Lexi Bainas column: Summer Games torchlighting next week will be a great show

Also: 10 half-day workshops, all with a hands-on connection to the creation of yarns and textiles

Victoria’s Chafafa are releasing their new album at their Duncan appearance. (Submitted)

Alison Irwin, one of our favourite weavers, slipped a note through the back fence to say the Tzouhalem Spinners & Weavers Guild has a great idea.

It’s 10 half-day workshops, all with a hands-on connection to the creation of yarns and textiles, which will be held April 21 and 22 in the meeting rooms at the Cowichan Exhibition.

“Some sessions have been designed for beginners while others require students to have previous experience,” Irwin says.

What types of classes are being offered? Warping an inkle loom to weave a narrow band, blending CMYK-dyed fibres to create colourful handspun yarns, needle felting a little hedgehog topped with curly locks of wool, spinning your first continuous thread on a wheel, sampling a range of silk fibres, hooking a trivet in Tunisian crochet, using the buttonhole stitch for needlepoint lace, weaving a tension tray from dyed reeds, spinning exotic qiviut (musk ox), and braiding bold Kumihimo patterns on a foam disk.

Additional information on each three-hour workshop plus the registration form can be found on the event’s blog: www.cowichanh2hfibrearts.ca. Costs vary from $40 to $75 depending on what supplies are included.

Check to see if there are any spaces left by calling Irwin at 250-746-6330 or Pat Montgomery at 250-246-0265.


E. J. Hughes is one of Canada’s noted artists. His work, collected by every major gallery in the country, is immediately recognizable and often fetches more than $1 million at auction. Yet the artist lived a quiet life, preferring to paint in solitude in his home studio in Duncan. A new book by Robert Amos, called E. J. Hughes Paints Vancouver Island offers, along with a brief biography and rundown of the artist’s methods, pictures of more than 100 paintings, photos, annotated sketches, and handwritten notes from the artist’s estate, showcasing how he saw his beloved Vancouver Island. Buyers can see paintings of Sidney, Goldstream, Malahat Drive, Cowichan Bay, Genoa Bay, Maple Bay, Ladysmith, Gabriola Island, Shawnigan Lake, Salt Spring Island and more. This full colour hardcover coffee table book is scheduled for a late May release and will be celebrated with events in Cowichan Bay and Duncan, according to Tori Elliott of TouchWood Editions. Keep an eye open for it.


For the first time since the band was formed some 16 years ago, Chafafa are performing in Duncan and at the same time releasing their latest CD Under The Royal Oak.

The group, a Victoria based quintet playing original compositions and unusual renditions of some classics, with a style that might be called supper club jazz, are playing the Duncan Showroom on Saturday, April 14 starting at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 door or $12 in advance.


Harwood (Woody) L. Reimer, board member and concertmaster of the Cowichan Camerata String Orchestra is presenting A Suite Spring at Duncan United Church on Friday, April 20 starting at 7:30 p.m.

Of special note for followers of this ensemble, Reimer says, “this program is the last one to be conducted by our founding musical director Garth M. Williams who will be stepping down from this position at the conclusion of this our 11th season.

“The concert program has an eclectic mix of pieces including soothing classics of Mozart and Tchaikovsky; select renaissance dances from the ‘Capriol Suite’ by Peter Warlock; perky British folk songs by Percy Grainger and John Rutter; truly Canadian folk songs including Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘Canadian Railroad Trilogy’ arranged by our very own Garth M. Williams plus some chart-topping movie and theater hits.

“There is also a suite of energetic and intriguing music from the video game Battlefield 1 arranged by Garth Williams especially for our orchestra. A gem in the program is special guest clarinetist Annick Richardson joining the strings in playing the ‘Adagio’ from Mozart’s timeless Clarinet Concerto.”

Music lovers can even mingle with the musicians after the concert while enjoying some of the refreshments that are provided.

Tickets are available from Camerata members, at Ten Old Books in Duncan, and at the door. They’re $15 for adults, $5 for students and $30 for family.


Here is a detail from the cover of Amos’ new book on E. J. Hughes. (Submitted)

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