Community pop-up to yield 20-foot art installation

New collaborative public art project is engaging thousands of participants


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Completed dream weavers at a pop-up event

Residents from across York Region are gathering to create a single, giant piece of public art with yarn and fabric. 

The Dream Weaver Project, launched by City of Vaughan cultural services department and facilitated by the educational services group ThinkinEd, has been popping up in various events around Vaughan since Canada Day, which saw 3,000 participants in attendance. Other pop-ups have attracted hundreds. Each participant is given recycled strips of fabric and yarn and instructions to “dream weave” their own creation based on how they respond to the textures and the colours of the material. They are also given circular frames around which they can weave and wrap their creations. 

“A lot of them have been these circular ones, but also there were people who were just interested in weaving fabrics and strings together and making these strands that other people ended up using,” said Mirella Tersigni, the community development co-ordinator for the city’s cultural services, about recent pop-ups. “They were weaving and sitting down, talking. There was a social and community aspect that was happening right on site as well.” 

The organizers hope to combine all these finished pieces to create a large-scale installation to be hung in a yet-to-be determined space. 

“We anticipate it will be well over 20 feet in length,” said Tersigni. “Think about it like a bunch of grapes, like how you pull a handful of grapes from the vine and see how they collect at the top and slowly disperse at the bottom. We want to see them moving, like a mobile.” 

The idea for the project was inspired by a multitude of themes, including the colours and landscapes of Group of Seven paintings; the circles and spokes of Vaughan’s historic mills; Kleinberg’s historic Binder Twine festival, where residents would gather to bind sheaves of wheat together; and the weaving together of Vaughan’s diverse cultures and languages. 

“The idea was to look at incorporating different concepts of what the threading would mean,” said Tersigni. “And more so, it was inspired a lot from the idea of the dream catcher, by the shape and the ideas of spirituality behind it … in a positive way.” 

Tersigni declined to say if there were any Indigenous artists involved with the project. 

Upcoming events include the Concert in the Park at York Hill District Park and the Oh Canada Popup Exhibit at J. E. H. MacDonald House, both in Thornhill. 

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Jessica Wei is an associate editor for Post City. She has lived and worked as a journalist in Montreal, Hong Kong and, now, Toronto. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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