Weaving words 1996-97



to weave but webs to catch the wind

Text as textile: How can we interweave truth and lies; what kind of materials and pattern will represent truth? Will it be transparent or golden, black or white?

to spin a tale

Some texts, based on popular figures of speech about textile activities, will be familiar, others will yet become so in the future.

to weave a web of lies and truths

There is a long tradition between weaving and the telling of tales, particularly when women work together. Fairy Tales evolved in places reserved for communal spinning, thus explaining some of tales about poor girls catching rich princes through their spinning

to unravel history

Weaving as a woman's voice has several important roots. Philomela who had her tongue cut out by the man who raped her, wove her story into a cloak; it reached its destiny as a secret woven language, deciphered only by her sister.

to stitch down a dream

My mother often has appropriate sayings for important events, and I find the difference between the trite and the profound to be a very narrow line, divided only by a fine thread

Ruth Scheuing, November 1997

Artist statement for CABC Anniversary Exhibition


This early Greek period interests me for the ways it reflects changing attitudes towards women through stories about of their work as weavers, from primordial Goddesses, who as spinners create life, to the Fates, feared for their powers to spin, measure and cut the 'thread of life', to Penelope, who has to lie about her task. Ovid's 'Metamorphoses' is my source for these stories from Greek mythology and I like his accounts that describe them clearly as acts of deceptions and cheating.

The human Arachne challenged the goddess Athena to a weaving competition and they each completed a tapestry with specific narratives. Athena, as a warning, depicted the power of Gods and Goddesses over humans and showed how humans were punished for forgetting this. Arachne depicted 21 instances of 'deceptive seductions' or rapes, deeds done by the olympian gods to mortal and immortal women.

When Athena saw this, she was so angry that she tore the tapestry apart. Arachne, in her sorrow, tried to hang herself and Athena, now regretting her rash act changed her into a spider, an older and self-generating weaver, but silencing the woman

This 'Arachne's Tapestry' is a reweaving of the original work. It is part of a continuous series of works, which started with Penelope.

 Special thanks to Mark Patch, for producing the soundtrack, the Banff Centre and to the Canada Council for financial support

Hand-woven computer assisted weaving, cotton, weaving 18" x 31' + a sound track produced with composer Marc Patch at the Banff Centre with voices of Janis Bowley and Sandy Vida, based on Arachne's story and played on a tape player with 30' head phones

- printed brochures in English and Polish; 1995

To Embroider (On) Truth
To Spin A Tale
To Sew Up A Deal
To Stitch Down A Dream
To Unravel History
To Weave Up A Storm
To Interweave the Threads of A Story
To Tie Up Traffic
To Crochet in Cyberspace
To Mend The Social Safety net
To Weave The Fabric Of Like
To Weave A Web Of Intrigue
To Interweave Practice and Theory
To Entangle The Fabric Of Knowledge
To Weave But Webs To Catch The Wind
To Follow A Thread
To Cut The Thread Of Life
To Weave An electronic Web