Sunday, April 19, 2015

sunlight and shadow

This quilt is only about thirty years old but it is worn out.   Perhaps that's because I made it from sewing scraps and worn family clothing.  In the photo above, my fingers show where the chambray from a favourite skirt has practically disappeared.
I used to sew all my own clothes, and some of the girls' when they were small.  As I look at the fabrics in this sunlight and shadow quilt, memories flood over me of that time in my life.  The cloth is from skirts, tops, children's sun dresses, or scraps left over from baby quilts I made for friends. I find it interesting that the solid colours are harder to place in my mind than the prints.  At the time I made this piece, (early 80's) I only purchased new cloth for home decor, clothing, or baby gifts.  In a way, these are all 'found' fabrics.
I gave the quilt to my dad when he and my mother moved from the family farm to their condo in Kingston in 1987.
He used it.
He would 'go horizontal' on top of it in the afternoons, and under it during the night.
This year during some of my visits with dad, I've been trying to mend areas.
I'm adding newer fabrics, newer memories, patching them over the worn spaces.
I think that I'm adding strength.
Might as well try.
Dad turns 92 next month.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wild Pure Aesthetic Wonder

Gros Morne National Park,  Newfoundland,  Canada
In this post I will speak about my participation in the exhibition Wild Pure Aesthetic Wonder curated by Gloria Hickey and Philipa Jones for the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I saw the call in early 2014 on Gloria Hickey's blog and sent a proposal.
Beginning With Time: Day  2015  Judith e Martin  plant dyed blanket wool on re-claimed and over-dyed wool blankets
 90" x 78"  two sided

Here is the call to enter

Fibre Explorations of Gros Morne National Park

The unique natural and cultural wonders of Gros Morne range in scale from the epic to the microscopic to the sublime.  Wild, uninhabited mountains, towering cliffs of a freshwater fjord carved out by glaciers, wind-wizened tuckamore, technicolour lichens, textural fossils.  The history of those who lived in the region and who live there today bring a human response to the spirituality of the landscape.  You are invited to dig deep and create a proposal for an artwork that can be a conduit for yourself - and for visitors - to a deeper visual and emotional experience of Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site and the venue for the Fibre Arts NL 2015 Conference.  Let the wonders of Gros Morne inspire you to explore your own wilderness.
rows of coniferous trees climb the cliffs along the highway between Deer Lake and Gros Morne

I was inspired by the words wild, pure, aesthetic and wonder.   My proposal stated that I would create a new work based on the ideas that a) unconscious memories and dreams are unlocked by the sense of touch, b) an emotional experience (such as wonder) gives self-revelation, and c) large spaces filled with subtle small marks distract us just enough to allow for deep contemplation.

beginning with time: night detail  2015  judith e martin
I had never been to Newfoundland but those tourism commercials have been calling.
fjord - western brook pond Gros Morne Newfoundland Canada
I live on Manitoulin Island, a large island in Lake Huron, Ontario Canada.  Manitoulin is the largest island in a freshwater lake in the world.   Would that make my life experience similar to someone living on Newfoundland?   I asked Ned to go to Gros Morne Newfoundland with me in September of 2014.
Betinning with Time: Night  2015  by Judith e Maritn  hand stitch on repurposed wool blanket, a two sided piece,
this is the night side
I found out that my proposal was accepted fairly quickly and began dyeing yards of blanket weight cloth to use in the new work.  I wrote about my process through the summer and fall on this blog. I was so inspired by this project that I considered creating several large wool blanket pieces that would hang as a walk-in installation some day.  I want my viewer to feel enveloped by the intimate marks and be overwhelmed by the scale.  We are just specks within this awesome natural world.  

We did go to Newfoundland.
Ned and I flew to Deer Lake in September 2014 and I was gratified to see how the landscape was like I had imagined.  I kept on with my vertical rows of green stitch that represented the tree covered cliffs of Gros Morne.
We rented a car and explored the many small communities of Gros Morne park and area.  They have wonderful names like Woody Point, Sally's Cove and Neddie's Harbour.  We also drove up the Great Northern Peninsula to L'Anse aux Meadows and back again.  I wrote about that trip here and here.
western brook pond (inland fjord) in Gros Morne national park, Newfoundland
The curators, Gloria Hickey and Philipa Jones were very supportive throughout 2014 during the creation of my piece. I had two phone meetings with them and sent photos of the work in progress.

Today I listened to Gloria speak during a walk through of the exhibition.  She said " I wanted the artists to make work that they wanted to make.  I'm the midwife, not the mom."

May I take this opportunity to thank the Craft Council, the curators and the other artists who make up this exhibition.  The show can be viewed at this link.
beginning with time: night detail of sleeve.  (two sided piece this is the night side)
The exhibition continues at the craft council gallery in St. John's until April 25 and then it moves to the Woody Point Discovery Centre in Gros Morne in May.  It will be up through the season until the end of the Fibre Conference on October 18.  I am proud to be included.

The photos in this post of my piece were taken by Nick Dubecki.  More of his photos here.  Philipa Jones took some of the St. John's installation.  View here.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

today's work in progress

he who wants to devote himself to painting must begin by cutting out his tongue - henri matisse

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Learn all I can

Soulskin: Seeding the Prairie  created by Susan Lordi Marker 1999, nylon, iron, copper, pigment, 76"x41"x3'
Three things make a good painter
1.  love to do it
2.  look closely at paintings by others
3.  learn all you can     
(above text found in 2000 journal copied from somewhere unknown)

When I teach, I show my students excellent examples by other artists,
such as this piece by Susan Lordi Marker

Monday, April 06, 2015

a lived life

Above, acrylic of daughter April by her older sister Grace - they were both in high school at the time.
This post is about a corner of my upstairs home studio that has been important to my process for quite a while - at least 10 years.
It's an additive collage of family photographs that have come into my possession over time.  I've pinned the photos to the wall as I've received them.  They tell my story to me.

