100 Memories Blanket

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Exhibited:  Calgary Stampede, Western Showcase, Creative Arts and Crafts    2011

100 Memories Blanket - 2011  (Six Point - 100”x90”)

     Even as an American citizen, Canada has always seemed home to me.   I’ve crisscrossed the "True North", from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island, on many adventures throughout my life.  For instance, I first solo-trekked Banff National Park in 1978.  I’ve witnessed 17 seasons of Stratford Shakespeare Festival.  I’ve honeymooned in Niagara Falls and Georgian Bay in 1995.  And now... my wife and I have been living here in Calgary since 2006.  

     In memory of my lifetime love and respect for this country, and while we now await legal notification of permanent residency, I resolved to craft an object worthy of my Canadian memories.  I chose the iconic Hudson’s Bay Company blanket, which quite possibly is the most important cultural artifact traded throughout early Canadian history.  (Red is the preferred blanket color of coastal British Columbia First Nations Peoples.)

     Upon this blanket I hand-stitched 72 western hiking trailhead patches, 26 provincial flag and shield patches, and I designed and custom crafted a beaver emblem with the inscription "True North Strong and Free" placed center along with the Canadian national flag (100 appliques total).   

     I am convinced more than ever today that ubiquitous digital communication techniques often fundamentally fail necesary forms of cultural storytelling, particularly in comparison to traditional handicraft production techniques.  My "100 Memories Blanket" represents but one hands-on attempt to negotiate connections between my past and my future.


An American, living

in Canada, now spending his life experimenting with new forms of critical media ethnography.