Over the past 6 weeks we have been working together to create a collaborative textile artwork that will live at the community centre after our 2019 residency is completed. The piece is made from layers of cloth that were dyed and marked (by plants growing throughout the neighbourhood) during our summer Plant & Dye walks, MacLean Park Movie Night, the Strathcona Harvest Festival and more. These cloth pieces, along with salmon skin leather made by Janey Chang, were stitched together, and sewn upon, by dozens of community members and friends to form a map of the neighbourhood.
The idea of mapping Strathcona in this way came out of conversations that were had over the course of the year, dialogues that explored how cartographies might be reimagined. The project evolved organically from the starting point of community asset mapping (ideas of maps and notes on paper), to painting and imagining “in the long ago” on wood (with Janey Chang and Jay Peachy), and celebrating the present with a mural on the shipping containers created by Alex Ramirez and the Summer Heat youth group. The final piece in this project, a textile map, is another iteration of these ideas, our intention being to reflect the many histories that are held in this vibrant place, a mingling of plant and animal presence alongside human life.
This chapter in the Artist in Communities residency has been so affirming. Thank you to all who joined our sewing circle events, your time, skill and generosity were greatly appreciated. As part of the Lantern Festival on December 21, we will be celebrating the culmination of our residency at the Strathcona Community Centre. Join us and the Secret Lantern Society for a creative evening of community celebration!