ACAD | Fibre

Area of Study Blog

A Little Motivation



Source: “The Great Discontent Issue 4.” Web. Sept 5, 2016.

This week I would like to share with you one of my favourite magazines… The Great Discontent.  

The Great Discontent (TGD) is a print and online magazine featuring inspiring, in-depth conversations with today’s artists, makers, and risk takers. TDG looks into the lives of its subjects through long-form interviews and short features, a podcast, a live event series and film-based projects. This magazine is published by Wayward Wild in New York City.

Print issues are available for purchase in TGD’s online shop and at retailers worldwide. In addition to print, they also publish new digital content on their website throughout the month. You can also purchase digital copies of all their magazines. I purchased their first magazine digitally a few years ago. Accessing the magazine on my computer and phone is a simple and enjoyable experience. I love googling the artists and viewing their websites while I read through the magazine.

Here’s a summary of what their printed issues cover:

Issue # 1

This issue features a collection of inspiring interviews loosely based around the theme of leaps. Their stories encourage, inspire, and challenge us to make the jump, even if—and especially when—we’re afraid.

Issue # 2

The theme of hustle implores us to reconsider the idea of making it—both how we do it and how we define it. This magazine is a reminder that more often than not, we must work hard to carve out a path to doing the work we love.

Issue # 3

Features those who have dared to push the boundaries of what is achievable.  Their stories will encourage you to explore your interests and overcome your fears, allowing you to discover what you’re truly capable of.

Issue # 4

Ambition is the theme of this issue, covering a selection of interviews with those who are committed to their crafts and pursuing their paths with a sense of purpose. Their stories will drive you to explore your ambitions and chase them with a renewed resolve.

Reading these interviews is a treat, and they help inform your practice at the same time. You can’t go wrong with TGD, it’s well worth your time. It is a great resource for any creative in any stage of their career.

I hope you enjoy reading TGD as much as I do.



Source: “Samantha Pleet.” Interview by Ryan and Tina Essmaker. Photograph by Hannah Kristina Metz. Web. March 24, 2015. 

We’ve lost Shuttleworks but not access to Maurice Brassard yarns

There are two things about weaving supplies I would like to share with you all right away:

  1. Shuttleworks is CLOSED!
    Cal and Diane will have a final “last chance” sale starting Thursday, October 6.  Check out their newsletter for the details.
  2. A & B Fiberworks
    This summer I discovered A & B Fiberworks at the Calgary Crossroads Market. Ann and her husband are the new local distributor for Maurice Brassard yarns (these are the same cottons that both Shuttleworks and the bookstore carried). Their store space at the market is small but they have most of the 2/8 cotton colorway in stock.Ann has all of the sample cards from the Maurice Brassard collection (bamboo, boucle, cottolin, etc.) available for perusing and she told me she would be happy to order in anything that you may need.

    A & B Fiberworks have both a website and Facebook page.



Getting Yourself Organized!

It’s that time of year again, when students need to start planning their future while we tackle all the course work that’s coming our way. Career goals, planning, organization, writing, marketing, making awesome work, preparing portfolios… the list goes on. School becomes quite overwhelming pretty quickly. That’s why today I am dedicating my post to super sweet resources that can get anyone back on track from their summer vacation!

Source: “Kreg looks like he’s starting to regret those 4 years.” Imgur.  Web, April 24, 2016.


EVERNOTE : A personal content manager. Keep lists of websites you like, recipes, ANYTHING that you want to keep track of. Accessible from anywhere, Shareable with other evernote users (good for group work).

Google Drive : Cloud Storage, integrated into gmail. Most useful for gmail users, but is accessible with any google account. Best for personal storage only, sharing capability isn’t great, doesn’t create links for file downloading purposes.

Google Calendar : Scheduling app. Works best integrated into gmail. Make different ‘calendars’ for different uses, easy to share calendars with others, send/make appointments automatically through email. This is my savior this year!

Toggl : Time tracker. Really great for knowing where your work day went, or how long you’ve spent on a job. Very simple, can generate time sheets too.


Google Hangouts : Group video chat. Best video conference tool for more than 2 users at a time. Can share your screen with other callers, and text links during calls. Needs gmail account.

