Twelve hearty and brave souls came to work with us for our first FORAGE: Seasonal Fibre Series date on March 8, and had the bonus of an indoor space last minute! (Little did we know at the time that March rainfall would break records…)
The day included harvesting English ivy, splitting, debarking, making rope and a quick intro to the Turks Head knot — an intriguing new skill shared with us by new friend and ancestral skills practitioner Michael Mayer, and something we’ve never tried before with ivy.
Sharon’s work with English ivy as a medium began in 2009, with her partnership with the Stanley Park Ecology Society on The Ivy Project, a restoration initiative partly in response to the devastating windstorm in the winter of 2006. English ivy became the focus of the Urban Weaver Studio Project at the MacLean Park Fieldhouse 2012-2015, one of Vancouver Park Board’s most successful Fieldhouse Residencies. The Urban Weaver Studio quickly consolidated a nucleus of committed artists and weavers; EartHand’s artistic director, Rebecca Graham, first met Sharon at a Saturday afternoon session, and there are many more examples like this. Though activity has fallen off in recent years, the Urban Weaver Facebook Group includes over 250 members; most of us are local, but we also have some weavers from elsewhere, including internationally renowned Tim Johnson from Europe — who once said that he found it ironic that we have so much ivy that we throw it away, because it’s one of his favourite weaving materials!
Though the Urban Weaver Studio Project closed at the end of its Fieldhouse term, the spirit of inquiry and relationship with English ivy continues through EartHand and projects such as FORAGE: Seasonal Fibre Series. Special thanks to Kari and Stanley Park Ecology Society for hosting us, and Vancouver Park Board Arts Culture and Environment Department for supporting the program.
The next FORAGE: Seasonal Fibre Series is April 8th in Stanley Park, exploring Yellow Flag Iris — reserve your spot on Eventbrite.