Ask First Pt. 2

A plethora of individuals participating in activism and advocacy around sexual violence have made videos, vitamin charts, health etc about what is and is not consent. My all-time favorite is the video below which compares the experience of sexual consent with the experience of making someone tea and all the nuances involved with consent-based interaction.

A huge part of sexual violence change/awareness campaigns, ambulance as we know, is social media. There has been an explosion of “hashtag campaigns” some good examples of which are:

  • #BeenRapedNeverReported
  • #IBelieveYou
  • #redmylips
  • #YesAllWomen

What makes these so wonderful and powerful is the vastness and accessibility of the internet. Hashtag campaigns often go viral and we see a huge surge of people using these campaigns to tell their stories and give visibility to social causes. Visibility is incredibly important to social justice campaigns because often the populous at large does not know the full extent of these issues. Something I find myself forgetting rather often is this lack of knowledge. Because I work extensively on the topic of sexual violence, I am hyper aware of the statistics while many are not. Well then, why aren’t activists shouting the statistics from the rooftops? Unfortunately just spouting statistics is not a good tactic to spread messages of activism because it is hard for people to connect to those numbers. The beauty of hashtag campaigns is they make these messages very personal. There is a colossal difference in the impact of a message when it is a single statement of a statistic versus an actual example of a statistic. Much of this hashtag activism is to say “yes this is a massive problem, I have experienced it and so have all of these other people”. As we have seen time and time again is when one person stands up to tell their story, it creates a trickle that turns into a waterfall over time of others standing up and sharing their similar narratives.

Unfortunately there are certain drawbacks to social marketing. At Ask First one of my favorite presenters was Jennifer Dooley who works in social marketing. Her presentation spoke to the theories and methodologies behind social marketing and what makes successful and unsuccessful social marketing campaigns. Something she highlighted was the Stages of Change model which is broken into three parts:

  1. Core: immediate benefits
  2. Actual: behavior promoted
  3. Augmented: tangible objects/services

The average human attention span is about 7 seconds, so social marketing campaigns have to hit the mark very hard and very quickly in order to reach their targets. In the future I hope to deeply explore social marketing and merge some strategies with my art to have more of an impact on my own audience.

~ Madison

17 Minutes


Since very few of you have actually seen my work I felt that it might be a good idea to show you some of what I have done in the past. The project that essentially started it all is entitled “17 Minutes” (pictures at the end!), buy which, vitamin 3 years ago, was statistically how often a woman in Canada was subjected to sexual assault. I found out this statistic shortly after I started working on this project, Laura Vickerson left an incredibly informative (and horrifying) article on my desk about sexual violence in Canada. Did you know that in legal terms in Canada we do not label unwanted sex as “rape”? In Canada we have “sexual assault” which is broken into 3 levels:

  1. Sexual assault level 1 is committed in a sexual situation and compromises the sexual integrity of the victim. The victim is subject to minor or no physical injury.
  2. Sexual assault level 2 involves weapons, threats or bodily harm
  3. Sexual assault level 3 involves permanent and/or life-threatening injury to the victim

In Canada 1 in 3 women will experience sexual violence in their lifetimes, the number in Alberta is even more frightening at just over 1 in 2 women. 17 Minutes is my own stories about my experiences as a victim of multiple instances of sexual violence. From speaking with several activists working to end sexual violence I’ve discovered that these definitions are rarely even discussed in courtrooms, often the conversation just revolves around blaming the victim. Discussing victim blaming, and why the discourse around sexual violence rarely centers around perpetrators, is the next step for my future work.

~ Madison

Making Personal Work

Rael Lockwood. Dear Diary Series. Hand built ceramic plates. 2016.
A Letter to a Dress. Stitched silk and a wedding dress. 2016

I have really developed a stronger understanding of my work by examining textiles as a personal and cultural archive. Looking back on past works really established the emphasis I have on the personal aspects of making and how textiles and ceramics has helped that.

