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Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOL, DYE
Catalogue Number
P20160003006
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date
1929
Materials
WOOL, DYE
No. Pieces
1
Length
182.5
Width
117.5
Description
HAND-WOVEN RUG MADE FROM HAND-DYED, HANDSPUN WOOL. THERE IS A 3-4 CM WIDE BLACK BORDER AROUND ALL LENGTHS OF THE RUG, WITH FRINGE ON THE SHORT ENDS. INSIDE THE BLACK BORDER IS A SINGLE WOVEN BORDER OF LIGHT BLUE WOOL. INSIDE OF THIS BORDER IS A PATTERN SET ON A DARK BURGUNDY-COLOURED BACKGROUND. THERE IS A BLUE FLOWER IN THE CENTER OF THE RUG. ON ONE END THE DATE “1924” IS WOVEN IN RAW-COLOURED WOOL. THE “9” HAS BEEN WOVEN UPSIDE DOWN. ON THE OPPOSITE END OF THE RUG, THE INITIALS “ ” FOR THE NAME LISAVETA PETROVNA WISHLOW, ARE WOVEN IN LIGHT BLUE. THERE ARE 20 HARPS COLOURED EITHER BLUE, ORANGE, PINK, OR YELLOW AROUND ALL LENGTHS OF THE RUG. UNDER THE HARPS IS A GREEN VINE PATTERN AND A RED DECORATIVE BORDER. THE DESIGN ELEMENTS ARE LAID OUT SYMMETRICALLY OVER THE RUG AND CONSIST OF FLOWERS, DUCKS, AND BUTTERFLIES. VERY GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. SLIGHT WEAR TO THE WOOL FROM USE.
Subjects
FLOOR COVERING
Historical Association
DOMESTIC
ETHNOGRAPHIC
History
THE KONKINS WERE A RUSSIAN-SPEAKING FAMILY FROM THE TOWN OF SHOULDICE, ALBERTA, NEAR CALGARY. THEY AND MANY OTHER RUSSIAN FAMILIES COMPOSED THAT TOWN’S DOUKHOBOR COLONY. IT WAS THERE WILLIAM KONKIN MARRIED ELIZABETH WISHLOW. IN 1928, THEIR DAUGHTER, ELSIE WAS BORN. THEY LATER MOVED TO A FARM IN VAUXHALL, ALBERTA. THE PRECEDING AND FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM A TWO-PART INTERVIEW WITH DONOR ELSIE MORRIS, WHICH WAS CONDUCTED BY COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN ON FEBRUARY 17, 2016. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION COMES FROM FAMILY HISTORIES AND TEXTS PROVIDED BY THE DONOR. A FULL HISTORY OF THE KONKIN FAMILY CAN BE FOUND WITH THE RECORD P20160003001. THIS RUG WAS HAND-WOVEN BY ELIZABETH KONKIN IN 1924. THE RUG WAS USED AS A WALL COVER IN THE WINTER AND ACTED AS AN INSULATOR. LATER IT WAS USED ON THE FLOOR AT CHRISTMASTIME. IT WAS INHERITED BY MORRIS PRIOR TO THE PASSING OF HER MOTHER: “I CAME INTO POSSESSION [OF IT] FROM MY MOTHER. SHE DIED IN 2003 AND I GOT THE RUG SLIGHTLY BEFORE THEN AND YES THAT WOULD BE ABOUT THE TIME… I HAVE NO OTHER SIBLINGS AND SO OBVIOUSLY EVERYTHING SHE MADE WOULD GO TO ME. MY SON SAID HE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THE RUG, BUT CHANGED HIS MIND. HIS WIFE WAS NOT KEEN ON HAVING IT, SO I HAD TO DO SOMETHING WITH IT. TO ME IT IS A VERY BEAUTIFUL RUG AND I WANTED IT SOME PLACE WHERE IT WON’T GET TRASHED BY DOGS OR ANIMALS.” AFTER ACQUIRING THE RUG, MORRIS PLACED IT ON THE FLOOR OF HER HOME IN LETHBRIDGE: “THE LINO [ON THE FLOOR] STARTED TO WEAR OUT AND I THOUGHT YOU CAN’T PUT A RUG LIKE THAT ON ANOTHER LINO. IT JUST DOESN’T GO. BUT I DO LIKE HARDWOOD SO WE HAD HARDWOOD PUT THROUGHOUT THE BEDROOMS. THE LAST ROOM IS