Skype : Two person video chat. Commonly used worldwide, has recording capability with plugin software such as, CallRecorder

DropBox : Cloud Storage, made very useful for projects and file sharing. Free account with free space that grows with recommendations. Excellent for file sharing and making downloadable files. Integrated onto your desktop. (Good for group work)

GoToMeeting : Paid group chat provider. More reliable for important, professional meetings.


Mailchimp : Free (up to 1000 contacts) contact list manager and email creation software. Keep your mailing list up to date and in order. Track who opens emails, categorize contacts, generates a ‘sign up’ form you can embed on your website. Starting a mailing list is great for when you start to build clientele at craft shows.

The Square (POS) : Extremely easy point of sale device. Connects to your bank account, allows small vendors to accept credit cards. Low % commission on per sale basis. No contract. Vital for craft shows!

Dreamhost : Web­hosting. Affordable and easy to manage, good user interface, great customer service and friendly. Can register all kinds of domains too.

Big Cartel : E­commerce platform, great for small shops.  – up to 3 item shops are hosted Free. Uses paypal. – Can be cloaked on your personal website.

Shopify : Canadian E­commerce platform, good plans available for larger shops with many items or lots of sales. – Can be cloaked on your personal website.

Wave : Canadian online Accounting software. Free for small business, can connect to your bank account. Does invoicing, tracks expenses and bill payments.

Quickbooks Online : Highly tested and true accounting software. Online tool is new, I have heard only good things about this platform. Makes sending invoices easy and professionally to your clients.

Tangerine : Online banking, personal or business. No fee banking, great user interface, interest on savings, picture check deposits, easily shared/linked accounts – I hesitate to recommend a bank, but this one deserves a look.


Issuu : Web publishing into digital flipbooks. Free. Used by magazines for professional online published look. Upload a PDF and the site crunches it into a online flipbook with a link.

Blurb : Affordable, high quality, hardcopy book publishing. Can order 1 or more books – best to be designed in InDesign, but can be published from a PDF. Site will generate a flipbook of you book with link – printing proof. Delivery in a few weeks.

Graph Paper Press : Wordpress themes for creatives, free and paid. Great quality and design, come with updates, lots of functionality.

Moo Cards : Very high quality printing. Offers low unit print runs, can be expensive but you don’t end up with 1000s of cards (which is often a waste). Lots of customization.

Vista Print :  Affordable large run printing. Canadian (lower shipping cost). Mid range quality. Limited customization.

Overnight : Good quality printing, fast turnaround. Shipping from California, can be pricey. Moderate customization.

Adfactor : Toronto printing company. Can order online or in person. Turnaround time is a couple weeks, can be convenient. Limited customization, average prices. FOR SOCIAL NETWORKING


Etsy : Sales platform. Connected directly to customers. Is known for craft, batch production, hand made goods by real people. Very quick to sign up and begin sales pursuit.

Linked in : Business driven social media. Linked In profiles are very often used as resumes and in job acquisition. Ability to ‘endorse’ contacts for their skill set. Good for finding references.

Hootsuite : Social Networking Manager. Put in time all at once and Hootsuite posts and updates your social platforms for you – as per your programmed schedule. Great for keeping networking sites

I love getting organized and staying on top of things! If you have a useful site, platform or source that you’d like to share, comment below! We’re all in this together. Lets make this year a great one!

Source: “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” Imgur.  Web, August 29, 2016.


switchable film


I figured I should make a post about the switchable film i’m using in my grad piece since it’s confusing to explain in words alone. This project by Studio Roosegaarde was the first time I had ever seen this technology being used. I stumbled on this project two years ago and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Sensors on the models skin detects her heartbeat; the faster her heart races, the more translucent the dress becomes. When I was researching this project years ago, they described the film as some sort of special spacecraft textile technology but have recently changed the description to read as e-foils. That made it really hard for me to figure out what the material was until it became a bit more main stream a year ago.

