Monday, February 17, 2014

A Honeycomb Quilt for Hives for Humanity

Jen Hiebert and her knitting circle are creating a hexagonal quilt as a fundraiser for Hives for Humanity. I met her during her lunch break at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in a gallery that has been transformed into a workshop and hang-out for textile nerds. It's the brainchild of artist Lexie Owen called The Textiles Institute. When I heard Jen's group was making a honeycomb quilt, of course I immediately thought of the old fashioned British paper piecing method of quilting, but I was mistaken. The knitters are making honeycombs from remnants of sock-weight yarn. Each piece is stuffed individually before they are stitched together to make a very funky and cosy quilt which will be auctioned off for the non-profit organization that gives people the healing benefits of working with honeybees. The pattern for the quilt was purchased from the Ravelry website, and if the group can't knit honeycomb quickly enough to meet their deadline they might put out the call for some helpers.

Jen was inspired to become a textile artist by her grandmother who taught her crocheting and cross stitch. She was lucky enough to study textiles in high school and then Capilano College. Jen creates tapestry and garments. She works in the Soft Shop at Emily Carr, a sewing room open to all students so that they can integrate techniques and materials into their work across disciplines. (There is a design class currently working on outdoor gear.) The Soft Shop houses industrial sewing machines, sergers, and a floor loom.

I also met Louise Perrone in the gallery, a accomplished jewelry artist who also happened to be working on a project involving a honeycomb pattern. She was making a necklace out of interlocking hexagons formed by stitching pieces of reclaimed satin using traditional quilting techniques. Quilting is so hot right now! She asked me where to buy beeswax (Welk's and The Honey Shoppe on Main Street). Louise plans to make little wax forms (like the star above) which needleworkers use to wax their thread so it is less likely to catch, twist, tear, or knot.

As Louise stitched and Jen knitted we did what all good slow fashionistas do; we had a lively discussion about the politics and culture of fast fashion and tried to unpack questions we had around the entangled threads that bind class, capitalism and fashion. All in a day's lunch!

Hives for Humanity is a non profit organization that enhances community through apiculture. Through mentorship based programming we create flexible opportunities for people to engage in the therapeutic culture that surrounds the bee hive; we foster connectivity to nature and to each other; we participate in local sustainable economies; and we do so with respect and joy.



No comments:

Post a Comment