MY OFFICE, FIRST OF ALL, I HAD THE RUG IN THIS BEDROOM AND THEN IT WASN’T VERY CONVENIENT TO CLEAN BECAUSE THERE WASN’T THAT MUCH SPACE SO I PUT IT IN MY OFFICE WHERE I LOVED IT, BUT I KEPT STUMBLING OVER IT. I THOUGHT I MIGHT BREAK A LEG IF I DO THIS SO I BETTER GET RID OF IT… THE HARDWOOD WAS PUT IN BEFORE THE GST WENT IN. I DIDN’T HAVE THE RUG THEN BUT I THOUGHT THAT I WOULD BE GETTING THE RUG AND SO I WOULD HAVE IT HARDWOOD… WAS IT 1995? ANYWAY BEFORE GST WENT IN.” THE RUG HAD BEEN PRESENT THROUGHOUT MORRIS’ LIFE – FROM TIME SPENT ON THE DOUKHOBOR COLONY IN SHOULDICE, ALBERTA TO LIFE ON A FARM OUTSIDE OF VAUXHALL, ALBERTA: “I CAN REMEMBER WHEN I WAS BORN. THE RUG WAS IN MY PARENT’S HOME. WE LIVED ON A DOUKHOBOR COLONY, WE HAD MUD PLASTERED WALLS AND OUR HOUSE WAS WELL BUILT. MY DAD BUILT IT. SOME OF THE HOUSES ONLY HAD ONE LAYER OF WOOD AND THEY WERE VERY COLD, HOWEVER OUR BEDROOMS HAD WALLS ON THE NORTH SIDE. IN WINTER THEY GOT CHILLY, SO EVERY WINTER THEY WOULD NAIL UP THIS RUG UP AGAINST THE WALL. IT STAYED THERE FOR THE WINTER. FOR SUMMER IT CAME DOWN, I DON’T [KNOW] WHERE SHE STORED IT, I THINK POSSIBLY IN ONE OF THE BIGGER TRUNKS AND THEN TOOK IT OUT… THIS HOME [WHERE THE RUG WAS PLACED], IT’S OUTSIDE OF VAUXHALL. WE LEFT THE COLONY, MOVED TO VAUXHALL AND MOVED THE HOUSE. THE HOUSE WAS EXPANDED AND THEN WE LIVED IN THAT HOUSE. I LEFT HOME AND MY PARENTS HAD A HOUSE IN LETHBRIDGE WHICH DAD BUILT ALSO AND HE SOLD THE FARM. THEY ASKED IF WE WANTED TO GO AND WE DIDN’T. SO THEY SOLD THE FARM AND THERE WAS A BEAUTIFUL POND WHERE WE SWAM AND BOATED AND WE HAD LOTS OF TREES AROUND THE HOUSE. IT WAS ABOUT AN ACREAGE IF NOT MORE AND WHEN HE SOLD IT THE NEW OWNERS, VERY FRUGAL PEOPLE, [THEY] BURNT DOWN THE HOUSE, THE STEAM BATHROOM, THE GARAGE, THE WORKS. NOW MIND THEY WERE OLD STATE BY NOW AND THEY PLOWED [IT ALL INTO] IN THE POND BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO MAKE MONEY FROM THE GRAIN [FIELDS], SO WHEN I WENT THERE A COUPLE OF YEARS LATER, [I WAS] SURPRISED EVERYTHING WAS GONE, SO THAT WAS THAT." THE RUG MAY HAVE BEEN WOVEN BY MORRIS’ MOTHER ON THE DOUKHOBOR COLONY IN SHOULDICE OR DURING THE WINTER SPENT IN COWLEY: “… IT COULD HAVE BEEN WOVEN IN COWLEY BECAUSE THEY STAYED IN COWLEY FOR THE WINTER BUT I CAN’T BE TOO SURE. IT ALSO COULD HAVE BEEN MADE ON THE COLONY… TWENTY MILES EAST OF MOSSLEIGH.” ELIZABETH KONKIN WAS MARRIED IN 1927, SO THE INITIALS WOVEN ON THE RUG ARE OF HER MAIDEN NAME: “THAT’S AN “L” [ ] THAT’S LISAVETA (SIC.) BUT HER NAME IS YALALISAVETA (SIC.) BUT SHE PUT DOWN LISAVETA. PETROVNA THAT’S A “P” [ ] THAT’S DAUGHTER OF PETRO AND WISHLOW [ ] THAT WAS HER MAIDEN NAME. ... [AFTER MAKING THE RUG] THERE WAS SOME WARP LEFT OVER. … WARP IS THE STUFF THAT RUNS DOWN AND WEFT IS WHAT YOU PUT IN BETWEEN WITH A SHUTTLE BUT THIS WASN’T PUT IN WITH A SHUTTLE. EACH INDIVIDUAL THREAD WAS KNOTTED. IT’S LIKE DIFFAGHAN (SIC.) - A SWEDISH METHOD - AND THAT’S HOW IT WAS DONE. IF THERE WAS SOME LEFT OVER AND HER MOM INSISTED THAT SHE DO ANOTHER RUG. WELL SHE