Youth Tapestry of Place

Fall 2020 Showcase

This Fall, six amazing youth participated in our Youth Tapestry of Place program. For eight weeks, we worked together to create eco-art projects, practice storytelling, and engage in self discovery and expression. Together, we thought about the following questions: How did we come to be here? What is our connection to the land? What does home mean to each of us? We invite you to reflect on these questions through the sharing of our digital showcase.

We are grateful to have been meeting and working together, in person, on the unceded and traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations. During our first workshop, Senaqwila talked to us about her own Indigenous history, based in this area. She encouraged us to think about why we make land acknowledgements and how we can practice them. Acknowledging the land can show up in our daily lives. We can actively develop relationships to the land by observing the plants, animals, and seasons around us. We can examine our own relationships to place by learning about our personal histories. We can continue to learn about the traditional territories in which we reside.

Still Moon would like to thank and congratulate all six youth for completing this program and contributing their time, thoughtful reflections and artistic talent to our Tapestry of Place. We hope each participant learned something about themselves, built new skills and created friendships through this program.

We would also like to thank the artists and facilitators for taking the time to lead our workshops and share their knowledge with us.

Featuring Work By:

Adalia

Ash

Emily

Glorielle

Lina

Willow

Visiting Artists and Facilitators:

Senaqwila Wyss

Rosemary Hu

Nathaniel Marchand

Madelyn Read

Mendel Skulski

Ink Making

Nathaniel Marchand taught us how to make natural inks using blackberry and red cabbage. Together, we prepared and simmered red cabbage and carefully pressed blackberries to extract the colours from the leaves and berries. We each made 2 small dropper bottles of ink in different shades of purple. Nathaniel brought a collection of his own handmade inks in a variety of different colours for us to experiment with. The watercolour pieces featured here are a mix of the inks we made and Nathaniel’s inks. Next to each piece is a corresponding ingredients list of the inks used.

Bundle Dyeing

Using pre-mordanted cotton, we created bundle dyes with a range of plants collected from the Renfrew Ravine area, Still Moon’s Colour Me Local Dye Garden and from around our homes including: maple leaves, oak leaves, cedar branches, orange peels, onion skins, elderberry leaves, St. John’s wort and calendula flowers. We tightly bundled our fabric around a stick and steamed each bundle. The resulting colours, outlines and shapes on our fabric are direct imprints from the environment around us.

Ivy Weaving

These baskets were woven from English ivy that was harvested from Renfrew Ravine. English ivy is an invasive species that was introduced to North America during colonization. It grows all year round, covering the forest floor of the Ravine and climbing up the trees. In the first week of our program Senaqwila asked us to imagine what this area would have looked like before colonization. English ivy would not have been found. This is a reminder that even the plants and animals that exist now might have been different a few hundred years ago. Here, we have used the ivy to create a useful object. Each basket has its own shape and design. Weaving was calming and enjoyable. Once we were in the pattern of ‘over, under, over, under,’ it was hard to stop!

Comics

With Rosemary Hu, we reflected on how we each came to be living here, right now, through writing and drawing exercises. These comics are explorations of our ancestral history – how we might relate to place through family. We talked about how family may also be found in friends, animals and the land. Everyone had different, unique stories to share; from thinking about traditional foods to memories of going to the temple. One of these comics gained a few rain drops on its way!

Sounds

We spent 3 weeks working with sound with Madelyn Read and Mendel Skulski. Sound is around us all the time. With Madelyn, we talked about different types of sound. Sound can be noise or music. It could come from nature or from human-made environments and technologies. Sound allows us to situate ourselves by signifying what is close to us and what is far away. With Mendel we worked with sound editing software to experiment with editing audio clips. We learned how to cut clips, create fades, and layer different sounds on top of each other. Our collected sounds include sounds found at home, sounds that might go with the themes of our comics, and music. What everyday sounds reflect a meaning of place to you?

Participant Reflections

Adalia

I learned a lot the last few weeks from learning how to make dye from plants to learning how to make music. I loved learning all the creative arts we got to do, it was very exciting and everyone was very friendly and no judgement from anyone! Learning new things that we got to learn was interesting and I would definitely do it again! I’m very glad that I got to meet new people and come up with ideas together.” 

Glorielle

Reflection of time in the program: got me out of bed today when I’ve been feeling stuck for days due to depression and for that I am grateful. I am grateful for the opportunity to make art and socialize with others in-person. I live alone, so any bit of socialization I get is a blessing!

Thoughts on home: Home doesn’t necessarily need to be a place for me. Lately it has been people. Feelings. Home can be anywhere – anywhere where I feel loved. Belonging. Accepted.

What it means to live here for me: my healing is dependent on being able to connect with the elders of this land. To be able to stand and protest the land for the people who were here first and for many generations to come.”

Ash

“Place is about so much. Finding places of comfort and stepping out of your boundaries, finding your place in art, in sound and in people are all important for us to take into account. It’s also important to find place in location. As we live, work, learn, play and create we must remember whose land we’re originally standing on. The unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleih-Wathuth and other Coast Salish peoples. As a white person, I had to remember to step back and listen to others’ lived experiences, and what they consider to be their “place” or home. I also learned about how Indigenous peoples of this land used and still use both the native and non-native plants around here, and got to try it myself. With these plants, we did painting with ink (we made some of our own and got to try some of Nathaniel’s and we wove baskets from ivy vines) and did bundle dyeing fabric.

It was an interesting experience, and it was fun to try arts and ways of thinking that I never had before, and might not have tried on my own. I also learned that though trying these new things were fun, and a good learning experience, my skills and comfort lay in textile work, like the weaving with ivy that we did.

Perhaps that most challenging topic for me was when we wrote comics about what home means to us. I had been hearing others in the group share their feelings of belonging with their families, cultures, and I started feeling like (though I have a wonderful family) I don’t have a culture. I took my comic home and spoke with my family about this feeling. My mum reminded me of something that shouldn’t have shocked me as much as it did. “Our culture is the norm. You don’t think you have a culture because it’s not different from other people.” And I realized she was right. White culture is what we live in every day. We get days off for Christmas and Easter, our food is found everywhere, and even simple knowledge of how to bake a cake or bake bread in the “basic” or “normal” way are examples of white culture being the norm. And it was so silly to me just how oblivious I’ve been to this my whole life. So I’m glad I got the change to open that door!

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