Artist-in-Residence Dalhousie Medical Humanities HEALS Program Fall 2013

In the fall of 2013 Anke Fox facilitated the creation of a medical community tapestry as part of the Dalhousie University Humanities-HEALS Artist-in-Residence Program. As an artist and weaver Anke welcomed the opportunity to work with medical students, staff and faculty on this tapestry project and feels that the project created valuable experiences for all

participants.

Tapestry is a very old form of woven textile and the principle means of creating images through

weaving. It has been an important medium of artistic expression throughout history; almost every

culture includes tapestry among their weaving techniques. Tapestry is loved for its beauty, strength and

versatility. the medical students involved in the project were given the wonderful opportunity to learn about an ancient craft, to express themselves artistically and to acquire a new skill. Tapestry is very tactile and an ideal medium to explore the interplay of colour, texture and shape. It represents a very timeconsuming

process which stands in strong contrast to the fast pace of our daily lives.

Activities:

The project started out working on simple frame looms to teach the basic techniques. Using a variety of different yarns participants explored colour and texture by weaving small samples of their own design.

A larger tapestry loom was set up to then weave a communal piece. The contribution by all members

of the medical community was an important aspect of the project. The final piece holds the skill,

time and energy of people working together. Tapestry is very suitable to community projects since it

accommodates various levels of skill. Traditionally tapestries were made in large guild workshops. The

many different hands add richness to the texture of the work.

The design of the piece was as well a communal effort.

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