DIDN’T WANT TO DO IT. SHE SAYS “YOU MAKE IT FOR YOUR BROTHER.” SHE FELT HIS WIFE SHOULD DO HER OWN HOPE CHEST BUT SHE DID AND THE INTERESTING THING IS THAT HIS RUG THEY USED IT ON THE FLOOR. MY MOTHER DIDN’T USE THIS ONE ON THE FLOOR EXCEPT AT CHRISTMAS TIME SO THE WISHLOW FAMILY WHO HAD THE OTHER RUG, THE MOTHER WASN’T TOO KEENLY INTERESTED IN IT. THEY HAD IT IN THE LIVING ROOM AND THEN IT WENT UP FOR SALE TO A PLACE THAT WAS OWNED BY A MAN NAMED, HIS LAST NAME WAS EWASHEN (SIC.) …THAT’S [THE RUG’S] TWIN, YES.” MORRIS THEN GOES ON TO DESCRIBE SOME OF THE OTHER PATTERNING FOUND ON THE RUG: “OKAY THOSE ARE HARPS. SHE HAD PATTERNS TO GET THEM FROM OTHER WEAVERS AND THEN SHE’D TRACE THEM OUT. I DON’T KNOW WHAT SHE USED TO TRACE THEM ON THE WARP [WITH] AND THEN SHE’D WEAVE AWAY WITH THE THREAD THAT WERE THE WEFT. SHE PUT THE DESIGNS HERSELF ONTO THE RUG” THE RUG WAS BROUGHT TO LETHBRIDGE WHEN ELIZABETH AND WILLIAM KONKIN RETIRED THERE: “I WAS TEACHING SCHOOL IN COALDALE WHEN THEY MOVED AND DAD MADE THE HOUSE IN NORTH LETHBRIDGE… THE HOUSE IS NICELY BUILT AND IT’S WARM, IT’S COMFORTABLE SO THERE’S NO USE PUTTING IT UP ON THE WALL. EVERY CHRISTMAS SHE’D TAKE IT OUT AND WE’D ROLL AROUND ON THIS RUG AND SHE WOULD HANG IT UP AFTER THE NEW YEAR SO I SAID TO HER ‘WHY DON’T YOU PUT IT ON THE FLOOR?’ AND SHE SAID, 'WELL I DON’T WANT TO MESS IT UP.' HOWEVER, I SAID, 'WELL I’M GOING TO PUT IT ON THE FLOOR,' SO THAT’S WHERE IT WAS UNTIL I STARTED STUMBLING OVER IT.” AMONG THE OTHER ARTIFACTS DONATED BY MORRIS THAT WERE OWNED BY HER MOTHER, THE RUG WAS A SIGNIFIER OF THE HARD WORK REQUIRED WITHIN THE DOUKHOBOR LIFESTYLE: “[THE BLANKET AND THE SPINNING WHEEL] MEANT A LOT WELL AFTER THE WAR AND THINGS WERE CHEAP. THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO WEAVE THEIR OWN STUFF. PRIOR TO THAT, NOT IN MY MOTHER’S TIME EVEN BEFORE THAT MY GRANDMOTHER’S TIME, EVERY GIRL HAD TO WEAVE A TROUSSEAU FOR HERSELF TO LAST A LIFETIME BECAUSE SHE STARTED HAVING CHILDREN AND SHE WOULDN’T HAVE THE TIME TO DO IT. THERE WERE THINGS THAT WERE ANCIENT THAT WERE USED AND USED UNTIL THEY DIED HOWEVER, IN MY MOTHER’S DAY THEY KNITTED THEIR OWN SOCKS, THEY MADE THEIR OWN QUILTS. THE MEN DID THE BUILDING AND THEY LIVED OFF THE GARDENS BECAUSE THEY WERE VEGETARIANS SO THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT MEAT. THEY BOUGHT EGGS FROM THE NEIGHBOURS WHO WERE FARMERS. THE INTERESTING THING THERE WAS THAT THEY WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO EAT MEAT AND I ATE MEAT WHEN I WAS CLOSE TO TWENTY. WHEN I TELL MY VEGETARIAN RELATIVES WHAT ABOUT YOUR SHOES AND YOU’VE GOT LEATHER, COWHIDE WHATEVER AND THEY COULDN’T COME UP WITH AN ANSWER SO… THEY REPRESENTED HARD WORK THAT’S, THIS TAKES A LONG TIME WHEN YOU THINK OF EVERY KNOT THAT HAD TO BE TIED AND IT WAS PART OF HER TROUSSEAU. THE SPINNING WHEEL MEANT A LOT BECAUSE YOU HAD TO SPIN THE WOOL SO.” PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, OBITUARIES, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND FAMILY HISTORIES.
