Domestic fibre production and processing, which included spinning, dyeing, knitting, and weaving to produce finished textiles, were essential for survival during the early years of settlement in the rugged Canadian wilderness. On Saturday March 10 at 2 p.m. at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte, weaver Ellen Good will use re-enactment-style photos to describe the steps of basic textile production in the homes of Upper Canada’s early settlers. She will also demonstrate the huge impact of these activities (usually carried out by woman and girls at home) on the social and economic development of the emerging country.
Ellen established her home studio in Ompah, Ontario, in 1981 after receiving a BFA in Textile Design from the Rochester Institute of Technology and has been producing unique and limited production textiles ever since. She has worked extensively with specialized dye techniques, such as Ikat and Loom Controlled Shibori to create colourful patterns in handwoven fabric. Her work has been sold at local craft shows and galleries and she has taught at weaving and dyeing at guilds, schools, and conferences.
From 2001 to 2005 she was coordinator of the MERA (MacDonalds Corners and Elphin Recreation and Arts) Heritage Weaving Project in MacDonalds Corners, Ontario. The project involved the development of a training program to teach local women production weaving. The MERA weavers continue to produce handwoven items in the studio established in the MERA community centre during the program. In September of 2006, Ellen curated an exhibition of pioneer textile production artifacts at the Rideau Canal Museum in Smiths Falls. The exhibit became the basis for the book Fabrics of Pioneer Life: Tools of the Textile Arts, authored by Ellen and published with help from the Ontario Arts Council.
In 2009, Ellen represented the Frontenac area at the Eastern Ontario Artists Marketplace at the Spring One of a Kind Show in Toronto and was also awarded the first annual, juried MERA Award for Excellence in Fine Art or Fine Crafts. She was also a featured artisan at Cornerstone Fine Crafts in Kingston.
From 2012 to 2017 she worked at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg, Ontario, as a period re-enactor and interpreter of weaving, spinning, and dying as it was done in a domestic setting in the mid-1800s.