What switchable film (or smart-film, e-film, etc) is marketed for is usually a standard application on windows to block out sun, create privacy, or turn glass into a projectable surface. This piece is so far the only example of this technology being used in the art world that I can find. I’d be interested to know if any of you know more artists working with this!


textile speakers

This is a fun project i’ve been researching into that i’d like to try this summer. A speaker can be made by passing a current through any (conductive) coil. When the current passes through the coil material, it is momentarily turned into an electromagnet. This attracts and repels the magnet on the opposite side, creating vibrations through which sound is formed. The cone in the diagram below is unnecessary but acts to amplify the sound created.


Here’s a fun example of a fabric speaker in action! As you can see, the sound quality isn’t the greatest but it’s still a really cool way of incorporating sound into a textile project. Especially when using conductive threads and tech designed to be used in washable/wearable garments like the Arduino Lilypad and it’s components (

(more info and experiments here:


Here copper wire and raphia are coiled in a basket weaving technique to create a speaker:

(more info here -including info on embroidering cloth antennas!


You can also knit speakers!


(more info here:


In this example, the fabric itself isn’t the speaker but acts as a resistor. By generating resistance in the stainless steel & polyester yarn by stretching it, the sound is changed:



The Never Ending Process

Weaving, dyeing, weaving, dyeing, weaving, weaving, weaving, dyeing…is all my my past semester seemed to consist of (not that I’m complaining… I loved it!).

I have been working on different types of weaving with different fibres and different dyeing processes. Here are some results you may have already seen:






One thing I had never tried was dyeing my own skein of yarn, which led me to my next project…

I had a skein of plain white wool which I dyed using 4 different colours of fibre reactive dyes in squirt bottles. I laid out the skein, applied my dye, and let it sit overnight wrapped up in plastic. When I went to wash out the dye the next morning, all of the colours seemed to have bled into each other, creating a VERY subtle colour. Although it wasn’t what I was expecting the colour to turn out like, I was quite happy with the end product. Here are some progress shots of the wool once it was dyed and then turned into a woven scarf:

13020229_10153445290875986_1925963348_n 13000649_10153445291405986_756697629_o12992173_10153445291880986_1484329352_n











Trying out this new process was really fun for me and I think I will definitely use it again and try it with a different material.



Folk Elements in Fashion


Clockwise from left: Akif Mahmood, Valentino, Kenzo, Dries Van Noten, Matilda Temperley


After researching traditional folk costume, I keep recognizing many similar designs on fashion runways. Meticulous, time-consuming traditional processes lend chronomanual value to high-end, luxury fabrics. Embellishment in the form of embroidery and appliqué, and intricate construction techniques such as lace making and tapestry, give rich exotic texture and a sense of history.


Clockwise from left: Naeem Khan, Erdem, Tadashi Shoji, Etro

The irony is that many of these valuable traditions have been preserved and passed on by the underprivileged and marginalized in society. The designers are given the glory while the makers receive little or no recognition for their work. Are these trends trickling up or down? Is it posh or peasant? Homage or appropriation?



Sydney Sogol

I came across a wonderful artist on Instagram named Sydney Sogol (@sydsthread). She primarily works with weaving and dyeing her own yarns – no wonder I found myself interested in her!


Sydney completed her Bachelor of Arts in Weaving and minor in Biology at Earlham College and then completed her MFA in Textile Design from East Carolina University. Her work is very inspirational to me because of the beautiful colours and patterns she creates in her weaving. You can see how unique each piece is because she hand-paints most of her warps and dyes her other yarns.

I’ve gotten a lot of inpiration and tips and tricks from seeing her work and her process. In one of my classes this semester I have been focusing on hand-dyeing my own weaving which I had never done before and was partially inspired by seeing Sydney’s work.

Not only does she make beautiful functional pieces, she also makes work she calls ‘woven paintings’. This body of work is another reason why she is an inspiration to me because they show how weaving, which is traditionally all about functional use, can be brought into a completely different atmosphere and can be looked at as fine art as compared to craft. My work tends to focus on the functional side of weaving, so being able to see this series of work is important for me in order to remind myself that I can branch out and try something different with my woven work.

wovenpaintingSo go check out her instagram page to follow her process and to keep up to date with her most current work! Also give her website a look to see her woven paintings series and a lot more professional work!



Naoko Serino, The Fibre Artist

Naoko Serino is a Japanese sculpture artist who works with jute.

She was born in 1984, and graduated fromKyushu Sangyo Universit,Faculty of Arts.

