Outside The Box Festival coordinator Alicia Ballard's mixed-media piece Stratospheres demonstrates the unconventional ways in which fibres and woven fabrics can be incorporated in art works. The festival returns to venues in White Rock and the Semiahmoo Peninsula

Outside The Box Festival coordinator Alicia Ballard's mixed-media piece Stratospheres demonstrates the unconventional ways in which fibres and woven fabrics can be incorporated in art works. The festival returns to venues in White Rock and the Semiahmoo Peninsula

Fibre fever hits White Rock

Latest arts festival of the woven – and the unwoven – is truly 'Outside The Box'

Art is what happens outside the box.

In spite of our best efforts to tame, control or categorize it, the artistic impulse – the urge to create something of esthetic resonance – spills over whatever confines or frames we tend to create for it.

Artists persist in thinking ‘outside the box’ both in creativity and in use of materials – and that’s what internationally celebrated fibre artist and experimentalist Pauline McLean Dutkowski had in mind when she founded White Rock’s Outside The Box Festival in 2011.

The month-long, genre-challenging celebration of art in fibre returns to the city for a fifth year Aug. 29-Sept. 30, and as in previous years, White Rock Library is a key location for the launch, displays and ongoing programs.

The festival has a new co-ordinator, White Rock artist Alicia Ballard, but she is by no means new to the event.

Noted locally and internationally as a painter and multi-media artist, she was also creator and coordinator of the international FiberFusion mural at White Rock Museum and Archives, part of the 2011 Outside The Box Festival.

“I always want to do something that is not the everyday, the ordinary and expected,” she said.

Ballard will have her own feature as part of the festival and White Rock Library’s  ongoing Master Artists in the Library program, Sept. 11 and 12, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As an illustration of the Outside the Box theme, she will be showcasing and answering questions on a work-in-progress – a piece inspired by the mythological goddess Medusa.

“I’ve been researching her – although, apparently, she was very ugly, she was also the protector of Athens, and originally she used to appear on shields,” she said. “Medusa is a warrior, but she’s also a goddess of wisdom and crafts. I thought this would be a good month for me to be prepared in all three areas!”

The overall festival follows in a tradition established by Dutkowski, she said, embracing all aspects of fibre art – from formal creations such as woven and sewn pieces and tapestries to free interpretations that challenge accepted conventions and norms, even re-imagining our basic definitions of fibre.

And Dutkowski herself, while enjoying the opportunity to step down from organizational responsibilities, is still very much present as a participant in the festival.

Throughout September, gallery owner Mary Mikelson will host a display of Dutkowski’s art and the fibre-related work of another great local “outside the box” thinker – Elizabeth Carefoot – at the Mind and Matter Gallery (13743 16 Ave.)

Also illustrating the theme is the work of Kali Bags and Accoutrements partners Katherine Siemens and Stephanie Lafreniere – also known as the tribal fusion dance duo The Fusionistas.

Their up-cycled art bags and other wearables, designed by Siemens, which utilize vintage and re-purposed fabrics and decorations in one-of-a-kind creations, will be on display at the library and the White Rock Community Centre during the month.

They and their creations will also be featured in a ‘Fibre Flash Walkabout’ (weather permitting) from The Gallery at Central Plaza to the White Rock Library from 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 29 – passing festival venue Laura’s Fashion Fabrics.

This will lead into the Outside the Box preview opening from 2 p.m. in the library including a short performance by the Fusionistas, and remarks by Ballard and dignitaries including White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin and Coun. Helen Fathers.

There will be plenty of other chances for the public to catch ‘fibre fever’ during the festival, Ballard promises, highlighting the creativity of many individuals and established community groups.

Displays will be ongoing at the library by the Piece Arch Quilters and the Tuesday Tapestry Group, while the Peace Arch Weavers and Spinners Guild will offer demonstrations Saturday, Sept. 19 and Monday Sept. 28, ( both 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

Also at the library, Fibre Gone Wild, Sept. 22, 3:30-4 p.m., is a children’s workshop (pre-registration required) in which youngsters will create animals from recycled materials, while on Sept. 25 members of the Needlenuts will demonstrate their techniques for applique quilting.

The White Rock Community Centre will host a mini photo-exhibit by Ballard and also the festival’s closing event on Sept. 30, 6:45 p.m. – a show-and-tell in which the community is invited to participate by sharing fibre items they cherish and the stories behind them.

The community is also invited to participate ‘hands on’ in the Interknots II Fibre Installation, Sept. 18, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Bryant Park (beside the Community Centre), by bringing colourful scarves, knitting or crocheting of flowers and insects to decorate trees in the park.

Other festival venues include Tourism White Rock and White Rock Museum and Archives.

“I’m really looking forward to the festival and I’m delighted by all the co-operation we’ve received, including from the city,” Ballard said.

“We owe the success of Outside the Box to Pauline, to the library, and to all the other artists and venues that have participated for five years.

“I’m looking forward to making it bigger and better each year.”

 

Just Posted

A Grade 8 class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
B.C.’s return-to-school plan good, but Surrey teachers hope there is room for adjustments

Surrey school district to receive $1.76M of the $25.6M provincial pandemic-related funding

Surrey Fire Service battled a dock fire along the Fraser River late Friday night (June 18). It was on Musqueam Drive, near Industrial Road, around 10:45 p.m. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Fire engulfs pier on Surrey side of the Fraser River

Pier has reportedly been unused for a long time

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read