Friday, November 17, 2017

Hold Me

I made this quilt just as we were moving from Kenora to Manitoulin in 1993.

I remember stitching it in the truck during the 2-day drive back to Kenora to organize the moving van.  We left our kids with Ned's sister so that they could continue to attend their new schools.

I remember the beautiful views of autumn colour along the north shore of Lake Superior.
I remember quiet time with my husband in the vehicle as we drove back to the house I had loved.
I stitched, he drove.
We talked and looked out the window.

The text in the quilt borders is by Diane Ackerman from her book A Natural History of the Senses.  It reads:
When you consider something like death, then it probably doesn't matter if we try too hard, are awkward sometimes, and care for one another too deeply, in order to know life.
I entered the quilt into the biennial Fibreworks show in Cambridge galleries the following spring, and it was awarded the purchase award by the jurors, one of whom was Ralph Beney.
It became part of the permanent Canadian Fibre art collection and has been in the vaults of that gallery for over 20 years.  Hard to believe.
I am moved to write about this piece today, (and scan the old slides I have of it) because the Cambridge Art Galleries are showing the entirety of the collection this winter.  The launch is next week and there will be a symposium about the collection in January.
I believe that it is important for public galleries to collect work of artists.
I am so proud that Hold Me is part of this particular collection.

Also, my work is in permanent collections of two other art galleries, both in northern Ontario.  Click on their titles for more info. When Asked: She Replied  and Canadian Pioneer.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Notes from my journal

 silk and wool coloured with coneflower and iron
My teacher told me that my work did not fit into the modern aesthetic. 

But we aren't in the modern aesthetic.  That has happened.  Whistler.  Monet.  Monet only became really good when he was 70 and did those water lily paintings.

It took him his whole life to find his own voice
Monet empowered himself. 

Monet said to himself - "why should I paint a background -  a foreground -a middleground - when all I really want to show is the foreground?"   Those water-lily paintings are  huge. 

Monet would have failed art school.

Use your imagination.  Work beyond the eye.
What is imagination?   Is it your mind?  Not only.
You have to let your heart loose too.
Connect with your HEART.

If you want to reach a different level - an inner attitude, more pleasurable, more imaginative - then you need to go beyond what other people think.

Carl Beam
Images in this post are of fabrics I dyed with plants this past month.  I used coneflowers, walnuts, iron, and time.

As I continue with my project of reading old journals and then wrapping them, (see here),  I come across remarkable things.  In this post I am sharing notes I took while listening to Manitoulin Island's Governor General's Award winning artist, Carl Beam  speak in 2004.     

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

commonplace holiness

we have astonishment
there is life held within materials
and in the art made from them
This is an idea Giuseppe Penone speaks about often.
Astonishment.  Poetry.
That there is life held within materials.
My friend, Connie Wilson,  gave me these handkerchiefs.  (I wrote about them here)
She died on Saturday and I miss her.
she was a daughter of the spirit,
a friend for two dozen years,
she taught me how to love

Friday, November 03, 2017

Britta Marakatt-Labba

A note to myself - but that I am sharing with all of you for inspiration.

Britta Marakatt Labba's beautiful embroidered tapestry about the history of the Sami people from Lapland.  (wool on linen)

The complete textile is pictured beautifully on the Textile Forum blog - click here.
A few photos are also on Modernist Aesthetic, posted today.

The tapestry is 24 meters long and has the elements I love about Finnish (and Swedish) textiles.
Sumptuousness yet pared down
Just the right amount of empty space
The artist speaks about the Goddess myths and the reindeer on the textile forum link.  xo

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Mended World is in Houston

I'd like to begin by thanking the over 100 women who came out to stitch not just this panel, but three more of similar size.  They came once a week for 4 years between 2009 and 2013.
 Please notice that most of the construction and the quilting is done by hand.
We called it the circle project, referring to the circle within a square archetype that makes up the design of all four panels.  Circle project also refers to us, the circle of women who stitched together.
We who made four large meditation panels that are permanently installed in the Little Current United Church on Manitoulin Island Canada.  A gift for our community.
This panel is named Mended World.
The circle area needed to be put together with a mending stitch - a back stitch - because all the little pieces would fall away from each other otherwise.  That circle area, the world area, needed extra care.
It is the making of this quilt that is the back story of Mended World.

Making as healing for the women who stitched and laughed together.  Making as healing for our planet.
I got an email over the wekend asking me to record an audio statement for the International Quilt Festival special exhibition, Masterworks: Abstract &Geometric.  These recordings will eventually become  available through the SAQA website.   Here's mine if you want to hear my voice. xo

The text in this post is my 90 second sound bite for Mended World.  (A big Thank You to my local community for loyal support.)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

loving planet earth the way she loves her linens

starting a new piece inspired by
women's handkerchiefs and red thread
and our Canadian poet, PK Page

the trees must be washed and the grasses and mosses
they have to be polished as if made of green brass.
the rivers and little streams with their hidden cresses
and pale coloured pebbles
and fools gold
must be washed and starched
or shined into brightness,
the sheets of lake water
smoothed with the hand
and the foam of the oceans pressed into neatness

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Rowland Ricketts in Toronto

 I spent Sunday with Rowland Ricketts.
 He was in Toronto for five days and the last day was a master class.
The images in this post show his work with stitch resist (above) and rice paste resist (below)
Click here to read Rowland's inspiring story.
Rowland's wife Chimani, wove the 13 metres of 14" wide cotton kimono cloth shown above.
He dyed it with stitch resist.
We learned some of his techniques for stitch resist during the workshop.
Rowland Ricketts is pictured above in front of my stitch resist learning sample
Rowland's teaching sample with the studio's irons
The smell of an indigo vat just as it begins fermenting and springs to life is one of ripeness, a moment of rich potentiality when, as a maker, I momentarily stand between the history of the materials and processes that helped me get the indigo thus far and the promise of all the work that the vat is still yet to realize.  Rowland Ricketts 
I am aware of a connection that leads not just from my teachers to me, but one that reaches back to my teacher's teachers and the people they learned from, back into a past in which the processes I uses were developed through the accumulated experiences of all who have ever worked with this unique dye.   Rowland Ricketts. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

dyeing with flowers

Over the weekend I started dyeing again, after a long break.
Above is blanket weight white wool with the centres of coneflowers laid in a grid of dots
I was inspired by woodland quilter's use of an  "iron blanket".  I used cotton flannel yardage that I had soaked in solution of old nails, vinegar and water for 3 weeks but I suggest you click on link to see Kathy's post for  further instructions. 

The two fabrics are carefully bundled together and then steamed.
Nature holds a secret to harmony
(Terry Tempest Williams)
unwrapped and hung to dry before rinsing, my dotty cloths are shown below with sun spots through the leaves

left is cotton (the iron blanket) and right is wool (both fabrics were originally white)
For a beautiful gray colour, I put tea bags into the remaining rusty water to steep.
What lies under stillness?


(Terry Tempest Williams)
remembering to experience each moment as something new