Thoma Ewen’s Statement
My work is a visual response to the natural landscape and beauty of the earth. Through tapestry and drawing I explore the energies that move through everything on and beyond our planet. I try to communicate harmony and movement. Light is an important element and a source of inspiration. I am profoundly moved by the mystery of weave. To me, weaving is a contemporary metaphor for the interactions and interconnections between all living systems of our biosphere.
My recent tapestry “Hado: Unfolding” explores the concept of hado which is the Japanese word meaning the intrinsic unique vibration of every living thing. It can be interpreted as health, chi, or breath, as in the breath of life. I read about hado in a book on water by the late Japanese scientist, Dr. Masaru Emoto, whose remarkable research about our relationship with water is thought-provoking and inspirational.
Thoma Ewen’s Biography
Thoma Ewen began art studies as a child. Regular visits to the National Gallery of Canada familiarized her with Canadian Art and the Group of Seven, and inspired her creativity. In the late 1960s, a touring exhibition of French tapestries, featuring works by artist Jean Lurçat, was presented in the foyer of Ottawa City Hall. That exhibition had such a strong visual impact that she knew immediately she wanted to become a tapestry artist. Following a BFA in 1971, Thoma apprenticed in Finland with tapestry artist Oili Mäki. That experience was the basis for a lifelong studio practice in the art and craft of tapestry weaving.
Upon returning to Canada, Ewen presented her first solo exhibition of tapestries in Toronto in 1975, and her work was included in the opening exhibition of the Ontario Crafts Council gallery in 1976. Between 1980 and 1981, she was in residence in the Fibre Studio at the Banff Centre, under the direction of Quebec tapestry artist Mariette Rousseau-Vermette. In Toronto she coordinated tapestry exhibitions for Convergence 86, the biennial conference of the Handweavers Guild of America, including “Homage to Lurcat” the first USA/Canada tapestry exhibition, curated by ATA’s Jim Brown.
Over the past 45 years, Ewen has exhibited in Canada, United States, Mexico, England, France, Poland, Guatemala, Venezuela and China. Her tapestries are in numerous collections. She founded Moon Rain Centre, specializing in community tapestry projects, such as The Vision Weave Project. She is the author of The Living Tapestry Workbook, and co-founder of La Triennale Internationale des Arts Textiles en Outaouais. Inspired by ancient indigenous wisdom, Ewen’s conference presentations, artist-in-the-schools projects and community tapestries communicate the vital contemporary role of tapestry today: to transmit the energy of peace. She continues to design and weave tapestries, working out of her studio at Moon Rain Centre, located in the Gatineau Hills, north of Ottawa, Canada.