Monday, October 20, 2014

little gatherings

How does making help us develop thinking?
How does re-making help us develop re-thinking?
These little bundles started out over 3 years ago.  See here.
Each contains four hemlock twigs.  There are more of them than I thought.  That's nice.
Each bundle is wrapped five times.  
dyed cloth
embroidery threads
wool yarn
red cotton thread 
They seem to have reached a resting place. 
Maybe they are finished.
Maybe they will continue to evolve.

Like me.

Monday, October 13, 2014

key note

I take my work seriously.
I take it everywhere. When the kids were little I took it to playgrounds and ballet rehearsals.
Now I take it to doctor appointments and on air plane trips.  People ask me "what are you making?"
That is a difficult question for me and I answer very carefully.
Sometimes I avoid giving an answer.
Because the what is not as important to me as the fact that I am making.
I am a moving thread.
I am in the process of becoming.
But that is hard to explain.
We are here to begin a fibre festival.  We have come to this northern ontario town at this period of time to be with other people who get it.  Who understand how much we love to do it. We love to stitch, weave, spin, dye, felt..all these things.  We love the process.

Remember what the key is.  Fibre.
And what the note is.  The process itself.


(this post is a hint of the key note address I will be giving this coming Friday evening during the opening ceremony of the Espanola fibre festival.  The Manitoulin Circle Project will be on display, still room in some of the great workshops here)(wish you could all come)

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

cloud of time

cloud of time 2014 Judith e Martin  365 days marked with stitch
Time is a gift
Time is a whirl
time is a zone
one day = one complete skein of cotton floss used up
time is spent
time is marked
                                                  we are so small in the big picture
                                                                  time is memories
time is the most valuable thing we can spend

Friday, October 03, 2014

Yin Yin

Yin Yin side a detail Judith e Martin 2014

The title of this piece refers to the philosophy of yin and yang.  
If yang is fast, yin is slow.  If yang is sun, yin is moon. 
Yang is my outer self, while yin is my inner.

The photo above shows the first side of this small piece.  
The raw tactility of the wrong side of reverse appliqué dots is emphasized.
I consider them metaphors for our interesting, vulnerable inner selves.
Yin Yin side b  Judith e Martin 2014
The back of the piece, 
usually against the wall,
is marked with the right side of those very same dots.   

This work explores the idea of inner self.
Humans have two sides, public and private.
With two 'wrong' sides this piece represents private and private.  

Included in Visions: The Sky's the Limit opening today in San Diego, California.

It's quite small, only 27" x 36"
Hand stitched with red button thread.
Full views of both sides are here

Monday, September 29, 2014

days like this

 cloud of time 2014, reverse side shown in progress
 Our weather has been heavenly.  Above, morning with brush pile.
I am completing the large piece, Cloud of Time. (pictured above in the foreground and on the right in the image below)
Inspired by rag rugs, it has already shown in two art galleries.  I am stitching a year, one day at a time.  (One day = one  complete skein of embroidery floss couched around strips of linen damask and found blue cloth)  Last fall in exhibition the piece held about 90 days (shown here) and by February there were 301 days completed. (here).  
Above, the final 64 days.  I'll stitch these panels to the rest of the artwork and there it will be.
A year of days.
Ned and the brush pile, early evening, same day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

cottage studio

Lightly child, lightly
Learn to do everything light-ly
Even though you're feeling deeply,
Lightly let things happen
And lightly cope with them on tip toes
And with no luggage
grand daughter Aili Evelyn 6 months and her proud dad
Completely unencumbered.

Aldous Huxley

Friday, September 19, 2014

the french shore tapestry

detail of French Shore Tapestry, copyright J C Roy and Christina Roy 2007-2009
A detail from The French Shore Tapestry, Conche , Newfoundland designed by Jean Claude Roy and his wife Christina and embroidered by women who live in the village.

I have been thinking about this post for a while.  I want to talk about the beautiful embroidered tapestry that Ned and I visited when we were in Newfoundland last week, the French Shore Tapestry in Conche.  We met Joan Simmonds, the program director of the interpretive center where the 220 foot long tapestry hangs and found out how the tapestry came about.

