Category Archives: Blog


Saves Nine :: Opening this Friday

The culmination of over a year and a half of research, the Manitoba Craft Council and myself are happy to announce this week’s opening of Saves Nine. A group exhibition, Saves Nine puts forth a proposition to the question of what post-disciplinary craft looks like in Manitoba, specifically across the generations of artists active here today. You are all invited to come down to aceartinc on Friday evening for the opening to find out my hypothesis to this question.

The artists included in the show span the spectrum artistically and demographically. These artists include Steven Leyden Cochrane, Leah Decter, Erika Lincoln, Corrie Peters, Willow Rector, Deborah Scott, and Gaetanne Sylvester. While the artists and their work represent the diverse breadth of the arts in Manitoba, they share a core commonality, which is the decision to feature craft in their work in some fundamental way– either in material, technique, or subject.

Cochrane’s conceptually driven works Blanket and Blanket, to Blanket feature the common crochet afghan full of notions of comfort and domesticity. Blanket, to Blanket’s rigid ossified sculptural form is in stark contrast to the graphite drawing of Blanket with its delicate impermanence.

Decter’s Five Blanket Suite exceeds the common expectations of rug hooking. Domesticity and décor are confronted with concept and politics. Exploring the political history of the Hudson Bay blanket through a settler lens, Decter literally takes apart and takes stock of its history by dismantling the blankets into thin strips that are then rug hooked into common colour panels of rug hooking.

Lincoln combines modern technology – domestic and commercial – with personal domestic history and folk art in the creation of a duo of reverse appliquéd panels based on the Mola folk art of the Kuna people of Panama. Using high-tech laser cutters for creating the patterns in the cloth, the common household technology represented is highlighted and offered up for us to consider our own contemporary folk imagery.

Peters’ act of trust explores power dynamics through vulnerability, specifically the vulnerability experienced while napping in public and semi-public spaces by people whose primary residences are shelters or nursing homes. The work encourages the viewer to participate by taking one of the found afgahans provided in the gallery out into the streets. The idea is to practice vulnerability in solidarity, breaking down borders of power, whether they be that of the art gallery or of privilege.

Rector’s work The Singing Bone explores the mythological Canadian relationship to the wild landscape, as well as Manitoba’s historical development through the fur trade.  With literary references as well as the art historical references of the Group of Seven, this work speaks of our mediated and layered relationship to our environment.

Scott’s respect for materiality, with all of its conceptual and physical connotations, is highlighted in Fall from her Halo series. Made from soft maple wood, one feels the delicate balance between manipulation of material and letting the material do what it does naturally, speaking directly to society’s relationship to nature and culture alike.

Sylvester’s ongoing exploration of the fragility of bodily identity is continued through Delicate Sheathe. Made of multiple ceramic components in the form of cast lace, these separate pieces are tentatively connected through a series of leather laces.

With this brief overview, I give you a glimpse of the works included in the show and underlying themes and sub-themes of the exhibition that are woven and stitched throughout the work, whether that be in form or content. The MCC and I invite you to come down and check out the show to draw out meaning, inspiration, and connections for yourself. Keep an eye out for announcement the exhibition programming which will include a workshop and a panel discussion later in August.

Saves Nine opens on Friday, August 2nd at 5PM at aceartinc.

For more from Kerri-Lynn Reeves on Saves Nine, see “A Stitch In Time Saves Nine”, and “Saves Nine – In Process and Behind the Scenes”.


Fall, Halo Series (2012) by Deborah Scott

Soft Maple, Gold Leaf, 64x71x140 cm


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Category Archives: Blog


Flashback Friday :: A Love that Lives On

Early on in my time with the Manitoba Craft Council, I began working on MCC’s 2009 Juried Exhibition.  As many of you know, there are two awards associated with the annual juried shows, one of which is the Marilyn Wolodarsky Levitt Prize for Functional Pottery.  Seeing Marilyn’s name on the award documents made my heart jump.  While I had only met her once or twice, I was close friends with her daughter Emily back in my early university days, so her name naturally brought up warm feelings.  I also, sadly, recall the day she passed away in 1997.

Today, I found myself looking through the MCC archives and found a file with her name on it.  Below you’ll find some of my discoveries from that file:  images of her work and a Winnipeg Free Press article about her teaching practice from February 1, 1994.  There was also a lovely photo of Marilyn and a piece about her ceramics in the Jewish Post here.

When I searched Marilyn’s name online, what came up first was a list of contemporary Manitoba ceramic artists, all of whom have benefited from Marilyn’s legacy through the  award bearing her name.  In the ceramic objects she created, through her students and in this generous award, Marilyn’s commitment to her craft lives on.

levitt 2 1levitt 1



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Category Archives: Blog


MCC Bursary Helps Fund Fibre Artist’s Educational Trip to China

When Manitoba Craft Council member Helga Schulte-Schroeer applied to MCC’s Bursary Fund last September, time was ticking down.  If granted, she planned to use the money to help finance a trip to Nantong, China for the Seventh Annual Lausanne to Beijing International Fibre Biennale opening in early November.  While there, Helga also hoped to attend the Biennale Symposium, do research for the silk component of of a new body of work, learn about Chinese textile culture and education, and network with Chinese and other international fibre artists.

The MCC was pleased to be able to assist Helga, as well as two other artists, through the bursary fund.  The following are some highlights from her trip, in the artist’s own words, taken from her report to the MCC:

The journey to Nantong, China took place Nov. 03-13, 2012.  Approx. 100 artists were in attendance, half of which were Chinese and the other half of various nationalities. I met artists from Korea, Japan, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, the US, the Netherlands and the UK. We ‘foreigners’ were very impressed by the outstanding support given by all levels of government to all aspects of the exhibition. The ancient Chinese cultural heritage of decorum and ceremony was evident throughout.

Interestingly, as was also noted by speakers at the Symposium, the works on display did not reveal cultural identities. Looking at the works it was not possible to distinguish the cultural heritage of the maker. Much of the work on exhibit was big and bold. A trend to experimentation with materials, size and perspectives was evident as well. This was noted as new trends in fibre art. The scope, size and quality of the exhibition evoked a sense of ‘fine-art-world’, which may well be where fibre as art form is headed toward.

I believe that works in fibre will now be represented as either distinctly “craft” or “art”. The craft-aspect will continue to reveal cultural heritage, leaving art to move beyond. I am encouraged to continue struggling with the dichotomy of fibre craft versus fibre art and feel inspired to keep experimenting with textures and materials. I am in fine craft company.

-Helga Schulte-Schroeer

Click on each image below to enlarge.

You can find out more about how to apply for the MCC’s Bursary Fund here.  Applications are due September 12, 2013.



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