By Judith van Berkom –
Kitchissippi United Church hosted the Third Annual Fibre Fling and Tea on Island Park Drive, April 4 and 5, 2014 with members of the church community providing high tea, and Out of the Box fibre artists providing the eye candy. All proceeds from the tea and a percentage of the sales went to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Kitchissippi artists, Garrie Bea Joyce and Patricia Gordon, were among the approximately 50 artists who showcased some of their recent work.
Some of Gordon’s pieces are based on QR (quick response) codes. A QR code consists of black squares on a white squared background, which can be read by smart phones. Data – such as a website address – can be extracted from these patterns.
“You see them everywhere,” says Gordon. “I take my iPhone and scan them,” she adds. The patterns are then recreated using embroidery and beads.
Two of Gordon’s other pieces are titled “Bunny Suits” – whimsical rabbits made from fabric originally meant for the sewing of suits. It’s a personal artistic statement that hearkens to her previous life working for an advertising firm in Toronto.
All of the participating artists shared tales of inspiration in plaques displayed next to their work. It was as inspiring to read what inspired them as seeing the end result.
“Every piece has a story. Some are incredibly moving,” says Nancy Garrard, Out of the Box planning committee co-chair.
Joyce’s inspiration for her series comes from flights to California.
“When I looked down, I was always seeing patterns. This is the source for these pieces – plus imagination. Look for the ‘Zingers’ [lightening bolts] and the gifts,” explains Joyce. It’s a trademark of her work.
Joyce comes from generations of artists – both her mother and grandmother were artists. She has been an artist all her life.
The idea for a combined fibre art and high tea event originally began with a member of the congregation.
“I always wanted to do a fundraiser,” says Garrard. “High tea is a bit of a dying art.” She adds there’s a “shortage of high tea places” in Ottawa. “Last year we could have sold another 200 tickets.”
Visitors to the high tea portion of the day were treated to special cucumber sandwiches, made by eighty-nine-year-old, Else Peckham from Ruskin Street. “It’s her specialty,” says Garrard.
The Out of the Box Fibre Art group pushes the boundaries of fibre art. Unique to this group is the sharing of ideas and work at the end of each meeting. There is a library of resources available to members and money set aside each year for new resources. Joyce and Gordon agree it’s a “warm and nurturing place.”
Out of the Box meets on the third Monday of each month, from 7:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. at the Ottawa Citizen main floor board room on Baxter Road. For more information, see their website at out-of-the-box.org.