Weaving Milkweed

The Concordia Fine Arts Reading Room Publication Grant has been awarded to Textile and Materiality’s Ryth Kesselring and Geneviève Moisan.

Publication Grants fund the production of independent art-related text (artists’ books, exhibition catalogs, zines, etc.).

Ryth and Geneviève’s publication will be part catalogue, part research journal. The yet-to-be-titled book will document their attempt at harvesting and weaving asclépiade, an indigenous plant which grows in many regions of southern Québec, commonly called milkweed. The “American silk” has quite exceptional qualities. It is as warm as duvet, but twice as light. It can be used as soundproofing and is also hydrophobic explains Geneviève.

After harvesting the plant in Roxton Falls, a small town in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, the duo will detach the fiber from the milkweed pods and weave it with the cluster’s Jacquard loom. Using the fiber water-resistance qualities, Geneviève and Ryth will be testing different felting, spinning and weaving techniques, “that will allow their new textile to protect the electronic components that they will put in their piece”. This is a new avenue they are investigating to work with textile and electronics in a humid environment.

The form of the final piece is has yet to be determined. Their methodology is based on Jean Dubois’ triad of potential-setting sail-exploration approach to research creation.

Stylistically, Ryth and Geneviève will have a little fun with the cover. Fittingly, the book will be covered in a Jacquard woven slip containing you guessed it, asclépiade.

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