This is a guest post by Travis Meinolf, a public textile artist and teacher in San Francisco. He has presented his work at numerous art shows and workshops, as well as taught and published pieces on weaving and fiber arts. His newest project, the Weaving Place, allows visitors to learn weaving and produce loom woven pieces.
The Weaving Place is an installation I was invited to bring to the Vancouver Art Gallery in Canada by my friend, artist Kai Althoff. It is a room with six stations for a sculptural weaving device that I have been working with, which is made from a piece of laser-cut plexiglass. Kai made some instructional drawings, which are enlarged and mounted around the room so that people can learn to weave using the looms, spend some time enjoying that process, and either take home what they've made or leave it to be stitched into patchwork wool blankets to be distributed later to people who might need them. Basically, I want to provide this experience of production for its own sake, understood as leisure but also realizing something that will actually function to keep somebody warm.
Sherry Stewart and Kathleen Lemieux at the Vancouver Art Gallery have been really helpful in involving their volunteer and public programs departments. They have recently informed me that participation is so great that they are running out of the yarns that I collected, including a generous donation from Lion Brand! This is just another example of how people coming together can make connections, both physical and social, that enhance our lives.
The show runs until February 15th, and for more information you can visit Vancouver Art Gallery's website at vanartgallery.bc.ca. To see some pictures of the space see flickr.com/weavingplace, and for more examples of my work go to actionweaver.com. (I will be installing more little looms for 4-10 year-olds at the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose on January 17th!)