Pasts & Futures | Exhibition

Mary Anne and I, a Conversation (coverlet half); Playsuit-Coveralls for my Youngest Child; Blanket-Coat for Many Generations of Toole Women

Anie Toole


I weave cloth that is emotional and mathematical. The starting point to my work is the memories and relationships evoked by the patterns and motifs of clothing and decor from heritage textiles. Multi-layer weave structures are resolved using a mathematical approach and extensive sampling. In contrast, my approach to natural dyes and embellishments is intuitive. The transmission of textile knowledge is done through sample books and using various notation. I ask, how do you write cloth? How similar is the cloth reconstructed from its recipe to the original one? My practice materializes the slippages that occur from this—and other—translations. Clothmaking and printmaking are both series of repeated gestures and manipulations of specific tools. Every thread goes through my hand’s multiple times through processes of natural dyes, mechanical resists, weaving, unweaving, overdyeing and hand-finishing. The soft structure of fibers allows me to transform the work in space.

The block design of a woven coverlet by Mary Anne Toole featured in Dorothy K. Burnham’s Keep Me Warm One Night: Early Handweaving in Eastern Canada (1972, p.272) was the starting point. Mary Anne Toole and I share our surname. While we might not be related, I do like to imagine her sharing her knowledge, passing on family traditions and teaching me the craft of weaving. The coverlet was repurposed into outerwear, a reminder of times when coat fabric was cut from blankets. The handwoven label captures my creative practice alternating between ancestral fiber techniques and digital weaving.