Why Bother? Handmade Textiles in the 21st Century

Date: Nov 15, 2002 - Jun 1, 2003
Artist: Raymond Dugan, Judith Fielder, Hiroko Karuno, Isabel Rorick, Suzanne Swannie, Judith Tinkl
Curated by: Sarah Quinton

The six Canadian artists in this 2002 exhibition insist on making cloth through painstaking, traditional hand-based methods such as spinning, natural dyeing, embroidery, quilting and fine weaving. By challenging mass production technologies, their intent is to make individualistic textiles that reflect conventions and techniques rooted in social and cultural practices. Here, two distinct approaches – romantic and rigorous – merge into expressions of human experience with valued legacies as well as contemporary vitality.

Each of the six artists in Why Bother? selected historic textiles from the Textile Museum’s collection of 10,000 artifacts, which were exhibited alongside their own work, drawing attention to the importance of the museum’s holdings, textile heritage and the impact they have on today’s studio production. Looking at an indigo-dyed Nigerian robe, Judith Fielder said, “This is why you bother! It’s an ‘Ah-Yes!’ moment. This garment is beyond food and clothing and housing... and beyond colours and design. There’s a life in this garment that not everybody might notice. We are not an ‘Ah-Yes!’ culture.”


ESSAY

Why Bother? Handmade Textiles in the 21st Century, By Sarah Quinton, 2002