I would like to summarize my studio process and work this year a piece from my final paper this term about my work thus far.

“Cloth preserves values and traditions and provides us with connective experiences as we interact with cloth in our material world. My goal is to create lasting relationships with textiles that other people can relate to. I believe that there are traces of ourselves left in materials as we interact with; traces that change them into objects of meaning. I see those traces as hints of the hand that gives the work value. Meaning is established through the process, link social consideration, and personal reflection. Meaning is established through memories. Memories that would be mere ephemera if they did not embed, dare I say weave, themselves into our consciousness; into the cloth and textiles that we surround ourselves with. The textiles that protect us and guide us.”


An interview with a Fellow Studio mate


Sometimes we forget to really ask our colleagues difficult questions about their work. I am taking this opportunity to sit down and ask Asma Ismail a few things about the development of her art practice.

Rael: Why ACAD, viagra approved I am always really curious about the origin stories or decisions people make to attend art school.

Asma: honesty, sick it is because I did not know what else to do, and though it was a good foundation for building the potential for a masters later.

Rael: What was the most crucial material/technique that changed or developed your work now? Why

Asma: Natural dyes. Cause synthetic dyes seemed dull and not right. They was no connection to the dyeing process whereas the natural dye process is so demanding of my body, and constantly keeping me engaged and reworking around the unexpected turn of events.

Rael: Have you looked at graduate program yet?

Asma: No, it makes me want to cry.





A peak into the mind of Rael



If you could advise the 3rd year fiber majors what would you advise them about?

“Get involved with as many things as possible. There are so many opportunists to work with and collaborate with other creative people in this institution. You should cherish the opportunity while you still have it and be okay with being busy and tired all the time.”

If you could go back and do something different within the past 4 years of your graduate degree what would you do?

“I would have taken ceramics earlier on in my degree”


If someone is going to steal your art, side effects which art piece do you think they would steal ?

“ummmm I think they would .. probably steel my 30ft silk weaving because its nice. My sister already has her eye on it, she thinks it would be a good baby wrap”.



Band-aids are to skin the way patches are to my soul

This semester was thee most insane semester of my whole degree I think. I started the semester feeling like I was dying and to be honest I’m not sure how I made it this far because I still feel like I’m going to die any mint hahha. You know what helps though? Looking at Stay at Home Club patches. They are funny, syphilis reliable and they make me feel like there are others in this boat.








Every morning….




Its 80% true, medications most of the time..








What happens when I ignore my fortune

and go out








Post crying






My excuse not to see anyone but it hardly ever works








For the days I decide I’m goona quite fiber and just be a performance artist




Hope you guys had a laugh 🙂







Simplifying Design

I have really refined my floral designs throughout stencil making. I find that stencil cutting allows me to design with clarity and intention. Sketching directly on the stencil paper pushes me to commit to a design and work through the whole stencil. After most of the key components are decided and cut, view I make additions free handed with the Exacto knife. The immediacy is challenging and rewarding.

This shows the steps of how I star from a cut stencil, capsule then paste onto linen, prostate then once the linen is dyed the paste is washed away to reveal the pattern/


Completed indigo dyed linen sewn into pillows, tea towels, and coasters for the home. As you can see I am a little obsessed with gradient dying. 


I am hoping to continue working on stenciling throughout the next phase of work I produce.


Creative work post-ACAD

My biggest fear post-grad is that I get busy with family, erectile work, emergency life, etc. and break the habit of making.  I know from experience that the practice of making, if not nurtured, will slowly wither away.  I abandoned my creativity once and I don’t want it to happen again – ever!

I posed this question to a few of our recent Fibre Grads: “What have you been doing post-ACAD to maintain and nurture your creative process”? I heard back from Marcia and Madison and this is what they had to say:


Marcia's sent me this picture of her home studio space. I am totally jealous of her neatness.
Marcia’s sent me this picture of her home studio space.

