Wednesday, April 26, 2017

mid west america

Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska
Beautiful names
Astounding views of emptiness and fertility
two days on the interstate
traveling to Lincoln Nebraska with Bethany Garner, who drove all the way
we told each other our life stories
 and I stitched in car!

love is too dynamic to be tied to a person's destiny
it is an emotion

Saturday, April 22, 2017

To Not Be So Lonely

This post is about the performance Mariana Lafrance did at her vernissage on April 12 for her exhibition entitled To Not Be So Lonely at the Art gallery of Sudbury.
She used the two puppets that she had made earlier from cotton dyed with walnuts.  She set up a checkerboard for them to play with made from charcoal dust and flour and her grandmother's china.
During the performance Mariana manipulated the puppets to play the checker game with a pool cue, each taking turn.  She spoke for them, using a childish aggressive dialog in French and in English.

'What's your favourite colour?'
"C'est le noir"
'Black, you like black?  That's not a colour"
"Ce n'est pas une couleur?"
'Nope, not a colour.  Me, I like pink.  Purple too. Pink or purple.
Those are my favourite colours."
"Rose et mauve? Ça c'est des couleurs de fille."
'I can't wait to be a grown-up.'
'When I'm an adult, everyone will be nice to me."
 When kings were made, a cup was placed in a saucer and tea was poured.

"Do you want any sugar"
'Sure, I'll have some sugar'
"We don't have any sugar"
"What do I do with the history that belongs to me and to my family?"  asks the artist.
"Checkers is a war game."
As well as the assemblage left behind from the performance, Mariana's exhibition consists of 3 videos, 3 textile drawings and several photographs.  In every instance there is a duality or a feeling of twinning in the imagery.  Mariana also uses her hands very expressively in all 3 videos, giving them a sensuousness rare in this media.  The exhibition will be on view until May 14 2017.

She explained her ideas about Not Be So Lonely to the gathering who attended and I quote her below:
The intent of this exhibition is not about the loneliness of the individual but more about the process of opening up to people around you, both as a person and as a culture.  In the process of opening up, you find that the others around you are more similar to you than different, and you find that they are quite like yourself, like twins, in a basic and essential way.  You bring "you' to that other person, and that other person brings themselves to you. Once you've done this you start to see humanity as yourself and others,  mixed up and yet essentially the same.      Mariana Lafrance. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

work in progress

soul is the essence
essence  from within
it is where everything begins

Van Morrison
I look for the poetic in my world of experience and under my own skin.
In my heart.
A recovery of the world through poetics.
A reclaiming of sensory experience, seeing tasting hearing touching
A reclamation of the body.

Adrienne Rich
Above are four vintage ironing pads lined up left to right as they were layerd on the board, bottom to top.

The dark one on the left is natural wool and probably about 90 years old
I think the singed one next to it is also a wool felt.
The third one, also felt, but it might have acrylic mixed with the wool.  It is nearly new.
The last one is a scorch resistent metallic fabric that covers them all.

I've had these since 2006, the year Ned's mother passed.
I could not throw them away
They held something.  They looked like figures.
Maternal stories are forgotten and lost and our culture encourages this amnesia.
What is the poetic meaning held by these old cloths?

and heat
and labour and protection
and presenting ourselves neatly to society
and women standing up and bearing down
and daily repetition
and the smell of damp hot wool
and singe marks
and body-size and shape

why would I add red thread?
red thread is often added to domestic cloth as a marker, usually intials
red thread is also a protection element found in traditional world garments
The work of art is like an act of mourning.
Mourning is a way to work through feelings of loss.
All creation is a re-creation of a loved and lost object.

Melanie Klein
the body and the spirit
the self in the center
the layers of time and of labour
Cloth is like the body.
It gets old, it survives, it holds memories and dreams - all at the same time.
 not just pretty little stitching marks

Soul is what you've been through
What's true for you
Where you going to
What you're gonna do

Van Morrison

finished pieces can be seen here

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Her Interior Wilderness

Over the weekend I went out on the deck and stitched this piece,
enjoying the spring sunshine.
I outlined white petal shapes with black wool thread, added french knots here and there.
Stitching on paper is a slow way to make marks that appear to be spontaneous.
I thought these looked pretty free and easy,
until I looked at the reverse side.
Here it did look care-free. Intuitive.  WOW

