 (exact dates TBD).
Contemporary work may be for sale during the exhibition.
In April 2017 the Exhibits and Programming Committee will make final selections.
Depending on the response, it is possible that not all pieces will be accepted for the exhibit.
Please submit to: Andrea Reichert, Curator, (204) 487-6117, email@example.com.
There is an exciting addition to the Manitoba Fibre Festival this coming September.
The Manitoba Fibre Festival and Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers are sponsoring a wool judging course this year, dovetailing in with the Manitoba Fibre Festival. The planning is underway and it will run for two days, Sept. 14-15, 2017. This will include both Levels 1 and 2 Canadian Wool Judging Certification courses. This course will be of interest to those wanting to learn more about wool or wanting to be wool judges. It will take place at the Red River Exhibition Grounds in Winnipeg, the same location as the Festival.
There will also be the annual Wool Competition and auction, Hall of Breeds (a live display of various sheep breeds, including rare breeds) and shearing demonstrations along with all the classes, demos, juried fibre art show and sale products of the Festival.
Our provincial and territorial craft councils provide great resources within our communities. From professional development and exhibition opportunities, to online profiles and promotion, they support craftspeople at every stage of their practice. The Manitoba Craft Council is an excellent example of how these councils promote the skills and faces of craft.
From the Manitoba Craft Council website:
The Manitoba Craft Council (MCC) was established in 1978 to promote, develop and advocate for fine craft and its makers in Manitoba. These aims continue to be our core purpose and mandate throughout our history to the present.
Craft has always held a significant place in our province. From the time aboriginal peoples lived nomadically on the plains to the advent of European settlement to modern day rural, northern and urban life, each cultural group in Manitoba produced craft. Using traditional materials and techniques and ingenuity inspired by necessity, Manitobans have produced hand made craft work. From the functional to decorative, craft has always enriched the lives of Manitobans.
Drawing on this rich history and legacy, MCC is the only not-for-profit artists’ service and exhibition organization in Manitoba exclusively dedicated to fine craft. For over 30 years MCC has worked to ensure that contemporary fine craft and the artists who produce these works are supported, recognized and celebrated for their contribution to the artistic, cultural and economic life of Manitoba.
Over the years, MCC has exposed and engaged Manitobans with the rich diversity of fine craft across various media. This has taken shape in different ways over its history and has included exhibitions by local, national and international artists, workshops, lectures and mentorship, website gallery, and retail sales. Recent collaborative work with a wide range of partners across the province and beyond has allowed the MCC to broaden its reach and bring craft related programming to a much wider audience.
” The province’s crafting community is banding together and has picked Winnipeg’s Exchange District to be the new home of the Hub for Craft.
The hub, which will be located in a newly renovated space at 329 Cumberland Ave., will be the new home for the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library as well as the Manitoba Craft Council. The facility will include an exhibition gallery, a shop, library, heritage display and a program space for spinning, weaving and other crafts classes.” Alan Small, Winnepeg Free Press
The Manitoba Craft Council hosts a series of exhibitions each year. The current exhibition, Nuerocraft, brings together neuroscientists and craftspeople to create new work inspired by the brain.
March 3 – 31, 2017
John Buhler Research Centre Atrium
715 McDermot Ave, Winnipeg, MB
Members of the Manitoba Craft Council who work in felt:
Membership in the Manitoba Craft Council is open to anyone who is passionate about contemporary craft. Whether you’re a maker or an enthusiastic supporter, it’s a great way to connect with Manitoba’s thriving craft scene and keep up with all the latest happenings. All members receive the bi-weekly e-news bulletin with the most current news and information on events and opportunities in contemporary craft. Membership also includes access to a range of exhibition and sales opportunities, professional development workshops, artist talks, an online gallery page at manitobacraft.ca and a subscription to Studio: Craft and Design in Canada.
Today we continue our spotlight on Manitoba with Janice Charko of Flights of Fibre. Janice‘s Manitoba home is Lac du Bonnet. Her company is named for the way she met her husband, a chance meeting while waiting for a flight that led to her moving to Winnipeg five months later.
The creative life is a new venture for Janice who worked in the oil industry in Calgary and for McCain Foods. This change of focus came about in 2009 after Janice was diagnosed with breast cancer. During a long winter of chemo, she began exploring her creativity. She’d always enjoyed working with her hands. Her first pieces were hats. Colourful and fun, she used them to hide her baldness, during her treatment.
From there, she decided she wanted to focus on making beautiful items for women. These days she primarily works with both wet felting and silk fusion. In 2013 she won both 1st and 3rd places in the fibre category of the Eastman Judged Art Exhibition and 2nd place in Judged Art Exhibition in 2015.
We are thrilled that Janice agreed to take part in our interview. We are sure you’ll enjoy what she has to say about living the creative life in Manitoba.
How does where you live influence your work?
I live on a lake in Manitoba for 7 months of the year and have just begun to spend winters at a waterfront place in Qualicum Beach, BC. Water, birds, otters, deer – are all part of my days. My binoculars and camera are never more than a few feet from where I am. My studio at home used to be our sunroom and has windows on 3 sides so I don’t miss much. I love to photograph my scarves, hats and shawls outside with the lake as the backdrop and the Manitoba mystique has led to purses with northern lights, polar bears and wolves incorporated into the front design. But as far as the inspiration for my work – it comes from more than my environment. I bought a pair of Venetian glass bead earrings a number of years ago and my line of Starry Night silk fusion clutch purses evolved from the design on those earrings. A chance encounter with some Chantilly lace in Mitchell’s Fabrics on north Main Street in Winnipeg resulted in a felt and lace shawl. The strong Ukrainian community in Winnipeg coupled with my Ukrainian heritage generated a whole line of poppy themed shawls and scarves, for sale in the Kalyna Ukrainian Coop store on Main Street.
