Skeins: Weaving on the Foreshore

The Blue Cabin has always occupied a position on the landscape that highlighted the edges of the built environment – spaces on the foreshore that were, for many reasons, outside the realm of what was generally understood to be ‘the city’. A vision of the residency has always been to provide a residency that circulates on the water, and encourages a vantage point that allows artists and the public to appreciate the many complex histories that make up this region. Our first priority has been to acknowledge and pay respect to the Coast Salish peoples, and the thousands of years they have lived on and cared for the lands and waters that are now referred to as the Lower Mainland. It is important for us to begin as we mean to continue – in conversation with colleagues whose practices tell stories that come from a fundamental connection to this place. 

As expressed by master weaver Buddy George, weaving can be the catalyst that entwines language, storytelling, tradition and ceremony through the actions of gathering, preparing, creating, gifting, and using. Weaving can enact or bring something into being that serves functional purposes beyond that of a well crafted object. As a foundational practice, the woven object can operate in numerous ways that include honouring and affirming positions of families and individuals, documenting history and constitutions, and conveying knowledge about the lands of which Indigenous people are caretakers. As both practice and metaphor, weaving provides a ground for exploration into the stories of this region, and provides a jumping off point for programs that address relations and histories that are complex and intertwined. Likewise, the idea of “the weave” addresses our desire to bring together multiple communities and publics in the expression of the program. 

As the inaugural program for the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency, Skeins: Weaving on the Foreshore is a celebration of Coast Salish weaving practices that have developed in these territories since time immemorial. As such, it is anchored by the participation of weavers from the three local nations: Debra Sparrow from Musqueam, Janice George and Buddy Joseph of Squamish, and Angela George from Squamish/ Tsleil-Waututh. Skeins also includes a residency with Australian Indigenous artist and activist Vicki Couzens (Gunditjmara) produced in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts. Rooted in the local, and spanning the international, these artists bring a long history of cultural, ceremonial and community involvement, organizing and reclaiming, aesthetics and activism.

See a PDF of the Skeins program here.

Debra Sparrow
Buddy Joseph & Janice George
Angela George
Vicki Couzens