Monday, October 2, 2017

Fibre Art Network Retreat 2017 - Lac Le Jeune

Way up the Coquihalla Highway, almost as far as Kamloops, is Lac Le Jeune. This gem of a place was the location for this year's Fibre Art Network annual retreat. Forty-four of us arrived at the well-appointed cabins on Wednesday of last week, and left again on Sunday, having made new friends and become reacquainted with old friends, and having shared our creative journeys with one another and talked textile art and visited galleries and discussed where we go next as an organization committed to promoting fibre art and each other as artists.
The trees and the colours and the light are all different at this elevation, from what we see at the coast. And we had time between various presentations to feast our eyes on it all. But what I enjoyed most of all, what stimulated me beyond belief, was seeing what art this group of creative individuals is making. I was blown away by the different techniques that were used and the subject matter of the works, and the adventurous spirit in which each person is pushing the textile art form in new directions.
We had the opportunity to visit two separate FAN exhibits - one in Merritt and one in Kamloops. The first was called Ekphrastic, and gave each of us who entered the opportunity to respond to a poem by a Canadian poet. The interpretations were so diverse, so interesting.
Here, Bonnie Rozander and Janet Harper are having a closer look at the piece by Terry Phillips. "Just how did she manage to do that", they're wondering. 
The artists here are Leah Gravells and Sara Judith, each of them responding to the same poem.
Linda and Judy take time to discuss their own current work. The retreat was such a great time of connecting with like-minded people. Other women whose lives are taken up with expressing who they are and what they make of this crazy world through the medium of textiles.
We're a motley group, many of us non-conformists who have balked at the prescribed roles for women of our generation, and who boldly keep on making the work that speaks of who we are and 
what we know of the world, and think to ourselves, "damn the torpedoes". It is an honour to belong to such a group.
By the time I came home yesterday, I was full to bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. I couldn't wait to get back to my studio, to keep on making my art. One spends much time on one's own as an artist - a necessary thing - but how good it is to gather with like-minded crazies on a regular basis, to get into a conversation with someone and realize that they too are compelled to create.
Yesterday we said goodbye to one another, but the nuggets of wisdom and vision we were given during the last four days will remain with us for a good long time to come. I'm writing it all down as fast as I can, before the memories leave me.


  1. Good for you, Pippa, jumping right into blogging about the retreat! I just got home this afternoon and haven't yet even got my photos out of the camera and onto the computer. Wasn't it a great time? I read your post from last week too and I love your scrap bag and what you've begun to do with its contents. I'm determined to get into my studio tomorrow despite other commitments this week

    1. It was a wonderful retreat - so affirming. Did you manage to get into your studio, Anne? I've begun work on my 5th collage, loosely titled "What does it mean to be rich?" I keep thinking about your "giving context" to your work, and how successfully you manage that in your work. I want to work on that.

  2. I enjoy reading your beautifully crafted words Pippa After a FAN retreat I feel like I'm capable of reaching the highest artistic peak. I'm so blessed to be accompanied on the journey by you and other FAN members.

    1. I came away with that feeling too Jaynie. You have reached such heights yourself - having a piece accepted into a SAQA exhibit is still a goal for me - and I look forward where you go with your new work.