I like the simpleness of her works. Also, how delicate and complex they look at the same time.









↑This one is my favorite piece.


Her website in English :



Su Blackwell

Su Blackwell is a sculptor who work with papers.

She does book sculptures and installations.

I like how delicate her works are. It is detailed and the simple paper color looks so amazing.

Her website:











Up Next

With my degree coming to a close, I have been thinking a lot about what direction my practice will take. I have some time to relax before pursuing a career in architecture and I want to ensure I continue making. There are many intersections between art and architecture and I intend to explore them. As a reaction I have created a list of large-scale projects that will keep my mind busy and ambitions high, with the goal that somewhere in the next ten years I’ll make it there.

With that said, here is a piece on my list of inspirations: Triangular Water Pavilion by Jeppe Hein.

This piece is created using two walls of two-way mirrors and a wall of water, creating a triangle. The piece is elevated above a basin of water. Hein describes the effect of the work on his website, where it states, “approaching visitors prompt the descent of the water wall through the activation of a sensor, gaining access to the enclosed space. Upon entry, visitors find themselves surrounded by water and reflective glass, cut off from the exterior by the resurgence of the water jets.”

Now, why didn’t I think of that?



Check out Jeppe’s website (also my image source) here:

The Mysterious Weaver: Helena Vento

While working on my transparent cotton weavings, I began to research artists who work in a similar way. This search was too specific in nature, and I had a difficult time uncovering artists working with the same concepts and processes as me. However, I did find Helena Vento. When searched, her name brought results of only her Pinterest page, where little information was given as to her work as an artist or how these pieces evolved.

The images included a caption simply stating that they are a transparent weave of linen. Despite the lack of further information, I was inspired by the subtle design of the weavings, the finishing of the edges, and the documentation in everyday spaces. These are the decisions that are most critical in making a weaving successful, and I feel that her weavings are presented very successfully.


This work gave me something to think about as I continue to document my own weavings and strive to present them as successfully as possible.


Image Source/Helena’s Pinterest page:

Global Folk Costume

L–R: Croatia, Russia, Belarus

L–R: Croatia, Russia, Belarus

In an attempt to expand on my research that began with traditional Hungarian textiles, I have been looking at folk costumes from around the globe. Beginning with surrounding European cultures and then branching out to all parts of the world, I was amazed by both the variation and the similarities.

L–R: Armenian, Scandinavian, French

L–R: Armenia, Scandinavia, France

I feel like I have just barely scratched the surface. Why are red, white and blue such popular colours in folk costume? How are similar techniques simultaneously and independently developed in vastly disparate cultures? How are traditional techniques recorded and passed down through generations? How do they adapt and transform over time and/or with the catalyst of outside influence?

L–R: Cameroon, Spain, Bali

L–R: Cameroon, Spain, Bali

In our increasingly globalized world, these questions are relevant not only to textile enthusiasts, anthropologists, and historians, but also to anyone who cares about cultural exchange in any discipline. We are all unique. We are all connected. We are all human.


Congratulations Jane Kidd!

Congratulations to Jane Kidd, this year’s recipient of the Saidye Bronfman award!


The Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts were created in 1999 by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Governor General of Canada. Over the past 16 years, the awards have celebrated Canada’s vibrant arts community and recognized remarkable careers in the visual and media arts.

In 2007, the Saidye Bronfman Award for excellence in the fine crafts (originally created in 1977) joined this prestigious family of awards. This ensures that Canada’s outstanding craft artists receive national recognition each year alongside their peers in the visual and media arts. The Canada Council has been administering the Saidye Bronfman Award since 1997.

Through the act of weaving, Jane Kidd, engages in a sensual process and employs a physical language to establish links with the viewer. Kidd appreciates that she is a participant in the continuum of its makers, the counterpoint it provides to modern life, and the hands-on materiality it embodies. She creates contemporary objects that convey a deep engagement with the natural world and draw our attention to our constantly renegotiated relationship with it.

Jane taught at the Alberta College of Art + Design in Calgary, Alberta from 1979 until 2010.

Call for entries: Art of the Book

Call for Entries   May 16
June 17 – July 24
Sebastopol Center for the Arts

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