October 13, 2023 - March 3, 2024
Radical Stitch looks at the contemporary and transformative context of beading through the aesthetic innovations of artists and the tactile beauty of beads. Beading materials and techniques are rooted in both culturally informed traditions and cultural adaptation, and function as a place of encounter, knowledge transfer, and acts of resistance. Connecting to a tradition of making, exercised over thousands of years, this skill-based practice ties one artist to another, past to present and beyond.
January 9, 2024 - March 3, 2024
Some of these beaded wall pockets are more than one hundred years old. Dating to the 1920-40s they are some of the oldest works in our Permanent Collection. Beaded wall pockets are decorative objects dating to the Victorian era that were made to store household items and keepsakes. Today, various styles of new and vintage wall pockets hang in kitchens and living rooms to store everyday objects (in fact, they are a perfect size for an iPhone). Research into this collection of handcrafted wall pockets suggests that the material and design is typical of northern Cree as well as Swampy Cree. Each pocket is beautifully detailed with floral motifs and other designs prominent in Cree and Ojibway beadwork such as circles, potentially representing berries or buds, flowing white line work, or vines, and colourful ribbons. Each holds the creative voice, stiches, and style of its maker. It is unfortunate we don’t yet have the names of the artists who beaded these pieces or cannot trace their exact provenance, but it believed these wall pockets came from bead artists who lived near York Factory, an isolated Hudson’s Bay trading post in northern Manitoba/Treaty 5, or Moose Factory, Ontario/Treaty 9.