For a few months now, I've been taking part in The Urban Weaver Project - an environmental art project led by artist-weavers Todd DeVries and Sharon Kallis. Sharon and I met three years ago - when attending her Autumn shade retreat workshop at MOPARCC - and she introduced me to blackberry vine as a weaving material. Since then Sharon has been working on some amazing projects in our local communities and abroad - and the Himalayan Blackberry is only but one of several species on her list of invasive plants for weaving.
The Urban Weaver Project has been a great opportunity for me to learn more about "invasive" species and to get involved in the harvest and preparation of these plants for weaving. I have learned a tremendous amount from Sharon and Todd's teachings on traditional weaving techniques using English Ivy, Himalayan Blackberry, Flag Iris and Miscanthus giganteus. The Stanley Park Ecology Society offers a great guide with the descriptive of these "invasive" plants. As a permaculturist, I rather label them as "opportunistic" species, but that's a different post all together.
The Urban Weaver Project also included Master Class Technique Exchanges with other local artists. I feel very privilege to have learned new skills from Haida weaver Giihlgiigaa (cedar), Squamish spinner and weaver Sesemiya Tracy Williams (cedar and fibre), and traditional wheat weaver Brian Jones.
Since June, the field-house at Maclean Park has been a second studio space and to be part of a new community of weavers has invigorated my own practice. The Urban Weaver Project is soon coming to an end with our final celebration this week, but the field-house at Maclean Park will continue to offer community projects.
To all these wonderful people, I dedicate this page "At The Urban Weaver Studio".