REVIEW: Threads That Do Not Break

by - Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Sky Blanket, detail. Rolf Bettner photo, courtesy Haida Heritage Center at Kaay Llangaay.

On September 19th The Maiwa School of Textiles was proud to present a lecture by Meghann O'Brien titled: Threads That Do Not Break. Meghann is a textile artist working in a variety of materials and media including weaving and basketry. In her lecture she presented a thoughtful and considered exploration of her relationship to her materials, the act of creating, and her heritage. The videos presented during Meghann's lecture, as well as links to her works may be found on her website:

The evening was introduced by Tim McLaughlin.

Threads That Will Not Break. 

I’d like to begin by recognizing that the modern city of Vancouver was founded on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations and that these territories were never ceded through treaty. 

This evening we have the pleasure of welcoming Meghann O’Brien to lecture. 

I think it may be safe to say that few artists exist in as many worlds simultaneously as does Meghann O’Brian. She grew up in Alert Bay, off northern Vancouver Island. And she entered the textile world in a dramatic way - as a professional snow boarder turned textile artist. It’s a rare trajectory to be sure. But there is more to her story than this. Meghann herself can tease out the similarities between the two - because for her, both have required her to be dedicated, to have patience, to be brave, to believe in the future of her ability, and to engage the world in ways that are the exact opposite of trivial. Meghann is deeply engaged with place, object, fibre, ancestry, and most of all tradition. She works with, around, and against the grain of all of these. 

Often in an introduction, the task of the introducer is to give the audience a sense of who someone is. I could try this for Meghann by giving you a long list of artistic accomplishments, galleries that have shown her work, films she has made or been featured in, international engagements and residencies, collaborations, and of course, finished artworks that are exceptional in their vision and execution. But, one gets the sense that Meghann is always shifting worlds. So rather than a list, I wish to introduce Meghann with her own words.

She says: “As an artist I wish to create work that is able to be worn in a way that gives reference and reverence to the materials and techniques of my ancestors, yet allows it to transform into a contemporary form for the everyday, one that reconnects our ancestral past to the communal present, the global present, where all cultures and worlds are converging and colliding.”

Please join me in welcoming Meghann O Brien

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