Dorothy Caldwell opens the 2015 Maiwa Symposium

by - Friday, September 11, 2015

Dorothy Caldwell working with red ochres in Australia.

Last night Canadian artist Dorothy Caldwell opened the Maiwa Textile Symposium with her lecture "In Place." The title of her lecture is taken from one of her large scale textile works, however it could equally well describe her method of working which is deeply tied to a sense of creating a personal cartography.

Here is Tim McLaughlin's introduction to the lecture:

What if you were trying to draw a map that had nothing to do with landscape?

Where would you start? Perhaps you would start with some material that you had an affection for. A surface that seemed inviting, a field of possibility. A space that was not so much a space as an invitation.

Where might you go to get what you needed to make a map that had nothing to do with landscape? Perhaps you would travel through the place where you live and inventory the natural world. Become – only for the purposes of making a map – someone who recorded the colours and textures of place. Perhaps you would look for something else – the psychic territory. But how would you represent this? And what would your map look like?

A map is a picture we use in a certain way. Think of this: all maps are drawn but not all drawings are maps.  And this might lead you to think that the idea of a map is an idea that has great power. To call something a map is to place it in a category of things that lead us to some truth. All maps have the power to lead us to a place that might not be the place we expected.

I am pleased to introduce you tonight to a gifted cartographer.

Doroth Caldwell works out of her studio in Hastings Ontario. She travels internationally to find the inspiration for her work. Journeys include India, Japan and a number of visits to Australia where she travelled with India Flint. Dorothy has been recognized by the Bronfman Award, given to one Canadian artist each year. Over her long artistic career she has garnered much well deserved praise. I encourage you to visit her website at

Please join me in welcoming Dorothy Caldwell.

A collection of found objects arranged in the Canadian Arctic.
Dorothy introduced the audience to a history of her work from her early days moving to Hastings, Ontario, to her recent exhibition Silent Ice | Deep Patience which is touring Canada. It was an evocative lecture for everyone, but it had especially deep meanings for many of the textile artists in the audience.

For those who could not attend last night's lecture, a sense of Drorthy's talk is contained in this short interview produced by Media Arts Peterborough. (note: if you are reading this post in your email you may have to open it in a web browser to load the video.):

As part of Dorothy's touring exhibition Silent Ice | Deep Patience a full-colour 62 page catalogue has been produced. It includes essays on Dorothy's work by Anne West and Robin Metcalfe. The catalogue may be ordered directly from the Art Gallery of Peterborough by following the link.


Tonight (Friday September 11) is the opening of "Selected Innovations - The Inspiring Legacy of Junichi Arai and Nuno" at the Silk Weaving Studio on Granville Island (6 - 8pm). There is no charge for this event. The show will run until September 24, 2015.

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