stories from my red thread life

Healing from tragedy: quilters create the Toronto LOVE Project

The deadly van attack on pedestrians that took place in Toronto on April 23 left Torontonians in a state of shock and sadness. In this relatively safe and friendly city, any act of hate shakes us. In the days that followed, many people wondered what they could do. Some people attended vigils, expressing support for the victims and outrage at the perpetrator. Berene Campbell got to work. Berene, a designer and quilter, has a large following in the sewing community, and she called upon caring quiltmakers to help create a work of art that would express hope, positivity, and unity in the face of this tragedy. She teamed up with the organization North York Arts and secured a bright, central space at the North York Centre, at the heart of the community where the attack happened. Today, June 25, 2018, the installation was unveiled. It consists of 71 banners, each one four inches wide and 22 feet long. They were created by people across Canada, the United States and Australia. Some came from quilt guilds such as the Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver Modern Quilt Guilds, while others came from individuals. Another group of eight banners on display was made by [...]

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Much Ado about Colour

Last night my sister came to me with a mission: she’s taking a quilting class and wanted to select nine harmonious fabrics to use in her first quilt. Because I own a vast amount of printed cotton fabric, she expected this task to be easy. It wasn’t! As she pulled out bolt after bolt and ruminated over multiple possible combinations, I started to think about what makes a colour or a print pleasing to one person and ugly to another. I spend a lot of time making decisions about colour and scale and pattern, but it was interesting to watch somebody else engaged in this process. We all know what we like when we see it – something in our brain just clicks. We live surrounded by visual stimuli and are constantly judging what we like and dislike from a multitude of choices. But I wonder how much of this is subjective, a reflection of our personal or cultural associations and biases, and how much is attributable to science. A recent (2010) study at UC Berkeley by a team of psychologists devoted to the study of colour perception and aesthetics, postulated a new theory of colour preference. “Ecological Valance Theory” [...]

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