Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Textile alumni’s moment to shine

Craft Council of NL holds 50th anniversary exhibition

Submitted by Susan Furneaux

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).

To celebrate the occasion, the Craft Council Gallery hosted an exhibition of fine crafts that heavily featured the artwork of alumni of CNA’s Textile & Apparel Design program.

Art by Susan Lee Stephen

In 1969, the province opened the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s. One of the tenants in the new building was the college’s Craft program, a one-year certificate offering founded to teach textile-based craft skills. In the early years, weaving was the main technique taught with students learning embroidery, knit and macramé as electives.

Art by Stephanie Stoker, Textile Studies instructor at College of the North Atlantic’s Prince Philip Drive Campus in St. John’s, NL

Over the years, the Craft program evolved to what is now Textile & Apparel Design. An industry partner, the program works closely with the Craft Council of NL; provincial Tourism, Arts, Culture and Recreation Department; and, the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to provide support to the craft sector of our province through education, strategic planning and enthusiastic and talented graduates who enter the industry each year.

Art by Renee Holloway

Introduced to the Craft Council of NL in their first year, Textile & Apparel Design students forge a relationship with the council through exhibitions, a peer jury, the craft fair and workshops. This relationship will continue to flourish as they transition into professional crafts people, artists and cultural administrators.

Art by Rachel Ryan

The 50th Anniversary Exhibition at the Craft Council Gallery is a testament to the strong partnership between the Craft Council of NL and CNA. In fact, the show was curated by CNA alum, Bruno Vinhas (graduated 2017), and it presents the work of nine alumni artists, including:

Susan Furneaux (1996)                                              Rachel Ryan (1996)

Stephanie Stoker (2004)                                           Sonya Coish (2019)

Lois Martin (c.1992)                                                   Rene Holloway (2018)

Rene Holloway (2018)                                               Isabella St. John (1996)               

Janet Davis (c.1992)                                                   Susan Lee Stephen (2001)

Art by Isabella St John

Recognized throughout Canada for their talent and skill, CNA’s graduates have contributed to the cultural and economic wellbeing this province for over 50 years. Now as NL becomes the focus of globetrotters looking for a unique travel experience, our graduates are now an integral part of the tourism sector as well.

Chinese Lantern by Lois Martin

Both CNA and the Craft Council of NL have been a very large part of my life. I was so happy and proud to be a part of the 50th anniversary and see so many friends, colleagues, and past students represented in the exhibition.

Speaking from personal experience as an artist and faculty member, I am confident the Textile & Apparel Design program and its graduates look forward to another 50 years of partnerships and collaboration to educate, plan for, and mentor the future generations.

Art by Janet Davies

The public is invited to attend the Fine Craft Exhibition at the Craft Council gallery at 155 Water Street in St. John’s until Tuesday, December 20th, 2022.

Bruno Vinhas, CNA alum and Gallery Director at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne McIsaac
Born and raised in Stephenville, NL, Ryanne recently moved back to Newfoundland after spending 16 years in Calgary, Alberta. Ryanne has a Journalism Diploma from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University. She worked for many years as a reporter and freelance writer. She is happy to be back in her hometown and working for CNA.

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