Catalogue Number
P20160003006
Acquisition Date
2016-02
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
TEA TOWEL, LETHBRIDGE HANDICRAFT GUILD OF WEAVERS
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
COTTON
Catalogue Number
P20140037000
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
TEA TOWEL, LETHBRIDGE HANDICRAFT GUILD OF WEAVERS
Date
2014
Materials
COTTON
No. Pieces
1
Length
82
Width
39
Description
PLAID, HANDWOVEN TEA TOWEL MADE UP OF VARIOUS PLAID PATTERNS. THE BASE THROUGHOUT THE TOWEL IS A SYMMETRICAL PATTERN OF BANDS (DARK BLUE, LIGHT BLUE, GREEN, YELLOW, ORANGE, RED, PINK, DARK PURPLE, AND LIGHT PURPLE). THERE IS A CARDBOARD TAG ATTACHED THAT READS, “LETHBRIDGE HANDICRAFT…” PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND “GALT TOWEL… GUILD WEAVERS” HANDWRITTEN IN BLUE INK. THE REVERSE OF THE CARD HAS CARE INSTRUCTIONS. THE TOWEL IS 82 CM BY 39 CM. EXCELLENT CONDITION. CREASED AT THE FOLDS.
Subjects
MAINTENANCE T&E
Historical Association
ASSOCIATIONS
COMMEMORATIVE
DOMESTIC
TRADES
History
AN EXHIBITION AT THE GALT MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES TITLED "WOVEN IN TIME: CELEBRATING 65 YEARS WITH LETHBRIDGE WEAVERS" WAS ORGANIZED BY GALT CURATOR WENDY AITKENS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE LETHBRIDGE HANDICRAFT GUILD OF WEAVERS. THE EXHIBITION RAN FROM JUNE 7 TO SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 AND DISPLAYED THE HISTORY OF THE GUILD WITHIN THE COMMUNITY SINCE ITS RE-ESTABLISHMENT IN 1949. THE EXHIBITION INCLUDED BOTH HERITAGE AND RECENT WEAVINGS, ARCHIVAL MATERIAL, DEMONSTRATION VIDEOS, AND WEAVERS WHO SAT AT A LOOM IN THE EXHIBIT CREATING 6 COTTON TEA TOWELS. OF THESE TOWELS, ONE WAS CHOSE FOR DONATION TO THE MUSEUM. THIS TEA TOWEL SHOWS SEVERAL DESIGNS CREATED BY THE WEAVERS WHO SAT AT THE LOOM IN THE EXHIBIT. IT WAS CREATED AS A WEAVING DEMONSTRATION WITH AT LEAST SEVEN WEAVERS DESIGNING THE PATTERN AND WORKING ON IT. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ABOUT THE LETHBRIDGE HANDICRAFT GUILD OF WEAVERS HAS BEEN TAKEN FROM TEXTS WRITTEN FOR THE EXHIBITION BY AITKENS: “IN THE PAST, FUNCTIONAL HOUSEHOLD ITEMS SUCH AS CLOTHING, BEDDING AND OTHER NECESSITIES WERE WOVEN BY HAND, ON HOMEMADE LOOMS. WITH THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, MASS PRODUCED WOVEN PRODUCTS EMPLOYED MANY PEOPLE IN FACTORIES MAKING THINGS THAT THEY WOULD HAVE MADE EARLIER AT HOME. AS TIME PASSED THERE WAS A GROWING FEAR THAT THE SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED TO PRODUCE HANDMADE WOVEN ARTICLES WOULD BE LOST. CONSEQUENTLY, FOLLOWED MOVEMENTS IN BRITAIN, SEVERAL WOMEN IN MONTREAL FORMED THE CANADIAN HANDICRAFTS GUILD [CHG] IN 1905 TO PRESERVE THESE TRADITIONAL ART AND CRAFT SKILLS. … BY THE LATE 1800S, MEN AND WOMEN WERE RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR ADVANCED SKILL IN WEAVING, AND GUILDS WERE ESTABLISHED IN COMMUNITIES