Tag Archives: re-purposing

Joined By Thread

Title

“Joined by Thread” is a ten minute film that follows a group of women who work together to create a wedding dress from two older dresses. Ashleigh, the bride to be, her mother Lynda and her future mother-in-law Rose, meet with environmental artist Sharon Kallis, who helps them to see the beauty in reclaimed fabric, the history imbedded in our clothing, and to avoid the crass and wasteful “Wedding Industry” that promotes an unsustainable, consumer lifestyle.

Cuttinga

Rose Burden, Ashleigh Wallace, Lynda Wallace, Willow Spindler

I was fortunate to have another opportunity to work with my friend and frequent collaborator Sharon Kallis, in a realm I had little knowledge of: weddings, and in particular, the wedding dress. In much of contemporary western culture, the wedding ritual has become commercialized to the point that meaning has been stripped away from many of the most beautiful moments and replaced with a pumped-up orgy of expense, competition, and waste. In this case, the humble act of sewing and the sharing of family history through fabric reveals a richness that has no price tag.

Ashleigh Wallace and Sharon Kallis

Ashleigh Wallace and Sharon Kallis

It was a challenge and an invaluable learning experience to shoot solo in a very confined space where events unfolded quickly and unexpectedly. I am in debt to all of the participants who were so generous and open in sharing a very intimate and emotional moment on camera.

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Urban Weaver Project

In recent months, I have made several shorts which document the Urban Weaver Project, a group dedicated to finding uses for invasive plants as replacements for traditional weaving materials. Based in the Strathcona neighbourhood of Vancouver near where I live, the group has transformed the McLean Park Fieldhouse into a studio/research facility/community meeting place.

Shooting Joy at Lost Lagoon iris pull

Urban Weaver works in conjunction with the Stanley Park Ecology Society and has focused on three invasive plants that have become established in the park: Himalayan Blackberry, Yellow Flag Iris and English Ivy.

Working closely with environmental artist Sharon Kallis, I have learned not only about the threat of invasive plants, but of their potential to bring people together to share skills, artistic vision and a sense of community. Learning about weaving, fiber production and the historical significance these technologies have had in different cultures has been eye-opening, particularly in light of the global monstrosity the clothing/fashion industry has become.

Sharon harvests Himalayan Blackberry

Blackberry weaving by Joy Witsche