Call for Submissions: 2023 World of Threads Festival

Exhibitions: 2018 Flow, 2012 Quiet Zone, 2016 Late in the Season, 2014 The Red and the Black. Curated by Gareth Bate and Dawne Rudman. Photos: Gareth Bate.

International Call for Submissions
2023 World of Threads Festival

We’re excited to see your new work!

The World of Threads Festival is a leading international showcase of contemporary fibre and textile art which takes place in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. We are a not-for-profit initiative with charitable status run by a few dedicated volunteers. We believe that some of the most exciting and compelling artwork being made today is happening in the field of fibre arts. Through our initiatives we have discovered some remarkable artists and brought them to the attention of Canadian and international audiences.

After a long hiatus during Covid we are excited to be back with a new Festival and Call for Submissions. Artists from around the world are invited to submit bodies of work, installations or individual pieces to the 2023 World of Threads Festival. The curators will draw from the pool of submissions to create different thematic group exhibitions. We also mount dozens of solo shows and installations.

We are open to submissions of artwork made from Jan. 2019 to April 2023.

Synchronistic Curating:

Something that’s different about World of Threads is that we let the art guide us. Festival Curators Gareth Bate and Dawne Rudman don’t have predetermined curatorial ideas or impose their concepts on the artists. Each new festival is a blank slate. Shows develop entirely out of the submissions received. To find our main exhibitions, we look for connections and common themes between thousands of artworks. These works having been made by hundreds of artists from around the world. Often artists seem to be on the same wavelength during a particular period. Over time, through many hours of sorting through artworks, the exhibition themes just emerge and become clear to us. This method has been very successful and has resulted in compelling and unique exhibitions.

Your work may be for sale and we will try to sell it. There will be a 40% commission on any sales.

Exhibitions: 2012 Installations, 2016 Cosmic Geometry, 2018 Between Presence and Absence, 2018 Flow. Curated by Gareth Bate and Dawne Rudman. Photos: Gareth Bate.

3 Options for Submitting

  • Body of Work
  • Individual Pieces
  • Installations

Submission Deadline: Midnight, Sunday, May 14, 2023

To apply visit our website for full details located under SUBMISSIONS.

2023 Festival Dates: Tuesday, October 10 – Sunday, December 17, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 14, 2023

Festival Venue:
The 2023 Festival will be focused around Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. In addition to the beautiful gallery we also use the display area, halls, lobby and open public spaces of the entire facility.

This building is totally accessible.

Opening Receptions for 2016 Cosmic Geometry and 2018 Flow. Exhibitions: 2012 Quiet Zone, 2016 Cosmic Geometry. Curated by Gareth Bate and Dawne Rudman. Photos: Gareth Bate.

Festival Background

We began in Oakville, Ontario in 1994 as a single exhibition, expanding to a full festival in 1998 and becoming international in 2009. Our last festival in 2018 attracted more than 60,000 visitors.

Our website has become a central hub for lovers of fibre art with our Fibre Artist Interviews series. We currently have a following in 96 countries. To date we have conducted over 137 interviews with Canadian and international artists. We encourage you to spend some time on our new website to see what we have done in the past.

During the Festival we make a lot of effort to connect the artists for networking opportunities with each other. This is a great opportunity to meet fellow fibre artists from around the world in person. Bus tours bring in visitors from Toronto to Oakville for the opening reception.

In 2015 Dawne Rudman and Gareth Bate won the Oakville Arts Council 2015 Community Impact Arts Award, for bringing global attention to Oakville and elevating the fibre/textile art form around the world. In 2016 Dawne Rudman received the Community Spirit Arts Award, recognizing an individual that through their volunteerism has made an invaluable contribution to the Oakville community and contributed to nurturing and enhancing the arts. The World of Threads Festival was the winner of Oakville’s prestigious Community Spirit Award for Volunteerism in the Arts in 2007. The same year Dawne Rudman received Oakville Volunteer of the Year 2007, for her work organizing festival exhibitions.

Previous festivals have featured artists from Countries: Austria, Australia Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Turkey, Ukraine, USA.

Canadian provinces & Territories: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.

What Counts as Fibre or Textile Art?

That’s a good question. Fibre art is incredibly diverse and our definition is continuously shifting. We’re open-minded. Generally fibre art is made from perishable materials that use traditional techniques that include, stitchery, tapestry and papermaking.

We have exhibited a huge variety of techniques and media including sculpture, installation, quilting, weaving and tapestry, hooking, knitting, embroidery, lace making, crocheting, felting, coiling, beading, thread painting, mixed media, soft sculpture, wearable art, basketry, sprang, paper-cut, recycled materials, fibre collage, assemblage, organic materials, quilling, stitch-relief, works using paper – the paper must have been stitched or manipulated in some way.

However, more and more artists are using synthetic materials or materials that have nothing to do with fibre but use sewing or weaving techniques. We call that “fibre inspired” and we’re totally open to experimental approaches. This is a term we coined to encompass artworks that use the techniques, forms, aesthetic or history of fibre arts but are not made from traditional soft or perishable fibre materials, e.g. bronze, wire, paint and plastic manipulation. We can’t exhibit video, sound work or performance.


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Contact Email: Dawne Rudman,
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