Thursday, October 08, 2009

Peace Banner Presentation

Today was a special day. The Boundary Spinner and Weaver Guild and I, presented the Peace Banner to the Grand Forks Art Gallery to be part of their permanent collection.

This is The International Year of Natural Fiber as well as International Spinning and Weaving week, and the perfect occasion for presenting this peace banner to the Art Gallery for their permanent Collection. “The crafts of spinning, weaving, dyeing, and basketweaving are as ancient
as our history. They are the threads that bind us to our ancestors and to each other. Our
crafts know no national boundary. They are a part of the heritage of the world.”

First some back ground on the Peace Banner. It was conceived by the guild as an
expression of the yearning for peace and a permanent legacy to honor the International
Year of Natural Fiber.

Our Peace Banner draws on the genre of the handwoven rag rug – a tradition in many
cultures that have made Canada their homeland. In its essence it uses rags – strips of
used, recycled fabric and clothing and remakes it into something beautiful and useful
once again. The strips were woven as a tapestry, meant to hang on the wall. The final
banner is 32 inches wide by 34 feet long. The Peace Banner is designed to hang

It was a cooperative art venture and drew on the cooperation of many.

The floor loom for the weaving was donated for the project, by Joybilee Farm and it had
a place of honor for 7 months in the Grand Forks Heritage Centre, inviting visitors from all over the world to weave a rag strip or two, in cooperation with many others, to create a work of
art, and a tapestry of peace. It was a meaningful experience for many, as they shared in
the work of creating the Peace Banner.

We appreciate Sue Adrian’s cooperation in the facilitating of the project. Sue and her
volunteers opened the Heritage Centre on Sundays to allow Sunday School classes access
to the loom and encouraged school classes to add their own creativity to the project.

Many visitors from around the world: Holland, England, Wales, Belgium, Germany,
Japan, Korea, Mexico, Ecuador, Australia, New Zealand and all parts of Canada and the
USA, participated in the weaving. This project was mentioned in “The Bulletin”, the
periodical of the Guild of Canadian Weavers, as well as “The Island Shuttle”, a
newsletter out of Victoria. As well as the Grand Forks Gazette, The Weekender, and
several online blogs.

The rag strips were donated by the Boundary Spinner and Weaver Guild, CABA’s
Quilting, and Heart and Sole Quilts, as well as several individuals. Guild members,
Mary, Ailsa and Ramona prepared the rag strips and ensured the rag basket was kept full
for the 7 month duration of the project.

Dressing the loom was a cooperative effort with the participation of all guild members and culminated on March 15th with the opening of the Guild’s Gallery Show, “Our Daily Thread”.

The public was invited to weave. People were free to weave their creativity into the
Peace Banner, since it is through individual actions that a lasting peace can be achieved.
You will see many different colours and techniques from single strips, to braided strips to
giordes knots in the banner. Many people wrote proverbs, quotes, or prayers on the strips
before weaving them into the tapestry.

There was a log book beside the loom for participants to write their thoughts while they
wove. Some of the thoughts related to the experience of weaving for the first time.
Others were related to hopes for peace. Many simply recorded their name and where
they were from. There were entries from all over the world, from seniors, middle age,
young adults and children. Entire families shared the creative experience as well as
school classes and friends.

Some of the comments:
"As each weft is woven into the loom we will create a tapestry of peace, just as individual
actions of justice and mercy build together a culture of peace and life"

“we are the makers of peace - look inside your own heart!"

"Woven with love and a promise of peace"

"peace in the name of our Lord Jesus"

“I never knew weaving could be so fun”

And from some of our younger artists:

"the rug is cool"

"luv pulling the beater"

The Peace Banner was on display for the first time on International Peace Day at the
Boundary Peace Initiative ceremony. We hope its display will inspire others to work in
cooperation and creativity, to create art, to weave peace into the fabric of their lives.

We dropped the banner from the railing on the second floor of the Grand Forks Art Gallery today, as part of the presentation. It was astounding how beautiful the banner was and what a meaningful experience it was to share in the weaving.

It will soon be on display at the Grand Forks Art Gallery, and other venues are waiting in line for their turn to display it.

"Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God."

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