ACROSS CANADA, INCLUDING EDMONTON, VANCOUVER, AND WINNIPEG. GUILDS ALSO ENCOURAGED PRODUCTION OF FURNITURE, JEWELRY DESIGN, LEATHER AND IRON WORK, AS WELL AS OTHER ARTISTIC ENDEAVOURS. THE NATIONAL GUILD TRANSFERRED ITS ASSETS TO THE QUEBEC PROVINCIAL BRANCH OF THE CHG IN 1936. "THE LETHBRIDGE BRANCH OF THE CHG WAS FOUNDED IN 1935. IT WAS DISCONTINUED DURING WWII BECAUSE RED CROSS PROJECTS, WHICH SUPPORTED SOLDIERS OVERSEAS, WERE THE PRIORITY. AFTER THE WAR IN 1949, ELEVEN LOCAL WOMEN REBUILT THE CHG AND OFFERED COURSES IN NEEDLEWORK, LEATHERWORK, COPPER TOOLING, GLOVE MAKING, POTTERY, ALUMINUM ETCHING, AND OTHER CRAFTS INCLUDING, IN 1951, WEAVING. MEETINGS AND CLASSES WERE HELD IN THE CANADIAN WESTERN NATURAL GAS COMPANY BUILDING [420 – 6 ST. S] AND THE RED CROSS ROOMS [1160 – 7 AVE S] UNTIL 1964 WHEN THE GUILD MOVED TO THE BOWMAN ARTS CENTRE [811 – 5 AVE. S]. “SINCE 1951, WHEN WEAVING BECAME A POPULAR ACTIVITY IN THE LETHBRIDGE HANDICRAFT GUILD, MEMBERS PRACTICED THEIR ART, TAUGHT OTHERS HOW TO WEAVE, AND SHARED THEIR PIECES WITH THE PUBLIC THROUGH SHOWS AND SALES. INITIALLY, 16 BOX LOOMS WERE PURCHASED FROM EATON’S FOR EVERYONE TO USE. IN 1954, GUILD MEMBERS SAVED LABELS FROM SOUP CANS AND WHEN THEY TURNED THEIR LABELS IN TO THE CAMPBELL COMPANY THEY RECEIVED $165 TO PURCHASE A FLOOR LOOM. TODAY, THE GUILD OWNS MANY LOOMS OF VARYING SIZES. "THE LETHBRIDGE GUILD HAS ALWAYS OPERATED AS A CO-OPERATIVE. ALL THE LOOMS ARE OWNED BY THE GUILD AND THEY ARE SET UP WITH A COMMON WARP (THE LONG THREADS ON THE LOOM) FOR ALL MEMBERS TO USE. GUILD MEMBERS WORK TOGETHER TO PLAN GROUP PROJECTS SUCH AS A FRIENDSHIP BED COVERLET, TEA TOWELS AND PLACE MATS. MEMBERS USE TRADITIONAL FIBRES SUCH AS COTTON, LINEN AND WOOL BUT THEY ALSO EXPERIMENT WITH YARNS MADE FROM YAK, DOG AND POSSUM HAIR. THEY ALSO USED RIBBONS, ZIPPERS AND VHS TAPES TO CREATE IMAGINATIVE WORKS OF ART. "IN THE EARLY 2000S, GUILD MEMBERS ASKED CITY COUNCIL FOR PERMISSION TO DEVELOP AN OFFICIAL TARTAN FOR LETHBRIDGE. MONTHS OF WEAVING SAMPLES, CHOOSING THE PERFECT PATTERN, AND GETTING COUNCIL APPROVAL RESULTED IN A SPECTACULAR TARTAN WHICH WAS UNIQUE IN THE WORLD. THE TARTAN WAS OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED BY THE SCOTTISH TARTAN SOCIETY. "KNOWLEDGEABLE LOCAL WEAVERS TAUGHT ADULTS AND CHILDREN THE ART OF WEAVING, SPINNING, AND DYING. MASTER WEAVERS FROM OUTSIDE LETHBRIDGE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT IN TO EXPAND THE TECHNIQUES AND STYLES OF GUILD MEMBERS. THE GUILD RECEIVED INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION FROM INTERWEAVE PRESS WHEN IT WON THE FIBERHEARTS AWARD IN 2005 FOR ITS UNIQUE MENTORSHIP PROGRAM. THE $500 RECEIVED WITH THE AWARD ALLOWED NOVICE WEAVERS TO LEARN FROM EXPERIENCED WEAVERS.” PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Catalogue Number
P20140037000
Acquisition Date
2014-09
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail