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March 14, 2017

Looking Back at the Family Day Weekend

Family Day 2017 with ArtStarts and MOA

Last month, we celebrated the Family Day Weekend along with our friends at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA). We wanted to take a moment to look back at the weekend, as it was a special time to connect with families and friends, both new and old, and bond as we discovered creative experiences together.

On Saturday, February 11, we hosted a workshop called The Magic of Making Cloth at the ArtStarts Gallery, facilitated by artist Rebecca Graham. The workshop invited participants of all ages to discover materials and ancient technologies related to making cloth, and try some out for themselves.

Rebecca's workshop included:

  • a drum carder and hand carders to prepare local wool for the spinning process
  • a spinning wheel and drop spindles for people to try spinning their prepared wool
  • vertical and a horizontal looms
  • a station where workshop participants wove recycled fabrics

In the Gallery, visitors also explored:

  • a map of the world where people could identify and consider where the clothing they were wearing was made
  • thought-provoking questions throughout the gallery that asked people how was their clothing made, who made it, where it came from, etc

  • a table full of fibre samples from locally harvested and hand-processed fibres such as cedar bark, stinging nettle, cattail, seagrass, corn husks and linen
  • a wall display with a collection of animal and plant fibre samples including sisal, jute, yak, camel, silk, angora and wool

  • a community loom outside where pedestrians stopped to weave

  • a special MOA table showcasing their teaching kit, My Ancestors Are Still Dancing, which highlights Chilkat weaving, Tsimshian history and weaver William White, facilitated by Pilar Wong Navabi, MOA's Manager of Programs and Outreach, and Gwilyn Timmers, MOA's Public Services Manager.

Along with artist Rebecca Graham's insights and guidance, we were fortunate to also have a group of talented young people present who acted as mentors and instructors, showing people how to spin, weave and card wool. Thanks to Waldorf School students Chloe, Navé, Georgia and Berkana! Artists Sharon Kallis and Anna Knowlson also joined in and instructed people on how to use the spinning wheel. Rebecca spoke about the importance of connecting children with nature and how her practice invites people to do that.

ArtStarts Gallery Manager and Curator Juliana Bedoya spoke about the importance of cloth and how it is with us from birth to death. She also reflected on how ancestral cultures have made textiles out of available materials from their local surroundings, but now we are experiencing some disconnection, as we no longer know where materials come from or even who makes the clothing we wear.

The following day, we continued the Family Day Weekend fun at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA). It was a day of dance, music, culture and family fun! The event was set to work within the context of the museum's current exhibition, Layers of Influence: Unfolding Cloth Across Cultures, as well as its' upcoming exhibition, Amazonia: The Rights of Nature.

As families came filtering through the MOA's entrance, they were greeted by friendly faces at the ArtStarts booth. Here, they learned about different weaving materials and had the opportunity to try weaving themselves in our standing loom. While the loom gradually filled up with colourful fabric, people from all ages were invited to attend the workshop for MOA members.

First, Axé Capoeira led a workshop where participants could learn about the history and culture behind the fascinating art form of capoeira — a traditional Brazilian martial art that incorporates elements of dance, music and acrobatics. After busting a few moves with Professor Ossoduro, it was time to sit back and enjoy the show. People learned the historical context, the basic principles of capoeira and tried some kicks and moves.

After the hour-long workshop, the sounds of drums, berimbaus and other traditional instruments from Brazil resounded to invite people to join a public performance in the main hall of the museum. What a spectacular setting for this performance!

Photo by Hisham Zerriffi

A growing crowd of 300 watched in awe as the members of Axé Capoeira danced, sang and played musical instruments native to Brazil and Africa. The colours, sounds and energy of capoeira came together in the shining light of the great hall to create an unforgettable show. An especially memorable number featured the moves of each member of Axé Capoeira — dancers from the age of 4 to the adult professionals wowed the audience. Experience in capoeira ranged from 11 months to 24 years! Finally, at the end of the show, Grandma Ossoduro was invited to come up and dance too: a perfect end to Family Day Weekend!

Photo by Hisham Zerriffi

Photo by Hisham Zerriffi

Photo by Hisham Zerriffi

As families walked away and went home that day, kids and adults alike were dreaming of flips, cartwheels and latin-flavoured martial arts!

Special thanks to photographer Hisham Zerriffi for capturing some wonderful shots of Axé Capoeira at MOA!

More Photo Fun!

Check out lots more pics from both events on Facebook.

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