Invocation of Peace
a community tapestry project for the Petawawa Public Library
Invocation of Peace is a community tapestry project organized by the Petawawa and Deep River Weavers Guild and funded by the Ontario Arts Council for the new Petawawa Public Library. Moon Rain Centre was invited to design and direct the project led by textile artist, Thoma Ewen. It was woven in March 2003 with the participation of over 500 community members in three locations, the Pembroke Mall, General Panet High School on the Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, and in the Petawawa Public Library.
Words from the artistic director:
“We were weaving in General Panet High School on the Canadian Forces Base Petawawa during the week the Coalition Forces invaded Iraq. The halls of the school were filled with talk of returning “body bags”. We were at the mid-point of the tapestry where the light streams down through the centre. I intuitively wanted the students to weave the strands of light, which they did – respectfully and quietly. We all watched with a profound sense of implication. A bonding of a large creative community was taking place. I felt as if a kind of creative and philosophical empowerment was taking place in the room with these young people, many of whom were about to graduate and go off into this unsettling world.
On the next day about six high school students signed up for a beginning weaving class that the Petawawa and Deep River Weavers Guild hopes to offer during the summer. We were weaving for peace and community, for the Petawawa Library and the beauty of the natural environment. We were creating a new generation of young weavers. To say that we were moved doesn’t really describe how we felt. The fact is that all of us – the Guild, the artist, the community, the school and the library were blessed to have the opportunity to participate in this project.
The Navajos say that weaving transmits the energy of peace. All of us in Petawawa who wove, watched, organized, fund-raised, and co-created, shared in the collective experience that Invocation of Peace transmitted. Together we experienced creativity, community and peace.
Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for funding Invocation of Peace. It was just so amazing!”
Thoma Ewen, May 2003
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“One of the exceptional projects we supported this year was the creation of Invocation of Peace, a community tapestry for the Petawawa Public Library, initiated by the Petawawa and Deep River Weavers Guild and led by textile artist Thoma Ewen. Five hundred and twenty-six community members contributed to the project at the three sites: the Pembroke mall, the Petawawa Public Library, and the General Panet High School on the Canadian Forces Base. Because many of the students’ families serve with the Canadian military, the project had particular resonance. It’s success has meant that weaving classes will be established through the high school and the guild. For the investment of a $9,000 Community Arts Grant, OAC helped support this extraordinary project of lasting impact in the community.”
extract from the Ontario Arts Council’s annual report 2002-2003
used by permission