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Woven Wall Hanging

Curated Submission
Musqueam, British Columbia
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
78 x 52
Materials & techniques
Wool, cedar; Weaving
Barb Cayou
Delta Museum and Archives Society DE1992.25.1
A traditional weaving loom was a simple frame over which the warp (vertical threads) was stretched. Fibres were then woven back and forth across the weft (horizontal threads) of the fabric using a variety of bunching techniques. The fibres in such pieces were generally hard to obtain or rare, and were therefore highly valued. Examples found from across the archaeological record suggest that wool from mountain goats, mountain sheep, or even dogs were used. Along the west coast of Canada, cedar was used in the creation of a blanket because it provided a bit of stability and stiffness to the resulting piece. Cedar has also been found to be a natural deterrent to some insects. Cedar was used in this piece.
Owing to the time it took to obtain, prepare, and weave materials, a blanket was among the most highly prized possessions that could be exchanged in First Nations cultures. Sharing this symbol of culture, tradition, and protection between generations was entrenched in formal blanket ceremonies, where young people who achieved certain life milestones were honoured with a blanket. Following official attempts to limit First Nations cultural practices, the restoration of weaving in communities was an important part of reclaiming identity. It reconnected generations, traditions, and family groupings and established new bonds between community members. Weaving has become more than an artistic expression; it is a means of creating community. This piece was created by Barb Cayou of the Musqueam Nation as a celebration of reclaiming traditional skills.
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