In the fall of 2010 I began an eight month documentary film program at Capilano University, after having spent a year traveling. I have been involved in the visual arts for my entire adult life, as a painter, photographer and educator and had made several short films, but this was the point when I decided to seriously start a new career as a film maker.
During my first term at Capilano, I made a five minute film entitled “Threads” which looks at spinning and weaving, and touches on larger ideas that come from the history of cloth production. I had been inspired by a visit to a weaving school in Cambodia, where young people are taught to raise silkworms and produce finished silk items as a way of bringing skills and employment to a country still suffering from the effects of war and genocide.
I was assisted greatly by Capilano faculty members Anthea Mallinson and Ruth Scheuing, who I interviewed for the film, as well as several students studying in the Textiles program. It was also an early opportunity to work with classmates Marina Dodis, Derrick Daniels, and Bernardo Rodriguez as part of my crew, and Jack Silberman as my knowledgeable and supportive faculty mentor.
The contemporary use ancient technologies, as a way of bringing hand-based skills back into everyday life and community are of great interest to me and have helped direct much of my activities over the last year. The growing interest in urban farming, locally made clothes, and the culture of DIY over rampant consumerism are a small sign of choices being made by ordinary people, living in times of great change.