Thursday, March 15, 2018

a big deal

I've been using the step ladder in my new studio
with those 10 foot walls.
Huge pieces.
It's all a big deal for me.
my pinwalls are made by covering the plaster with thin plywood and then
stapling 12 inch ceiling tiles, to that.   #husband did it
 I'm designing new work.
 Immense two sided pieces from rescued blankets and table cloths.
Soemtimes I'm dizzy ascending that ladder.
For a while, it felt as if I'd fallen in love.

Friday, March 02, 2018

the healing machine

the healing machine , individual component, baling wire, aluminum foil
This post is about Emery Blagdon's Healing Machine.

the artist believed that his art could cure people
When Emery Blagdon was 48, he started building the healing machine and continued for 31 years until he died in 1986.  He lived in Nebraska and created an environment in a shed creating sculptures made of baling wire, aluminum foil, hand-painted lightbubs, salts, and bright paintings of geometric shapes.
Blagdon believed he was sensitive to electrical current and was investigating the curative powers of  this unseen force.  He hoped that the objects he made might ease human pain and suffering.
Portrait of Emergy Blagdon with his works in progress by Sally and Richard Greenhill 1979
In 1979, a couple from England, Sally and Richard Greenhill, came to Nebraska to photograph the artist.
view of Emery Blagdon's shed with installation of more than 300 hanging and standing sculptures made from bailing wire and aluminum foil
After his death, Emery Blagdon's work was collected together by his friends, including Dan Dryden.  The Kohler foundation acquired the work in 2004 and after conservation, it became part of the John Kohler Arts Center's permanent colleciton.  This includes the workshop and 400 constructions, paintings, and other components.  It is on view until July 1 2018.
It is fascinating that he had the idea that static electricity and its emanating aura would cure those who experience both physical and emotional suffering and so created these fantastical objects.
painted light bulbs

painted wood with nails and thread
His paintings of concentric circles and angualr lines seem to generate power and reflect it outwards.

the healing machine indvidual component, baling wire, wood, aluminum foil sculpture by Emery Blagdon
Here is another article about this artist, and an audio.
a visionary art environment
I was most attracted to the sculptures that used masses of repeated small and interesting shapes.  These were carefully placed within each of the "pretties" (his word for the individual components) so that they channel the earth's natural magnetic energy.  Read more here.
I had to go experience this exhibition twice and still walked away in awe.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

I am the boss of me

On New Year's day, I challenged myself to make stitched collages as a form of daily practice throughout 2018.

I began by cutting plant dyed velvet and flannel fabrics into archetypal first shapes such as circle, cross, square or triangle and stitched them to wool felt pieces.   January 1 is in the center with January 2 (the super moon) stitched to its top edge.  Jan 3, 4, and 5 lined up in a row that fit onto the side of those first two 'days'.  I continued spiraling around the center with Jan 6, 7, 8, 9 on the bottom, Jan 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, on the right side and along the top Jan 15, 16, 17, 18, and (not shown in photo below) Jan 19 and 20.  Thus the collage was built like a quilter constructs a log cabin block.
daily practice number one  January 1 - 20 2018 (shown in progress)

In the second piece, started January 27th, I used previous inspirations now abandonded (UFO's) instead of the flannel shapes.  I am still using the dyed velvet, the wool felt base and the log cabin method of arrangement.
In the photo above, you can see a stitched cross.  When i chose it I felt that it would be a perfect central hearth for the new construction, but as you can see in the photo below, that cross is covered up.
I removed the cross because as I went along, it no longer felt right.  I found some beautiful and moody cyanotypes of clouds from twenty years ago and they changed the atmosphere of the piece.  I went back to the drawers of the unfinished and pinned ten or so different false starts over the cross.  Some of those trials are pictured below.
couched circle
This is not knowing as method 

This is self gathered up

This is trust that I know what I'm doing even though I do not know.
embroidered crosses on curved piecework
Because we do not know what each day will bring. 

Life is an adventure.
a densely stitched light house
Penny Berens and I are in an exhibition together this summer.  The premise of our show,  Cloth of Time is our daily practice and the passage of time.  I will be showing not to know but to go on  and cloud of time and if these stitched collages work out, I will include them.  Penny is showing daily scratchings, criss-crosses and her stone pathwaysPenny is a master of observation, and her work is a record of what she sees and touches.  It connects us to the natural world. 
stitch resisted indigo
Mine is a connection to the inner world
paper pieced star appliqued to wool
My daily practice is about the act of making itself.
People learn about themselves through the things they make (Richard Sennett idea)
reverse shows construction on felt base
Because I am the boss of me I made my own guidelines.