I prefer this 'wrong' side.
I wonder if this is a metaphor for how we prefer our life to be like?
Sensuous and unplanned, barely contained.
Just going. Doing.  and it is beautiful.
I continued to work from the pretty side.  I like the pretty side.
But I love the messy side.
Her Interior Wilderness
That's the kind of day it was.
The eyes of the spirits winking off the water.
Richard Wagamese

Friday, April 07, 2017

I am not myself

I was not myself.
So who do you think you are then?
Think again.
Whatever it was, was trying to tell me to do things, not exactly for any reasons but just to see if such acts were possible.
Motives were not necessary.
It was only necessary to give in.
How strange.
The birds began to stir, and then to sing, as if each of them had thought of it separately, up there in the trees.  They woke far earlier than I would have thought possilbe.
People have thoughts they'd sooner not have.
It happens a lot.

All text by Alice Munro from Dear Life collection of short stories
All images from 2010 file on one of our trips to Alaska to visit the grand children. (the completed piece is here)

Just because this is how I feel today.
I am not myself.
And I just found out that Alice Munro and I have the same birth day and I am enjoying this book quite a bit and my hard drive is plugged in and it's spring. xo.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017


 I am making marks with a needle and thread.
Each mark, each stitch is unique.
Each mark a small texture.
Each mark a reminder of my hand's caress.
Not only do the marks express this gentle touch, they also carry the 4th dimension of time.
It takes months to put all these stitches into my cloths.
Months of lived experience.

Just consider what happens during that amount of time.
The daily waking up and going back to sleep
the events of the world and of personal life story.

It's awesome.
It causes wonder.
recall the past
leap into the future
think about how brief our time is to be alive
of what we might accomplish

our precious time
Think about all of these things at the same time
I want these individual one at a time marks to look as if they've always been there.

I want them to be timeless. 

Saturday, April 01, 2017

le homecoming

a doe by Jenna Dawn MacLellan
Ned and I attended the opening of Le Homecoming at la galerie Du Nouvel Ontario in Sudbury on March 17.
a fragile deer at the Galerie du Nouvel Ontario in Sudbury - made by jenna dawn maclellan
I was pleased to meet the artist, jenna dawn maclellan.  Although Jenna exhibited and taught a workshop at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery at the very same time as the Mended World exhibit in 2013 we did not meet then.
A mosquito net made with gold thread by Jenna Dawn MacLellan
Jenna also told me that she knew daughter April from when they were both at Concordia University in Montreal.
A protective Mosquito suit made by Jenna Dawn MacLellan for her exhibition Le Homecoming
 Now she teaches art in an Ontario community not far from here.
Wood Pile made from cloth by Jenna Dawn MacLellan
Her show was very loose and playful - and gives permission to those of us who have ideas and just want to make things that we imagine and remember.
fire wood made from cloth printed and sewn by Jenna Dawn MacLellan
"as familiar as they are fantastic"
"being transposed into textile gives an air of storied marvelousness to their otherwise ordinary nature."
The Mosquito suit at Le Homecoming at the GNO in Sudbury Ontario until May 5 2017
"This is how objects found in Northern Otario sheds are transformed into icons of northerness"
(from the GNO's text  - read the full text and see more images here.

also here is a video with the artist

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

stitching in car

 We're just back from a road trip down to Chicago and back.  I stitched all the way.
international bridge Saulte Ste. Marie Ontario and Michigan
 I love road trips with my husband.
I worked on two pieces, both stitched circles within squares.  In the darker piece, I put a narrow binding on the edges.
Mackinac Suspension Bridge that connects the upper and lower penninsulas of Michigan
We had good driving weather..
I am couching strips of sari silk to a golden coloured circle.
Not sure yet if it represents the sun or the moon.
the Chicago Skyway bridge
 The reason for our trip to Chicago was to help our daughter move from her apartment.
bisque procelain with indigo by April Martin
 I was pleased to be assigned the task of wrapping her ceramics and small sculptures.
oxidized copper ribbon sculpture by April Martin
 It was lovely to finally have such a good look at her work and to touch it.
 We brought her across the border as far as Toronto.
 The base fabric for the yellow circle is a plant dyed wool.  I love the reverse side.
rock cuts Northern Ontario
Ned and I spent a bit of time in Toronto before driving north again.  We had a visit with our two young grand daughters. It was nice to be thrown out of our routine and feel so useful.
a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust.....this gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky
Rainer Maria Rilke