A unique curated exhibition – The Thread of the Story: Artefacts that Inspire Art

One of the most unique, must-see, fibre art exhibits opened on Saturday, January 20th, at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre to an appreciative standing-room only crowd.

The unique and exciting exhibit features artefacts chosen by Museum staff from its historic collection and the interpretation of those artefacts transformed through the medium of fibre by 39 renowned artists. Each item, each piece of art, also features a detailed story explaining the inspiration that the items gave to staff members and artists, several of whom attended the opening.

“There are two individuals whose vision, steadfast commitment, support and passion were instrumental in the creation of this exhibition and who rallied their network of incredible fibre artists to make the show a reality,” said Museum Director, Cathy McGirr. “Bev White and Theresa Stafford, and without their guidance and passion this show would not be possible.”

Artist Bev White approached the Museum with the concept some months ago.  “In a Museum, you might see something that will remind you of your youth, the history of the area or the people who were here long before we were.  An artefact has to inspire you and bring memories to the forefront so that you become interested and may even dig into its history through research.  This exhibition does all that.”

“I could not be happier with ‘The Thread of the Story’,” added Stafford. “We should all be proud of ourselves, both artists and staff, for this wonderful curated exhibition.”


                (L-R) June Howich, artists Sheree Schlote, Ingrid Langhorst and Theresa Stafford

From a wreath from the 1800s made entirely of human hair to an authentic Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) uniform tunic from the 1800s, a quilt that features letters written between two lifelong friends to a large-scale map of Bruce County created in 1896, the walls of the Museum’s upper gallery are lined with unique art and glass cases filled with one-of-a-kind items that make this one of the most unique concepts when it comes to an historic display.

                                Hair wreath
For larger view, Click on Image

‘Letters to Rose’ by Elizabeth MacLaughlin

Elizabeth and Rose are old friends who have remained in touch through correspondence despite distance.  MacLaughlin gathered excerpts from letters the two sent back and forth and heat transferred them onto fabric creating a unique quilt.


For larger view, Click on Image

Catcher’s Mitt & Ball by Susan Sankey

Sankey created this artwork inspired by a mitt and ball from 1832.   A life-long resident of Bruce Grey, she learned to draw from her grandmother and began quilting 15 years ago.

The ‘ball’ was hand-dyed with rusty objects.


Strawberry Basket – staff choice by Joilene Scholtes
For larger view, Click on Image

Museum Director, Cathy McGirr, said that the museum staff embraced the concept of the show.  “I would like to recognize the core team of Chris Irvine, laura Leonard, Sarah Slater  and Deb Sturdevant for the exhibition and who provided all the elements of display, production and creation of the exhibit book.”

The book is a legacy filled with the many works and their stories and is available at the Museum.

McGirr pointed out that while museums are considered by some to be mere repositories of the past, they are actually storytellers weaving narrative through their artefacts with each exhibition sharing a story.  “We curate these stories, preserving our heritage where the artefacts become the ambassadors, not mere relics but, in fact, master storytellers.  This exhibition tells the stories of the past through the provenance of the artefact, through the lens of the staff who selected the object and through the recreation of the artefact by the artist.”

“It is our hope to provide a unique experience that will evoke diverse conversations inspired by history, personal memories or connection and, of course, art,” said McGirr.

The show remains until the end of April and, for more information, visit: brucecountymuseum.ca