I just spent a wonderful three days attending the Salish Weaving workshop here at the Museum. It was such a treat to take the time to learn new skills and traditions, to focus on the creative process, and to get to know such interesting people.
Friday evening, we assembled and warped the custom-made looms, finishing up around 9 pm. We spent the next two days weaving, and by 4:30 Sunday afternoon, most of us were sporting our gorgeous, “fresh-off-the-loom” Salish shawls.
Coast Salish Master Weaver Jessica Casey is a gracious and patient teacher. Over the course of the weekend, she not only shared her knowledge and expertise of Coast Salish weaving and traditions but also her funny anecdotes, home-made food, and good company. Many of us were first-time weavers, and she worked with each of us so that by the end of the three days, we had all found our ‘weaving groove’.
The participants came from various walks of life. We had Kjerstin, a textile conservator at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria who took the workshop as professional development. Visiting from Saskatchewan, Patricia took part while on vacation on the Sunshine Coast. There was Gail, a long-time resident of Roberts Creek, who was the first to call when she heard we were putting this on. Elizabeth, a newcomer to the Coast, is a textile artist and anthropologist; this was her first time weaving. I, too, had no experience weaving but have always loved textiles and, I’ll admit – fashion. I was excited to make a stylish wool shawl that I could wear to work! Everyone brought great energy, enthusiasm and most importantly, a sense of humor. It felt like a real celebration when one of us completed our shawl and finally pulled it off the loom. Thanks to everyone for such supportive and encouraging energy.
Jessica and I are planning another workshop for sometime in June. This time, we will be using cedar to weave a berry basket. For more information, please contact the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives.
|L to R: Patricia, Elizabeth, Gail, Kjerstin, Jessica, Kimiko|
|Finished shawl, shuttle, and comb|
|Patricia's finished shawl....beautiful colour combination!|
|Gail looks pretty happy with her new shawl!|
|Kjerstin went home and added a fringe - looks fantastic!|