New Exhibition Weaves Together Artists and Mediums

Post Date:
May 6, 2022

A new exhibition being featured over the summer by W.D. Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections at Queen’s University Library is highlighting the often-symbiotic nature of art, its influences, and the creative mediums through which an artist’s work takes shape.

Textus-Texts-Textiles explores the relationship between texts and textiles, through a feminist lens, via the fabric bookworks of Kingston artist, Lise Melhorn-Boe, supplemented by books as cultural texts and technological artifacts from the collections of W.D Jordan Rare Books and Special Collections. The exhibition opens May 6, and will run until September 9.

Speaking from her home in Kingston, Melhorn-Boe explained how the project evolved: "I was inspired to create these works by some of the poems in Lorna Crozier’s collection A Compendium of Everyday Objects. I‘ve been sewing for 55 years, so titles like Needle, Button, and Zipper really spoke to me from the outset. As I was creating the initial bookworks channeling Lorna’s work, I felt my inspiration for the project growing as I became immersed in it. That inspiration drew me to the work of a number of other talented poets, whose words I endeavored to physically and visually elucidate through the bookworks that form this exhibition." 

There will also be an event the afternoon of May 27 in the Graham George Room at Douglas Library providing an opportunity for members of the Queen’s and Kingston communities to view the artworks and supplemental materials on display while listening to Lise speak about her artistic process in creating fabric bookworks. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from Ella Heiss, a Queen’s University undergraduate student who co-curated the exhibit alongside Brendan Edwards, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections at Queen's University Library. "Curation is so much more than just picking artefacts that look interesting. It’s figuring out how to create an engaging and well-structured experience for the audience," said Heiss while talking about her experience co-curating the exhibition. 

The sewn bookworks of Lise Melhorn-Boe encapsulate the relationship between tangible objects and the written word through the medium of book art. Melhorn-Boe has been making books as a medium of art for more than forty years, drawing from women’s experiences in the political and personal spheres with humour and a light-hearted visual aesthetic to explore more serious feminist and environmental issues. The bookworks featured in this exhibition were inspired by the poetry of Lorna Crozier, Terry Ann Carter, Hazel Hall, Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson, Diane Dawber, Alexandra Cussons, and Bronwen Wallace. In imagining and crafting material representations of feminist poetry, Melhorn-Boe reminds us that handmade books, in their plethora of forms, are vessels of humanized content.

"Lise’s fabric bookworks are truly special pieces, one of a kind books as art that literally and figuratively weave/stitch together stories, texts, and fabric to express the ideas of poetry which itself draws upon metaphors of threading, sewing, and needlework." Said Brendan Edwards, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections at Queen's University Library. "From the first moment I encountered Lise’s fabric bookworks, I was fascinated by the idea that the Latin root of ‘text’ and ‘textile’ is one in the same: ‘textus’ which means ‘a web’ or ‘mode of putting together’. Just as one weaves fibres together to create a textile, or stitches fabric together to craft a piece of clothing, texts weave and stitch together words to express complex ideas.  At the same time, Lise’s works challenge us to think broadly and creatively about what constitutes a ‘book’, and the power and meanings communicated through the book as a tangible medium."

A limited number of print catalogues of the exhibition are available, and a corresponding virtual exhibition can be found online.

More information about the in-person event will be shared later in May, along with a link to register for the event.

​​​​​​​Find more Information about the artist, Lise Melhorn-Boe on her website


Ask Us

Ask Us

For help locating resources, using the library, or to request a research consultation, try our Ask Us service.

ask us more