Embroidered memories: summer fieldwork

This summer Larisa Sembaliuk Cheladyn (graduate student in Ukrainian Folklore) engaged with the Ukrainian Canadian community while completing her Master's thesis fieldwork exploring embroidered pillows.

01 August 2015

Larisa and the lighthouse

This summer Larisa Sembaliuk Cheladyn (graduate student in Ukrainian Folklore) engaged with the Ukrainian Canadian community while completing her Master's thesis fieldwork exploring embroidered pillows. During the course of 5 weeks she travelled to Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Sydney, Vancouver, and Victoria. Larisa interviewed 40 participants in her study and photographed over 450 different Ukrainian Canadian embroidered pillows. The creation of embroidered pillows appears to have been a popular expression of cultural identity from coast to coast. Like the pysanka (Easter egg) and rushnyk (ritual towel), the embroidered pillow was very commonly exhibited in homes of families of Ukrainian origin. These pillows were most often displayed on the back of a couch. Participants enthusiastically shared their stories related to the creation, inspiration, and the historical backgrounds related to these decorative artifacts.

Day 7

In addition to talking with individuals, Larisa also connected with several institutions that have made it their mission to collect and preserve embroidered textiles and clothing, including: The Ukrainian Cultural Centre - Oseredok (Winnipeg), Ukrainian Museum of Canada - Manitoba Branch (Winnipeg), Ukrainian Museum of Canada - Ontario Branch (Toronto), and the Embroiderer's Association of Canada (Montreal). Each shared invaluable information and insights into the significance of ethnic Canadian embroidery in its many forms. Larisa is looking forward to processing all the data she has collected, completing her thesis, and presenting a public exhibition of her findings.

Day 7, Winnipeg, MB. Visit and interview with Marika Banias