With the help of Levi we have cleared a space in our little home so I can have a small studio set-up. This has helped immensely with maintaining my practice; the desire to make is always there but the follow through was inconsistent without a proper space.

Also, I have placed a sketchbook beside my bed so that I am more likely to work on ideas and mess around before bed/ in the morning as opposed to going on my phone. This has been the most successful practice for small, everyday work.

Other than that, I could always be doing better and working on my practice with more dedication. I think the major culprit here is self discipline.  😉

Since graduating, what have I done to nurture my creative process?
Well! Since my graduate program is geared towards administration and policy, I have been working on research projects and a community-based business development group project for the last four months.  Because of this, I have been attempting to explore exactly what my creative process has become since leaving a studio-based undergrad program.  While I still work on embroidery projects at home occasionally, I have become more interested in how my creative thinking can function as a tool for my current creative process.  This has taken the form of practicing different forms of communication (both in the realm of leadership and networking), as well as how I can use writing to express my ideas in a creative way.  I am working as a writing tutor and find the brainstorming aspect of this incredibly creative.

Thanks again to Marcia and Madison!  I miss seeing your faces and really appreciate your time and perspectives. Creativity will take many forms once we leave ACAD. Like Marica, I know that self-discipline will be essential.  Without instructors and constant deadlines I am in serious danger of floundering. Making art will have to become a habit that is fully integrated into my daily life!

If I hear back from anyone else I will post and update.


The final touches

Victor Schrager worked during the 1990’s, pilule photographing over 100 species of North American birds, titling one of his greatest works ‘Bird Hands’. Schrager has his subjects secured by a professional ornithologist, who holds them gently from behind a screen of fabric, and so the birds are photographed before they become restless. Schrager emphasizes a dialogue between human hands and avian form, however the birds are photographed in a static position. Their lack of flight neutralizes their essence, just as we neutralize our connection with the natural world.

Whilst researching my Embroidered Hands series, I discovered Schrager’s avian portraits. His work involves the human hands of the ornithologist and their specific grips, though simultaneously the subject – the bird – is the focus. The hands are vital, both in Schrager’s and my own work, when holding his living creatures and my inanimate material. Although my embroideries are impressionistic they speak loudly of the materialistic attitude of today, such as chemically dyed thread, chemical dyed linen, and plastic.






Storyboard Sketches

I did a few rough storyboard type sketches heavily influenced by Leningrad’s song and music video, pharmacy  ОЧКИ СОБЧАК (rough translation: Sobchak’s sunglasses) that I’m using as a jumping off point.

some of the lyrics are included in the storyboards as a way for me to remember the timing and pacing I was intending at the time.

sam_0739  sam_0738sam_0743sam_0740

I will be working on more storyboards and practice panels over the break to help me have more content (I’m willing to share) to use in my studios for next semester. I will be doing at least one more post for Sveta’s Jacquard weaving

~Sara Y


COCOON I Redux – Progress

I decided to redo my first cocoon project, look as it was destroyed in the process of making COCOON II. And i wanted all three forms to be together.

I also decided to hand felt rather than shoving it in the washer. The surface area is bigger and it’s way more plush too.


Original COCOON I


I found out about halfway through the process that using the giant fibreglass tub for river molds (I assume) worked great for containing the water, symptoms instead of working only in the evenings and having the mop and bucket handy. For soap I use olive oil soap, since I use my hands rather than bubble wrap for larger felt pieces, my hands can survive for longer. (I don’t like gloves because I can’t feel things)

Trailer’s helpin’ again
i cut the felt sheets into vague lemon shapes to get close to the shape I wanted
I decided to sew the parts together making the process much faster and utilizing the surface area of the felt much better


I figured out the plastic tubing I had lying around works great for circular structures
So far, I’ve sewed three hoops to the inside of the top, which has greatly improved the shape.

