Enter a home anywhere in Canada and you will find textiles - from the plain and practical to the rich and ornamental. Textiles come from everywhere, whether it's an urban apartment or a remote village in the Far North.
Textiles express the diversity of our country. People from around the world bring age-old textile traditions to Canada from their homelands. Unlike other valued artifacts, textiles are usually portable and light, making many of them seasoned world travellers.
Stories about magic, religion and ritual are communicated through a textile's appearance and construction. Textiles teach us about human interaction with the natural world and about how we adapt and transform. From the most powerful rulers to the most humble among us, textiles have a place in every chapter of world history.
Textiles have a role in shaping our world. From Eastern traders who braved inhospitable terrain to travel the ancient Silk Road, to European fur traders who introduced glass beads to Canadian First Nations peoples in the 17th century, beautiful textiles have forever been objects of human desire.
In many ancient cultures, weaving handspun thread is among the oldest forms of human invention, pre-dating ceramics, the wheel and even written language. Textiles are among the most beautiful and complex works of human hands. Long before the introduction of machine-made products, people used local materials to create and adorn their belongings.