Recent History – 2001
Oct. 1, 2001
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
Some of the finest work that weavers in the B.C. and Alberta Peace have produced is on display at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery – and the work of Barb Sinclair is front and centre.
Sinclair, who lives in Pouce Coupe has been very busy, with much of the show, Threads Along the Peace, made up of items she has produced.
“I’m the only one that I know of that does this full-time,” Sinclair said during the show’s opening Saturday night. “I’ve tried to make this a full-time job and little by little it’s beginning to be like that.”
Along with plenty of hours, being a full-time weaver takes plenty of skill and investment. Her looms, which are worth thousands of dollars, take up most of her house.
“But I’m starting really well, not just at Christmas and in the fall when the sales are on,” she said.
Sinclair makes balaclavas, scarves and blankets – all very fine and elaborate, most very colourful. Her specialty is the Peace River Blanket, a blanket made entirely out of wool raised exclusively in the Peace.
Everything she weaves comes from hand-spun yarn. None of the yarn is purchased.
Sinclair’s focus has not always been on weaving. When she and her husband, Jim, moved to this area in 1990, she was strictly a spinner. But then she met Sue Brocke and Dorothy Powell.
The show is dedicated to Brocke, well-known in the weaving community, as well as a teacher, who passed away in May.
“Sue Brocke told me to get up on this loom and she said ‘you are going to learn how to weave!!” Sinclair said.
While Brocke got Sinclair started, Powell, who has also passed away, raised her weaving to the next level.
“It was Dorothy Powell who taught me about falling in love with weaving. Dorothy could see in me the gift in certain areas that I had.
“Sue was the gifted teacher. She got me started definitely, but it was Dorothy who pointed me in all the right directions.”
For Sinclair, the appeal of weaving lay in being able to do something more with the fibre that she had spun and dyed.
“It just opened a whole new door, so now I weave way more than I spin,” she said. “I know how the fibres work together. I know how the colours work together.
“The whole geometry and algebra, I guess, of figuring out patterns, and laying out a pattern and making the loom do what you want it to do, so the colours look like you know other people want to see them.”
Not just Sinclair’s work is on display. Dawson Creek weaver Carolyn Hall’s pillowcases, purses, tea towels and scarves grace the walls, as does the work of one of the few men who weave – George Henne of Beaverlodge. Indeed, there are several weavers in the Peace, and many have something on display at the art gallery.
The show is part of the gallery’s Form Follows Function series, which highlights the works of the various guilds around the Peace and lasts until Oct. 15.