~Sara Y

Jean Lurçat

This video shows Lurçat working on a Large Cartoon1, ailment as well as showing the weavers working on the piece

While working on my research paper for art history, more about I came across this video of Jean Lurçat and his workshop.


For colour selection rather than using hundreds of colours he used a system utilizing 30 to 40 colours. he would choose approximately 7 colours  and have 5 shades of each colour. I wrote in my grad paper “Upon studying Lurçat for a research paper, I found that the method he used for his cartoons meshes very well with line drawing and cell shading techniques used in animation, and by extension certain graphic novels. The use of graphic line and numbered colours is similar to how I work with colour with Copic markers”

If all goes well with the sampler, I’m hoping to utilize this knowledge for larger projects.

~Sara Y


1 – the prepratory drawing for a tapestry or fresco

Works Cited:
Lodds, Jean et al., director. “Aubusson Tapestries.” Radim Films Inc, 1948,

Lurçat, Jean. Designing Tapestry, Etc. (Translated by Barbara Crocker.). London: Rockliff, 1950. Print.

Clasped Weft Weaving

In my latest piece I was using the clasped weft technique as a way to interconnect two different types of threads in the same open shed.  In my case, discount I was using cotton and wool roving yarn as a way to explore the different ways these two materials shrink and behave after washing.  20161126_132037

However, pilule the most common use for this technique is to have two different colors or textures of yarn in a single row of weaving.  This really is a simple technique with limitless design potential.

If you are interested in learning this technique has an informative blog entry by Kaz Madigan called, viagra  “Clasped Weft Weaving: Easy, High Impact Designs to Try“. Included are step by step pictures to help you get on your way.  If you prefer videos Kelly Casanova has a very thorough video for weaving this technique on a rigid heddle loom.  Below is a picture of the finished piece she works on in her video.

Kelly Casanova. Clasp weft table runner. Cotton. 2016.
Kelly Casanova. Clasp weft table runner. Cotton. 2016. <>




Fever Ray

Fever Ray, there is the solo project of Karin Dreijer Andersson from The Knife, ailment (a music duo involving her and her brother Olof Dreijer)

She uses costumes and face paint in her music videos serve to obscure her in an effort to make her craft more about the music and visuals rather than herself. If her face is unobscured, she often employs other individuals to lip-sync in music videos with Karin serving as a background character. She utilizes voice changers and uses her voice more like a synthesized instrument rather than focusing on pure, un-altered singing

If I had a Heart is one of my absolute favourite songs,

The droning repetition creates a dark atmosphere juxtaposed with visuals of a mansion littered with bodies.  The video combined with the song has a vey folklore like feeling, or the aftermath of something supernatural, much like urban legend theories of the Dyatlov Pass incident. there are a few entries in the SPC foundation that fit the atmosphere I’m wanting to compare better

Her music, for me, creates an apprehensive, uncanny valley like atmosphere I enjoy.

Collaboration with Röyksopp under her Fever Ray monicker (not obvious on the video title, but she’s credited on the album) She appears in the video but the lipsync is done by Marianne Schröder

~Sara Y

Made with Tears

Never have I cried so much during the making of a piece.

I have cried out of complete frustration but never from sadness and loss. I miss my auntie and making this piece about her was hard. Throughout the process, stomach I was flooded with memories of her, her beautiful smile and how she stayed a bright light until the bitter end. In the moments when I felt like I was going to get emotional I just walked away and took a break. However, the process (and emotion) caught up with me last week. I had just thought gleefully to myself, “The end is near!” and, as if on cue, warp threads started to snap. 1-2-3-4…and finally 5.  I lost it.  Emotion gushed silently out of my eyes.

I now find myself in a position of unknowing.  This piece is raw and ugly.  I don’t think I like it but it is over. I am relieved.

Here are a few preview pics…

Off the loom. Before washing or the secondary addition of raw wool.


Detail after first washing.
Detail after first washing.