May 21

Barclay Parade gets a Facelift

by Caralyn Macdonald · 0 comments

Yesterday Downtown Calgary and the City of Calgary launched a new banner program along Barclay Parade, giving it a needed facelift. These colorful banners is the first step in making Barclay a vibrant gateway linking the commercial core to the river and position Barclay as our key art walk in the downtown area.

Through conversations with people walking down the street the first comment I got was that it looked like “tie-dye”. Well they are, but it is done in the style of the Japanese art of Shibori. Wondering what Shibori is? Well it is the fabric cousin of the well-known Japanese paper art of Origami.

Shibori in Japanese means “to bind”. The technique is most commonly known in North America as “tie-dye” but with study it becomes something much more sophisticated and interesting.

Now the art lesson – Within the art of Shibori, a specific technique called Itajime was used. In order to create a pattern on the cloth, the cloth is first folded and then clamped with simple wooden shapes on either side of the folded bundle. The clamped bundle is then immersed in a vat of dye. Where the wood is clamped, the dye is resisted. This resist creates the pattern, which is only visible once the bundle is removed from the dye and opened. Occasionally the pleats are left in the fabric to create more dimensionality.

Every one of these banners was hand done by local artist Tara Griffiths.

The banners are paired to progress through five basic designs (from simple to more complex) and five colours around the colour wheel (from citrus orange, brilliant yellow, spring green, forest greet, aqua, to deep blue) as you walk on Barclay Mall from Stephen Avenue Walk to Eau Claire.

With the sun finally out and the lack of snow, the progression of bright colours helps to keep the area vibrant, and guides the eye down the street.

Next time you need to get from point A to point B, go down Barclay and take a moment to enjoy these pieces of art and pick your favourite colour – mine is green.


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