The top photo in the above group was in my father's bedroom in Kingston - he had printed it himself on one of his large digital printers.  All of us are there - Jay, April, me, Grace, Oona and Ned - That photo is at least a dozen years old.
The post card above left is from Newgrange in Ireland, the embroidery below is something I removed from one of my pieces, the portrait is a photo Ned took because we needed one of me stitching...can't remember exactly why.  It's from 2009.
Photos of my siblings, my parents, Ned's parents and several of each child are up on this wall.  In the upper left photo is our oldest grandchild Everett with his dad and mom..he's 2 in the he's 8.
Here is Jack, crawling across his Alaskan kitchen door threshold from the deck.  8 months in the photo, he's five years now.
 above, the newest grandchild, Aili - very precious.
Things I've read go up on this wall.  That photo is of me  age 50.

Now I have to take this life collage down because Ned has been doing some repairs and the wall needs to be painted.  Thought I'd document it first.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

stitched in the car again

 We drove to Toronto last weekend - that's six hours each way.  Lot's of stitching time.
 I've returned to this piece that I started years ago. (glimpse here)  I think it is worth finishing.
 This is the back of the quilt.  It's silk fabric with a yellow cotton section at the bottom.
It was Aili's first birthday party.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

sensual experience

"cherry blossoms" detail by Ana Galindo, linen, thread and cherry stems, 2015 
The exhibition Sensorial Objects continues until May 2 at the Craft Ontario gallery 990 Queen Street West, Toronto Ontario.

Here, cherry stems are couched with thread onto re-purposed linen by artist Ana Galindo, arranged without altering their beautiful naturally curved shape.  The viewer recalls how cherries taste, how the stems feel in our fingers.  We understand blossoms.
"cherry blossoms" from the series "of the everyday and its leftovers"  21 3/8 " x 64 1/8" x 2", linen, thread and cherry stems, 2015 by Ana Galindo
"In a world of materials, nothing is ever finished.  Everything may be something, but being something is always on the way to being something else.  We can call this re-cycling, but from a materials centered view it is simply life."  Tim Ingold

Accompanying the exhibition is a publication that besides double spreads of each of the artists' work, also contains an introduction to the exhibition by Craft Ontario Curator and director of programs Janna Heimstra, a curatorial statment by Kathleen Morris and Monica Bodirsky, and an essay entitled A Continuity by artist and educator Judith Leemann.  Leemann reminds us that the viewer's own life experience with familiar materials acts as the way to understand not only these artworks but also allows us to imagine further possibilities of the artworks and/or the materials and/or ourselves.
"jaryu" detail.  Chung-Im Kim  2012
For example, Chung-Im Kim (above) uses a familiar material in an unfamiliar way and Dorie Millerson (below) uses unfamiliar material in a familiar way.  Kim prints the felt, cuts it up, and through careful hand stitch, manipulates it into a kind of distorted animal hide while Millerson creates anew something recognizable and nostalgic that references un-locking, opening up, crossing thresholds.
Key  by Dorie Millerson.  Needle lace, cotton, wire  2" x 7.5" 2011
All of the work in the exhibit address the sense of touch.
History and possibility.
The work of the hand.
The aesthetic of time.
Return To the Next by Eva Ennist.  reed, concrete, hand made paper, recycled fiberglass.  72" x 27",  2014-15
Experiencing artwork made from materials and through our senses encourages deep reflection.
Return To the Next detail  Eva Ennist 2014-15
The ten artists in this exhibition are faculty at OCAD, Ontario College of Art and Design.
Their names are:  Monica Bodirsky, Eva Ennist, Ana Galindo, Lynne Heller, Chung-Im Kim, Rachel MacHenry, Dorie Millerson, Kathleen Morris, Meghan Price and Laurie Wassink.
In the language of landscape by Kathleen Morris.  56" x 24" x 1", wool and fleece, 2015
Each of these makers have manipulated things from the real world into new things that have never been seen before..  The act of making new objects from materials that already have a history and a language, places both maker and viewer on the same path.  One of the curators, Kathleen Morris, (whose work is shown above) states that "the act of making becomes an invitation for my body to reunite with the living landscape."
In the language of landscape  detail, Kathleen Morris, 2015

In another gallery just down the street (NO FOUNDATION 1082 1/2 Queen St W) was another exploration of the senses, David Ballantine's installation The Remembering of the Air.  Ballantine's three well crafted and beautiful inventions were made to be handled by those who entered the gallery. He states: "Through the reverent interaction of instruments and the body, my work investigates the sensuous within a growing digital and immaterial world." read more of his statement here.
David Ballantine with one of the instruments he made for his installation
The Remembering of the Air

Friday, March 27, 2015

indigo moon

This is a brand new embroidery - made as a sample for slow stitch class.
I am teaching the stitches that we used in the manitoulin circle project.
Here:  couching, pearl-bead basting, and eyelet stitch.  Also curved seams.
I was so surprised when I placed this little moon on a runner made last spring for april's wedding, I had to drop everything and reverse-applique it in place.

Slow stitch is a gift on many levels.