Friday, December 19, 2014

the truth is not a story

Time is not a line but a dimension
Like the dimensions of space
If you can bend space you can bend time also.
My brother told me that.
I didn't understand what he meant, maybe he didn't explain it very well.
He was already moving away from the imprecision of words.
But I began to think of time as having a shape
Something you could see.
You don't look back along time, but down through it, like water.
Sometimes this comes to the surface, sometimes that, sometimes nothing.
Nothing goes away. 
Images in this post are of my journals, starting to pile up in corners.  I am going through each one a final time, and then wrapping it shut.   The text in italics in this post is from Margaret Atwood's stunning novel about an artist in mid-life.  Cat's Eye.
I'm re-reading it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

beginning with time: day

Another update on the wild pure piece.
I've been stitching diligently and have filled the central area with strips of plant dyed wool stitched with wool threads.
It's so large, I can't get back far enough to photograph it head on.  It covers the entire design wall in my home studio...the photo above was taken from the doorway.  98 inches wide, 85 inches high.
The earthy warm brown of the reclaimed overdyed wool blanket (previously pink) is becoming connected to the central part with rows of seed stitch.  
We've lost our snow.  The day is dark and rainy here.
I'll show the night side of  Beginning With Time in a future post.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

At 60, can I stand perfectly still for an hour?

rhythm of a true space (revisited)  1994  and 2014  by Suzy Lake  inkjet print on vinyl on wood, figures larger than life size 

What kind of art do I respond to?

Extended Breathing in the Rivera Frescoes  2013-2014  by Suzy Lake  ink jet print
rooted in labour
grounded in nature
Extended Breathiing at the World Trade Center  2012 - 2014  by Suzy Lake   chromographic print
based on repetition
expessing concern for our world
Are You Talking to Me? 1979  gelatin silver prints with applied colour by Suzy Lake  "I was very deliberately thinking about music.  I was trying to create a very frenetic rhythm so that the audience would understand the anxiety"
The photos in this post are from the Suzy Lake retrospective now on at the Art gallery of Ontario.  Suzy Lake began making her autobiographical/conceptual photographs in the early 70's, her work is an important part of the feminist revolution in the art world.

Perhaps her most famous pieces were made when she was an attractive young woman (such as the large gallery installation of self portraits shown above and detail here) but what I was drawn to the most were were the pieces about a woman artist ageing.

The extended breathing series came from her asking herself   "At 60, can I stand perfectly still for an hour?"  Time lapse photographs over a period of 60 minutes show the ghosting of the world around her while she stands still and strong.

"A celebration of breath and life"  Suzy Lake

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

go slow stop thinking

I have been working with intensity on my piece for Wild Pure Aesthetic Wonder.
I've named the one panel I'm focusing on Beginning With Time. (continued from here)  The size has increased and I am glad that I can no longer touch the edges.
I used borders to achieve the increase in scale but now have some design challenges and not much time left before I have to ship the panel to Newfoundland.

I am loving the process.  Ordered seed stitch.  Accumulation.
I hope that what my work communicates is the quiet joy of making and at the same time the feeling that we are each just a tiny speck.
go slow....stop thinking.....look around
Van Gogh

Thursday, December 04, 2014


someone recently used the word ethereal to describe my work
in the bedroom window 
What does ethereal mean?  I had to look it up.
Google definition:
extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world
in living room picture window 
where I stitch every day 
I finished grand-daughter Aili's quilt top last week.  A hand pieced log cabin shown here.
Aili is an Irish girl's name, also common in Finland and Estonia.
Aili means 'light'.

Monday, December 01, 2014

cross and plus

yellow-blue 9 patch 4 by Eleanor McCain  2003  52"x52"
A second post about the cross symbol.  Some prefer to call it the plus sign....that's kinda nice.

Eleanor McCain's work (above) with this shape is nearly iconic.  See more beautiful quilts using the cross on her website.
 A Galla Placidia by simon hantai oil and wax on linen  130" x 167" 1958-59
Simon Hantai (1933-2008) was given a retrospective in 2013 in the Centre Pompidou.  Renowned for folding the canvases before painting them, his shibori-like practice had stunning results.  If you have time, the video of the installation is worthwhile.  Here.

I saw these two paintings by Simon Hantai in 2009 when we were in Paris.  So moved, I wrote about both my journal, and as I look at them again now, I am still inspired.  He worked on the pink one in the mornings, and the darker one in the afternoons every day for one year.  (this detail found here)  
Ecriture Rose, coloured ink and gold leaf on linen, 130 x 167 inches by Simon Hantai 1958-59
Both were created early in his career (he was 35) and I like them because they are covered with small marks, revealed when one steps closer.  Another video that shows close ups of Ecriture Rose is here.
ecriture rose by simon hantai ink and gold leaf on linen 1958
Simon Hantai withdrew from the art world in 1983 at the age of 60 because he didn't like the market-driven aspect of it.  He continued to paint however - just didn't exhibit for 15 years.  This detail about his career is very moving for me and is written about in this hyperallergic article.
cross blanket by pia wallen 
Lastly for this post, Swedish designer Pia Wallen's blankets are currently inspiring (other) modern quilters too.  Example here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

the archetype of the cross

the cross is a universal symbol from the most remote times
the weaving on right is by Susan Johnson  Pot Calls Kettle Black
 it is a cosmic symbol, a point of communication between heaven and earth
a symbol of archetypal man/woman capable of infinite and harmonious expansion on both the horizontal and vertical planes
  the vertical line is celestial, spiritual, intellectual, positive, active, male
 the horizontal line is earthly, rational, intuitive, negative, passive, female
the combination of these two lines - androgyne

the cross represents dualism in nature
this cross - purchased through 10,000 villages,  - made in Africa
It is union of opposites      
the four elements of the world are united at the 5th point, the centre.

reference: J.C. Cooper

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

touching and seeing

 there is a circle of the touched and the touching
 there is a circle of the visible and the seeing
there is even an inscription of the touching in the visible

of the seeing in the tangible

and the converse
Merleau - Ponty