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Fiberarts - Summer 2009
Summer 2009

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Marci’s First Anniversary Tea Party
More work by our Sampling artists
Anna Fidler’s new works in collage
Scott Fife’s video The Making of Lionel Hampton
John Sims’s video The SquareRoots of the Master Quilt: Poetic Reflections by Johannes-Curtis Schwarzenstein
Molly Sutkaitis’s wedding dress story from Iris Häussler’s Honest Threads exhibit.
The Winners of Quilt National 2009
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Summer 2009

Iris Haussler: Honest Threads

Honest Threads
Installation views of Iris Haussler: Honest Threads at Honest Ed’s department store. Courtesy of the Koffler Centre of the Arts, Toronto, Canada.
(above and below)
Honest threads exhibit

The Koffler Centre of the Arts, Toronto, Canada, presented the uniquely interactive fiber exhibition, Iris Haussler: Honest Threads, on view January 22–March 8, 2009, and our Summer 2009 issue includes a review of the exhibit.

For the show, Haussler collected and cataloged cherished items of clothing from members of the surrounding community and then shared those garments (along with photographs and stories about the items) with the public at Honest Ed’s department store (also in Toronto). One example from the exhibit is Molly Sutkaitis’s wedding dress. It was exhibited with the following poignant story of finding love in Canada after World War II and photo of Sutkaitis and her husband, Tony, on their wedding day.

Wedding Dress by Molly Sutkaitis

It was March 1961 when I was jilted. I lived and taught in the parish of Glasgow, Scotland. The hotel had been booked for the reception, the invitations sent, acceptances and gifts had come in, the Wedding Banns had been called in church, and then the letter arrived. He had met someone else. The elders advised me to stay put, and that the emotions would settle. It was difficult seeing pity in the eyes of those around me. In 1963 I saw an ad that teachers were needed in Toronto. I decided to go there and to dedicate the rest of my life to teaching.

In Canada I felt that I had cut the emotional umbilical cord. The daughter of my new landlady, Rhoda, was a matchmaker. When she heard I wasn’t interested in marriage she told me of two eligible bachelors. Rhoda managed to put a guilt trip on me when she said I was depriving a good man of a good wife. Tony and I were married on July 26, 1966.

Tony was born in Padowabie, a village in Lithuania. When word came that the Nazis were advancing, Tony was sent to live with an aunt at the other end of the country. On his return journey, the Nazi soldiers burst into the train carriage and took him at gunpoint. The first night was spent in the castle in Vilnius. The following day and that night were spent in a cattle car along with other boys. They were jammed like sardines. There was no food. The train stopped from time to time for them to relieve themselves. On arrival at the camp, Tony was given a canvas bag to fill with hay—it was to be his bed. A machine gun was used to strike him when he was moving too slowly. Food was a watery thistle soup. One of Tony’s jobs was to load bombs into airplanes. He kept his sanity by meditating on the Rosary, a simple Catholic prayer.

Toward the end of the war the guards became less vigilant, and one day Tony and another man from his village simply walked away. They wandered over Germany until a German farmer’s wife told them that the war had ended. She directed them to a displaced persons camp. From there he went to England. In 1963 he made contact with his family, he sent them all his savings. Tony came to Canada because he always felt a foreigner in England and in Canada he reckoned that everyone except aboriginal Canadians were foreigners.

Molly and Tony Sutkaitis
Molly and Tony Sutkaitis on their wedding day, July 26, 1966, in Toronto, Canada. Part of the exhibit Iris Haussler: Honest Threads.


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