Monday, May 28, 2012

Textile Museum of Canada

Although we've probably walked by it many times, not until recently did we become aware of the Textile Museum of Canada,  residing at 55 Centre Street, just SE of Dundas St and University Ave. Having obtained a free museum pass from the library, we went to check it out.

 The permanent collection on the second floor includes examples of textiles and fabrics from different cultures around the world, in the form of clothing, quilts, carpets and more.  It also describes various techniques for manipulating or creating textiles such as weaving, knitting, embroidery, braiding or felting.  Items of note included an African tribal skirt with bamboo sticks and pop bottle caps sewn on as decoration, a project by school children learning how to stamp patterns on fabric to make magic squares where all rows, columns and diagonals add up to the same magic number, an elaborate and colourful cover for camels, and a beautiful prayer rug.

We had fortuitous timing to visit just as an exciting new exhibition was opening called "Dreamland - Textiles of the Canadian landscape".  On display were weavings and embroideries reflecting different views of Canadian cultures including a winter scene reminiscient of Kriegoff paintings.

One interesting work is Douglas Coupland's acrylic painting on canvas of a colourfully patterned QR code called "Future Prayer".  Using our new smart phone, we were able to retrieve the hidden message.

More related to Canadiana than textiles are the inclusion of three whimsical videos by Canadian artists.  "Embrace" by Amalie Atkins is a delightful 3 minute film depicting two elderly Austrian sisters in the Saskatchewan prairies.  To the song Edelweiss (from The Sound of Music) played on piano by a third sister, the two identically dressed women walk towards each other with outstretched arms and share a tender embrace.  A more surrealistic film by Michael Snow focuses on a window blind blowing in the wind.  The eery sounds of the whistling wind and its effect on the flapping drapes are the only audio of the film.  Finally a stop-motion animation called "Monkey and Deer" is situated in Woodrow, Saskatchewan, artist Graeme Patterson's home town, now a ghost town.  The film reflects on the "rapidly declining ways of Canadian life in rural settings".

The textile museum was quite a find and made for an entertaining couple of hours.

1 comment:

Wilson Chipper said...

I just know seeing these art galleries in person will give an even better impression of the brilliant ideas behind these. I hope I could pay a visit on the museum any time soon.