Weaving at Third Shift 2017
I had the great privilege and opportunity to participate in this year's Third Shift event in Saint John, NB. It happened on August 18th and it truly was a one-time-only-don't-miss-it kind of event. Photos give you a peek, but nothing matches the real experience, the energy, the music, the lights, the people that were there that night. Despite a bit of rain, there were lots of people out with raincoats and umbrellas, ducking inside for a beer or coffee when it really poured. My stuff got soggy, but nothing could dampen my spirits after being a part of such an incredible event!
I was one of the 14 artists/groups who put up an installation for the evening all over the uptown area. With the help of my parents I set up my massive Gobelin Leclerc tapestry loom in the parking lot behind Thandi's and laid down crocheted blankets from Value Village and a braided rug I made myself to make a cozy little space. I invited people to weave pieces of upcycled fabric into a tapestry of colour and texture that would somehow represent the kaleidoscope of people who showed up on this one night. I also brought my daughter's kids' loom as a practice idea, which ended up having almost as many weavers as the big loom. There was always a lineup for both! I meant to keep count of how many people participated but it just got so crazy that there was no way. I counted nearly 80 colours, which gives a good ballpark since each colour was woven by a different person. The tapestry didn't end up being as big as I'd thought, which is no surprise given that pretty much every person was trying it for the first time and it's bound to go a bit slowly.
The only downside to the night was that I didn't get to see the other installations really, I was so wrapped up in what was happening at mine. I wish I'd had the chance to talk to the other artists a bit more. I guess that's the trouble with a one-night-only event! There were a lot of people I knew, who oftentimes had to poke their face right up behind the strings so that I would see them because I was so absorbed in weaving with whoever I was with.
In all the preparation, the hype leading up to the event, I tried to keep to my mantra for the evening, which was to be present. I knew there would be a thousand things happening, but teaching and creating together requires one's full attention. And I wanted to personally connect with each person who participated.
It was a really special evening. Such a variety of people were enthusiastic about trying to weave, many whom you would never guess would be even interested. Kids, adults, women, teens, big burly men, even a woodworker or two (Steve Jones Yo!) Many people spoke French, which I particularly enjoyed. I think there were many out-of-towners because of the Tall Ships. There were so many stories, "I did this in elementary school", "My grandmother used to weave". It's truly amazing to see the connections made through making side by side. There is something so simplistic, so childlike about weaving, an art that is almost as old as humanity, anyone can do it (and did!) and feel like they're a part of something bigger.
Thanks Third Space, for giving me the chance to share my love for weaving, making and connecting. All you readers, make sure you go next year!
PS For more photos, see the hashtag #thirdshiftsj on Instagram and also check out Dan Culberson's album on Facebook!
*Note: the completed piece has yet to be unveiled as I had to remove it from the loom before it was finished. I am working on adding some pieces and will show it when it's done :)*