UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page UBC Home Page -
News Events Directories Search UBC myUBC Login
- -
UBC Public Affairs
UBC Reports
UBC Reports Extras
Goal / Circulation / Deadlines
Letters to the Editor & Opinion Pieces / Feedback
UBC Reports Archives
Media Releases
Services for Media
Services for the Community
Services for UBC Faculty & Staff
Find UBC Experts
Search Site

UBC Reports | Vol. 50 | No. 9 | Oct. 7, 2004

The Pleasures of Silk

Novel program will see Vancouver street youth raise silk

By Hilary Thomson

Raising silk worms for a new project involving UBC landscape architecture students and Lower Mainland street youth is the next step in Joanna Staniszkis’ long and creative association with UBC.

Staniszkis is a practicing textile artist who joined UBC in 1969. An associate professor in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, she teaches textile design as well as design and creativity in the landscape architecture program. She is one of 29 individuals to be honoured for reaching 35 years of service at UBC. In addition to this group - known collectively as Tempus Fugit, or Time Flies -- the Quarter Century Club will induct 47 faculty and librarians who have reached 25 years of service at a dinner to be held Oct. 19.

Staniszkis’ project explores the cycle of silk production. Six mulberry trees have been planted at the rear of the MacMillan Bldg. on campus to serve as a leaves-to-go fast food outlet for the hundreds of silk worms she is raising.

“I have discovered there is a tradition in many countries of children raising silk worms as a hobby,” says Staniszkis. “With these little creatures, I hope to give street youth something to care for and a low-tech pastime.”

She has planted mulberry cuttings on the roof of Vancouver’s Covenant House, a crisis intervention centre and residence for homeless and runaway youth. The trees will mature in about two years when she plans to engage the residents in raising worms, producing silk and creating art objects of silk cocoons and “reeled” or roughly spun silk.

In her own art, Staniszkis is using both cocoons and worms -- which look like caterpillars -- to create installations such as an antique pair of silk slippers “decorated” with cocooning silk worms.

Of her 35 years at UBC, Staniszkis highlights a couple of changes: the increase in international students in her classes, and changes in the overall look of the campus as construction creates new and interesting spaces between and around buildings.

Something that hasn’t changed is her love of teaching and joy working with students, she says.

“I have a whole big group of students who continue to correspond with me over the years about their careers and exhibitions of creative work.”

For a complete list of 2004 Quarter Century Club inductees and Tempus Fugit members, visit www.ceremonies.ubc.ca/qcc.

- - -  

Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

to top | UBC.ca » UBC Public Affairs

UBC Public Affairs
310 - 6251 Cecil Green Park Road, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
tel 604.822.3131 | fax 604.822.2684 | e-mail public.affairs@ubc.ca

© Copyright The University of British Columbia, all rights reserved.