Indigenous poet bringing textile production to life at Poetic Fibres event

·2 min read

An Indigenous poet will present her work at the Salon du Livre/Blue Metropolis Festival event this weekend with a unique interactive exhibition that will pair her words with the organic textile production process of a Montreal design house at Palais des Congres.

Mi'kmaw author Tara McGowan-Ross’ words will animate an exhibition of organic textile production and clothing creation by Montreal textile manufacturers Gaude and Garance during this weekend’s Poetic Fibres event.

Gaude and Garance will display their process live on stage, while a text written by McGowan-Ross will accompany the presentation.

“I didn’t know very much about textiles in general when I met up with them,” McGowan-Ross said. “Over the course of them telling me about their process, I was influenced and inspired by their speech. So, I transcribed our conversation and I lifted some found text from there and put it in the text.”

Inspired by Gaude and Garance’s use of medieval-style looms and their meticulous process, McGowan-Ross came up with the text that will be read while the tailors do their work on stage as part of a meeting place of emerging artistic, ethical, and decolonial processes, she said.

“I really wanted to animate the process. I was so utterly fascinated by it, that I thought others might be as well,” she said.

The Poetic Fibres event will be held Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

The text will be read in person by fellow poet David Bradford, because McGowan-Ross is in New York City attending another literary festival, but McGowan-Ross will appear via Instagram Live Saturday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. – “a salon in your pocket,” she joked – and she emphasized the importance of the work being done by Gaude and Garance.

“I reacted very strongly to their process, which is very old-fashioned,” she said. “I think the way they do their work is very relevant to today’s processes. Basically, they are hyper-efficient and the way they use every part of the fibre to create is so hyper-efficient and creates things quickly and in a way I think will inspire many people.’

McGowan-Ross, a native of Toronto, is also the host of Drawn and Quarterly's Indigenous Literatures book club, and a critic of independent and experimental theatre for Broadwayworld. Her poetry has been published in Best Canadian Poetry, and the collections Girth and Scorpion Season. Her debut book-length collection of nonfiction, Nothing Will be Different, is slated for release from Dundurn Press.

The Poetic Fibres event is part of the Blue Metropolis Festival, and will run Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, visit

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase

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