One:  work relatively small in these collages
Two:  the pieces are separate from each other and can vary in length of time depicted, technique and materials.
Three:  once I start I need to be honest and work every day until I feel it is done. 
daily practice number two  January 27 - February 16 2018

My next wall piece will be slightly different than these two.
I'll begin it in a few days.

Art is an adventure, and I am the boss of me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

life affirming

When I make a baby quilt, I go off track in regard to my arty ideas.

Baby quilts are meant to be used and they are automatic heirlooms.
The reverse applique is finished.
The variety of greys are from local plants, the reds are from procion.
Velvet applique in organic cotton.
This one is for my one year old baby, Maia Wren.

It will be saved by her.  Way past my own life time.
I am giving something more than cloth and labour.
More even than my creativity.
I am giving pure love.
the front
It is my fourth grand-child quilt.
the back
put goodness into the world
count on its rippling effect
These baby quilts are personal

and I believe that they have a powerful beauty.
A beauty for the future.
I believe in the future.
I would not be making things without that kind of surety.

Those of us who make things affirm life.
The emotions of caring and hope and love and a little worry are transferred into my work

through touch.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

for the love of craft, an auction

 Kai Chan

Dawn (left)  and Not So Perfect (right)

"the circle in the square structure is to capture the movement of air from the sun, the moon, the stars, day light, night light, our breath and heart beat."

Japanese gampi paper, silver rod, thread.
 Judith Tinkl

White Out
found fabric and buttons
Dorothy Caldwell

Red Clover White Wheat
plant dyed and printed cotton with applique and stitch

One more week to bid online or in person on these and twenty other pieces by Ontario's finest makers. The items are currently on exhibition at the Ontario Craft Gallery 1106 Queen West in Toronto, closing reception 5 - 7 pm February 15.

I've been a member of Craft Ontario for years - almost from their beginning.  My work is included in the organization's promotional video.  I encourage collectors of fine craft to follow this link for further information and to register to bid.  Here.  or here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

life's a beach

Living near the water and sky keeps me in awe of the power and beauty of nature.  Watching the weather seems to put me into a reverie and I find myself pondering life and how fast time goes by.  Manitoulin's famous wildflowers are another source of wonder, and I am learning so much about them as I try to find original ways to paint them. However, my very favourite topic for paintings is my own children.  They are growing up so fast and I love to paint them near the water.  Like all parents I am concerned for their future in a world that is not always so safe or beautiful.

Judith Martin 2002

This winter I have been having more difficulty than usual with blogging.  Three reasons:

1.  I have been making a lot of new work - all in the rough design stage and my mind and heart have been with these new pieces.  Matisse famously said "cut off your tongue" when in the act of making art.,  Perhaps that's why I am at a loss for what to say here.

2.  Every day I've been I doing a little gentle art of swedish death cleaning.  As I go through my stuffed drawers and shelves and toss or give away something every single day, I am finding my past life and am flooded with memories. This explains why some posts are aboout my early work and the importance of motherhood within that work. (For example, the image and statementat the top of this post are from an exhibition I had 15 years ago in the local museum.)

3. I've been working on my left leg.  A yoga class, a swimming class, my phsyio-daily exercises. These things take me away from my work and blog. 

Thank you for continuing to read what I do put up here.  I appreciate your support.

Friday, February 02, 2018

a work in progress

Easily inspired.

I got this quilt top out last week to finish up with batt and backing but changed my mind.

All I really love is the central pinwheel square.
So I removed all the red and stitched it back together much simpler.

In my work I use the same methods again and again,
but each whirl around the spiral gets me closer to my truth
as I do, undo, re-do
(Louise Bourgeois' mantra)

yes, there is a loss of what I knew before
but it's important also to lose what I think I know now

because in order to create something new it is necessary to enter into the unknown

be alert
don't try too hard
go slow  (Agnes Martin's mantra)
I've come back to dots.

I try to make cloths that excite my eye and touch my emotions

it seems to take courage
We are always afraid of falling.  L.B.