Do you belong to a community of felt artists & how does this influence you?
Until quite recently, I was the only felter in the area. I am self taught from books and magazines. My first workshop with other felters was with Laurie Steffler of Salt Spring Island only a few years ago when I was able to see and hear how others create their felt. Subsequently I’ve taken online tutorials from Fiona Duthie and Judith Dios. Living in a secluded location means less interaction with other felters but my membership in Pinawa Art211 and the Pinawa Art Gallery has exposed me to artists in all mediums and their dedication and love of art continually inspires me to colour outside the lines.
Who are your favourite suppliers in Manitoba?
I love to spend some time in Wolseley Wool (https://www.wolseleywool.com) in the city but my favourite visit was to Sleepless in the Interlake where I was introduced to “the girls” whose fleece I was buying. The Manitoba Fibre Festival is a magnificent addition to the fibre world in Manitoba and many fibres found there are treasures in my “stash”.
What are you working on now?
This last winter I collaborated with a multi talented Manitoba artist, Jennifer Hildebrand, from Roland, MB. She bought a hat from me at the last Fibre Festival , we became Facebook friends and subsequently I realized she is a spinner and a knitter. I felted panels for the bodies of a coat for each of us and Jennifer spun the same fibre into yarn, which we then knitted into sleeves and collars. This led to me buying my own spinning wheel as I now intend to have a line of garments for the fall shows this year with felted bodies and knitted sleeves. The first two are underway now…
Do you have any upcoming shows?
The most exciting show this year will be the first annual Boreal Shores Art Tour in Eastern Manitoba, a driving tour of artist studios and group locations (www.BorealShoresArtTour.ca). I am leading the committee to produce this show on Aug 19 & 20 with 32 artists and my work will be found in a Lac du Bonnet group location. I’ll also have my work for sale in the Merry Makers sale in Victoria Beach on July 29th, the Manitoba Fibre Festival in Winnipeg on Sept 15 & 16 and the University Women’s Club sale in Winnipeg in November.
This week our spotlight is on Manitoba, a province where craft has always played a significant role in creating a diverse and rich cultural heritage. From the indigenous people to the European settlers, each cultural group in Manitoba has produced crafts that still influence modern artisans.
With this kind of legacy, it’s not surprising to discover that Manitoba is home to one of Canada’s finest fibre festivals.
The Manitoba Fibre Festival is a celebration of all things fibre related. It’s a dream-come-true event for fibre lovers that includes amazing demonstrations, fabulous vendors and fantastic workshops. It brings together fibre producers, spinners, knitters, weavers, and felters from all across Manitoba in an attempt to create a strong community and build bonds.
The 2016 festival featured vendors such as: Burton Alpacas known for their alpaca fibre, rovings & yarns, Creature Comforts Cottage known for their mohair locks and Generation Fibreworks who supply raw alpaca fibre, roving & combed top wool, alpaca, mohair, silk.
Recently we interviewed Margaret Brook, Festival Coordinator, to learn more about this exciting event.
What will felt makers love about your festival?
What everyone loves about our festival is the sense of having found their fibre tribe. People stay for hours enjoying the camaraderie and inspiration that comes with a room full of wool and creative ideas. Anyone who works with fibre will appreciate making the connections between our live sheep display, the shearing demonstrations, and their chosen craft.
What are your top fibre picks for felt makers?
I am partial to the infinite range of natural coloured Shetland wool as that is what I raise myself! Several of our vendors offer fantastic carded batts in mixed fibres and colours that add greatly to a felting project. And felters really should try mixing in some alpaca fibre for its unique texture.
Any classes or demos for felt artists? Any exhibiting felt makers?
Our classes and demos for 2017 have not yet been confirmed, but there will certainly be classes in felting and dyeing included. Our vendor applications opened on March 1st. We hope to welcome back several local felt makers, including Helga Schulte-Schroeer (Fibre Artistry), Janice Charko (Flights of Fibre), Heidi Hunter (Runs With Scissors),and Cathy Sutton (Nepenthe Studio).
What is exciting about your job at the festival?
The best thing about being the Festival Coordinator is discovering all the creative people in our community and tapping into their enthusiasm to make this event happen.
Are you a fibre lover? If so what is your craft?
My love for fibre, especially spinning and dyeing, led me to being part-owner of a flock of Shetland sheep. With an abundance of fibre on hand I have fallen in love with felting. I am making the trip of a lifetime in May for a felting retreat in Shetland with Fiona Duthie.
What do you like best about the festival?
What I like best about the festival is the incredible community support and ownership of the event. The Festival grew out of a desire to build connections between our rural producers and local artisans; and to share skills and resources through workshops and demonstrations. People understand and embrace these ideas with enthusiasm! We feel we are making a real contribution towards developing a locally based ‘slow fashion’ movement while supporting small farmers and creating a market for high quality craft.
What are you looking forward to most?
This year one of our volunteers is curating a pattern collection featuring local yarns, designers, dyers and spinners. It will launch in mid summer so people can knit the pieces before the Festival. I am really looking forward to seeing the results being worn at the event!
The FIFTH Annual Manitoba Fibre Festival
Friday September 15 and Saturday September 16, 2017