In 2002, Jean Claude Roy, a prolific painter of scenes of Newfoundland, was inspired to create an artwork that would show the history of Newfoundland, and he and his wife Christina developed the idea of a tapestry over the next two years.  They presented their idea to the French Shore Historical Society in 2004 and offered to work with them as partners.  The resulting tapestry project began in 2007, a co-production between the society and Christina and Jean Claude Roy, and involved many local men and women from the village of Conche.  The complete history of the tapestry and some of the story and images from it are on the dedicated website,  but nothing is better than making that trek up the northern peninsula of Newfoundland to see (and want to touch, but not touch) this artwork in person.
detail of French Shore Tapestry, copyright JC Roy and Christina Roy, 2007 - 2009  photo Judith e Martin)
In the style of the famous Bayeux tapestry, it tells the story of Newfoundland's northern peninsula's settlement.  The fishing was so wonderful off the shore of Newfoundland, that the French and English came over from Europe in the 1700's to fish for cod.  They stayed for the season, salting the fish in order to take it back home again.   There is so much history in that area of newfoundland - a viking base camp (unesco site), the grenfell mission hospital in St Anthony, as well as the amazing rugged landscape and sparse fishing villages of the area.
But what I really really wanted to mention in this post is the power of the co-operative nature of this huge pieces.  So many hands are connected together.  When I was working on the Manitoulin circle project, it was the connection with other women that was so rewarding, and the resulting beautiful textiles we made together were just the proof.  I am changed forever by that project, yet how can I work that thought into this post?
French Shore Tapestry detail, copyright JC Roy and Christina Roy, 2007-2009  (photo Judith e Martin)
Also, the artistic imagery drawn by Jean Claude Roy, an artist who lives in both France and in Newfoundland floored me.   He used fantastic scale in combination with an imaginative and often humorous graphic novel approach to tell the very beautiful historical tale.
Above is the final panel - a tracing of all the stitchers hands.  I love it.  I also love the website page where they introduce themselves and speak a bit about the experience of stitching together.  Many of these stitchers are continuing to meet and have started work on another immense project, a tapestry that tells about the important (to Newfoundland's fishing and settlement) Treaty of Utrecht.  Wow.

The famous Bayeux tapestry (900 years old) now has its own museum in Normandy, France.  There is also an embroidered copy of it - with a museum in Reading UK.

Someday, I'd like to see the fabulous Keiskamma tapestry, also inspired by the Bayeux tapestry.That South African embroidery hangs in the parliament buildings in Cape Town, the blog  gives a concise story of it's formation and the women who stitched it.
Keiskamma Tapestry (detail)
Also in South Africa, a tapestry about  The Creation of The World hangs in Johannesberg, created by the bethesda foundation embroiderers.  Valerie Hearder  of African Threads is taking a tour to South Africa next spring, view itinerary here and they will be spending time in Cape Town.  One could make the trek!

It is inspiring that through sewing and internet we connect with each other across the world, across high art and craft.  In England there is the is the Quaker Tapestry, stitched by 4,000 people and the Overlord Tapestry worked by the Royal School of Needlework.  Then there is the Palestinian tapestry that I had not heard of until just now.

Last week, the Quilt of Belonging came to Manitoulin Island and that was immensely powerful. A group project that originated in Canada but takes in the entire world, it deserves a separate post.

Images of the french shore tapestry have been approved by the artists and the curator of the interpretation centre.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

art can connect us to something that is lost

take my heart like a hand and its fingers, Judith e Martin stitched collage (detail), 2005
At times, I wonder what is worth posting about on this blog. 
What am I comfortable with showing?
My work is so large and slow that it seems to stand still when I post about the progress I make with it, day by day.  
And anyway, the blog is not my art.
This blog is just a journal.
It actually takes time away from my art.
Why then, do I carry on with it?
Newfoundland's northern tip, September 2014
I want my art to communicate who I am.
I also want my art to help my viewer access something unnameable within themselves.    
Artist Ann Hamilton believes that "art can connect us to something that is lost."   
By this, I think she means those ideas, dreams, and loved ones that we carry around inside us.

Maybe the blog writing helps me to connect with you in that way. 
Maybe it is my art.