Two Sides of the Same Coin

44.5″ x 37”
Cottolin, linen, wool. 

Exhibitions: Crosscurrents: Canada in the Making, The Textile Museum of Canada, June 27, 2018-March 31, 2019

Presentations: Cloth Cultures: Future Legacies of Dorothy K. Burnham, conference at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, November 11, 2017

What does a contemporary coverlet look like? This question sparked a year-long investigation into historical craft, contemporary making, materiality, and connection that became Two Sides of the Same Coin. It uses a pattern from Dorothy Burnham’s seminal book Keep Me Warm One Night as a starting point to explore and reinterpret traditional handwoven coverlets.

In the material choices for this work, sustainability and locality were two important contemporary considerations; Taproot Fibre Lab in Port Williams, Nova Scotia, supplied Canadian grown and spun linen yarn, and a Chicago-based spinner, Lauren Chang, collaborated on producing three distinct handspun yarns. This collaboration with and connection to each other and to farmers and craft colleagues was a key part of producing this work. Through sharing the process online, technology played a role in connecting us further with global craft practices, histories, and other weavers and spinners.

As the title suggests, this work is similar, yet very different to the historical objects it’s based on, reflecting some of the material, social, and historical answers gained during the process of making. Ultimately, Two Sides reflects the modern values that contemporary craftspeople are bringing to their practices, and the enduring material value and personal meaning that domestic textiles can hold.