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Weaving a Banner for Peace – article published

I wrote an article for “Fibre Focus” – The Ontario Handweavers and Spinners magazine – on my “Weaving a Banner for Peace” project this past summer. The magazine has just been published and I am so excited. I haven’t received my copy yet – but look forward to getting it soon.

winter06.jpg Fibre Focus

My website: www.saltspringweaving.com

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More peace works….

Ahhhh…..it is so wonderful to see what others are doing in their work for peace. I just came across World Hearth for Peace and Friendship“with the intention to support “homes, hearths, and sanctuaries” in daily life for mothers, fathers, children and individuals around the world.”

They are doing cultural exchanges, work with arts and handcrafts and many other wonderful things in Peace Building. I think it’s worth a look…..

my website: www.saltspringweaving.com

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An early winter

Winter on Salt Spring – usually means some rain and occassionally a day or two of snow that melts right away…..well this year we had an early storm with a LOT of snow…..most unusual and part of the extreme weather events that are happening around the world…

There was much beauty to be found …..

Arbutus with snow

Here are some arbutus pieces that were piled with snow….

Birdhouse in snow

The birdfeeder was covered in snow and the birds were very hungry for a few days with much of their regular food covered in snow – so we did lots of feeding at our bird feeder. The chickadees and nuthatches will come and take peanuts from our hands – which is always so wonderful.

Nuthatch at Angel Birdfeeder

We also have an angel hanging by our door (made by my dear friend Noreen). We put nuts and seeds in the bowl that the angel holds out and the birds come for a visit (this is a Nuthatch).

I’m happy to say that it is warm and the snow is melting and everything is looking fresh and green!

my website: www.saltspringweaving.com

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Homeless – the search for warmth…

I have been involved in Blankets for Canada for many years. Blankets for Canada makes knit, crochet or quilted blankets to give to people in need of warmth.

Through the Edmonton chapter, I just read about B’s Diner in Old Strathcona that gives out free lunches once a week and is looking for donations of blankets, etc. for a Christmas dinner that they are putting on. It has been mighty cold in Edmonton the last few weeks and it is heartwarming to see people working to make a difference for others. Here is the article.

Blankets for Canada
Blankets motto is “We don’t make mistakes – we make originals!”

We have been experiencing our own problems here on Salt Spring with an unusual early winter storm. The United Church has a program called “In From the Cold” and are providing food and shelter here. Article.

The need is great and there are many people making blankets all across Canada (see the website for the nearest chapter to you) and that is so wonderful. Now if we can get some energy and ideas together for affordable homes that would be even better!

I would be happy to hear any ideas for solutions…..in the meantime I am happy to be able to help out with keeping people warm…..

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Women Engaged in the Arts – Vision & Empowerment (WEAVE)

This past weekend I was at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre doing a Weaving Program with the women there. They have started an Arts program for women called ‘WEAVE’ which stands for Women Engaged in the Arts, Vision and Empowerment.

The Centre is where the Peace Banner is currently being displayed. When I talked to them about the Peace Banner, they told me about the WEAVE project. When I found out that there wasn’t any weaving with the WEAVE project, I put in my proposal.

So, 2 days at the centre. In the morning, they had people in who had registered for the program – people who were particularly interested in weaving. In the afternoon, the drop-in centre was open, so anyone who came in was welcome to weave. We did this for 2 days and we created 2 banners for the centre. These banners will also be on display at one of the downtown Vancouver businesses in February 2007 as part of a collaborative art display done by the women of the Downtown Eastside (many homeless women and women who live below the poverty level).

In the midst of all of this – the whole city of Vancouver is dealing with water problems and are under a boil water advisory because of storms which is particularly difficult for the people in the downtown eastside – no water, no way to boil it and no money to buy it. (you can read more about this on my previous post).

In spite of all of that – the weaving was Fabulous!! The women were so excited to be able to try out weaving on the SAORI loom. There was always someone waiting to weave and a couple of women who would weave every chance they had. I heard wonderful comments like “I could do this all day” “I think we should have a loom here at the centre so we can keep weaving and put banners up all around the centre” “I just realized I haven’t been thinking about my work problems at all!” and so on. Each banner ended up being about 8 – 9 feet long.

I also provided little looms made of foamcore for the women to sit and weave to make things for themselves. They were so creative and many of them made things for gifts for others. They made bracelets, arm bands, chokers, keychains, watch bands and had many ideas for more. Anyone who wanted to could keep one of the looms (one piece of foamcore made about 10-12 looms and cost only $2…..I also provided a tapestry needle and the yarns). I wanted to have something that they could continue weaving with after I left.

They asked when I was coming back. I was very moved by the whole experience!

I couldn’t take pictures in the centre to keep the confidentiality of the women there, but I sure have some wonderful memories that I took with me!

Happy Weaving!

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Water water everywhere – and none to drink!

I am really aware of the water problems after being in Vancouver over the weekend at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre doing a weaving project (more on that in the next post). It is really difficult for the homeless or those living in poverty at the best of times. Now with no clean water and no place to boil water….even more difficult. Luckily on Sunday, the Salvation Army (along with other places) were giving out water to people who needed it. And places like the Women’s Centre are able to provide lunches, etc.

The women are currently occupying the Centre in protest of the lack of funding for affordable housing and for safe shelters for women. (see the CBC News Item). After meeting and talking with many of the women, I realize how difficult it really is for them. At 5:00 pm when the Centre closes, many of them have nowhere to go.

We need solutions! The estimates are for about $500,000 a year to operate the shelter 24 hours a day. This is only a temporary solution, but it would at least give the women a safe place to stay at night. Victoria is providing over $8 million to upgrade their parkades, partly because of homeless people sleeping there (see Victoria Times Colonist item) – how about spending some of that to give them a safe place to sleep??

On art and activism – Artivists – Films to change the world

Artivists.org – “Merging Art and Activism for Global Consciousness”

Artivist honors filmmakers from around the world whose work addresses the importance of art and activism in our global community. (Thanks to my son for bringing this to my attention through a post from www.worldchanging.com)

On Salt Spring Island, we have our own Film Festival as well. This year it will be held the weekend of March 2, 3 & 4, 2007. See the website at www.saltspringmediagroup.com. Of course I have a special interest in this as we also do documentary filmmaking.

I just heard the other day about a new educational institute that is starting up for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands which “aims to link art and survival through interdisciplinary approaches and to foster creative solutions to environmental and social problems”. You can read more about it at Islands Institute.

Changing the world through art of many kinds….things to touch the heart and bring positive changes to our world….anyone else with stories of art to change the world?

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Peace Weaving

This past summer I went to the World Peace Forum with my SAORI loom, a rainbow warp and facilitated the Weaving of a Peace Banner. Over 100 people from all over the world contributed to weaving peace.

It was an amazing experience for me. A chance to share my love of weaving and my hopes, wishes, dreams and prayers of Peace with many others. In SAORI weaving there are no mistakes, each weaving is an expression of the individual and so I thought that the weaving by a community of people would be an expression of that community. So the idea for a Peace Banner was born.

I love the quote from SAORI Worcester:
“The SAORI way is to weave friendships as we weave fabric. SAORI bridges differences between people, and celebrates both our variety and our common humanity.”

The Peace Banner is now at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre in Vancouver, BC where they have it on display in their drop-in centre.