International Amalgamated Threadbenders Union

Date: Jan 9 - Mar 28, 1993
Artist: Jennifer Angus, Lou Cabeen, Ann Hickey

Textile and fibre artists, Jennifer Angus, Lou Cabeen and Mary Ann Hickey formed an art collective for this 1993 exhibition called the The International Amalgamated Threadbenders Union. Theirs is a personal response to the cultural significance of liturgical, domestic and tribal clothing in their lives. Through their mixed-media textiles, the artists expand the power of ceremonial dress, uniform and daily fashion into social and political critique.



Textile and fibre artists, Jennifer Angus, Lou Cabeen and Mary Ann Hickey formed an art collective in 1993 called The International Amalgamated Threadbenders Union.

With intergenerational and international viewpoints spanning 30 years and several continents, these three artists are committed to creating and exhibiting textile work that is both politically and socially motivated. The elegant, richly seductive surfaces of their work draws viewers in to see images that explore the harsh realities of the power relationships, which are the main subject of their work.

Jennifer Angus is a Toronto artist whose work addresses the issues and ramifications resulting from British colonial rule, which include the subjugation of a people; condescending attitudes towards their beliefs and customs, and; appropriation and commercialization of “exotica” for Western consumption. Angus uses the seductive lure of patterned fabric and beading to symbolize an idealized world, which contrasts sharply with the stark realism of photographic images of colonials and their subjects.

Lou Cabeen, of Chicago, seeks to reinstate the capacity of textiles to communicate emotion, long recognized by tribal societies, but obscured and denied in Western culture. She works out of a feminist tradition, which seeks to include the experience of women in the iconography of Western culture. Cabeen is building her own vocabulary out of the traditions of domestic textiles.

Mary Ann Hickey, of Chicago, uses traditional needlework techniques as well as photographic and video images to question prevailing gender roles and power relationships. She is fascinated with clothing as costume, ritual as performance, and behaviour as playing. The "wedding gown" and "communion veil" that appear in her work represent costumes worn by females to portray certain roles, and to fulfill certain societal expectations.