Thursday, January 29, 2015

early work

I painted the children being alive in their bodies.

I used primary colours
empty space
sunlight and cast shadow
you can't think everything

Monday, January 26, 2015

beginning with time: night

I finished the wool stitching I've been working on.  Today I took it into Sudbury for professional photography, left it with him over night.   'Treat it like a sculpture in space',  I said.  'Make it look as good as you possibly can'.

In this post I'm showing my own photos of the work in progress.  This is the reverse side of the Wild Pure exhibition piece. (other side shown here The charcoal wool blanket in the main area is an old camp blanket from the family.  It, and the brown blanket section on the bottom were both over-dyed with blackberry vine and iron.  
now feeling a little lonely,
when it was with me, I knew what to do.

a morning and an afternoon and
night's queer knuckled hand
hold me separate and whole
stitching tight my daily soul 
Mary Swann

from Swann by Carol Shields 

Friday, January 23, 2015

organic, labour intensive, energetic marks

no. IZ  detail  Yayoi Kusama  

No. IZ  Yayoi Kusama  (Japanese born 1929)  oil on canvas 1960 
The First Part of the Return From Parnassus  detail  Cy Twombly

The First Part of the Return From Parnassus  Cy Twombly (American 1928-2011) oil, coloured pencil, lead pencil, wax crayon on canvas,   1961

Vast Ocean  Gunther Uecker (German born 1930) paint and nails on canvas over wood  1964

Vast Ocean Gunther Uecker detail
The three artworks in this post are just a taste of what I was able to see in Chicago earlier this week, selected because of their simple yet lively marks.

The three artists who made them were all born within two years of each other. They were toddlers at the same time but lived in different countries.  They turned twelve during WW II.  When they were 30, they made paintings like these that fifty years later remain relevant.  

Human experience, imagination, risk.  Our connections.

Ned and I visited our daughter this week.  She is studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and these pieces are part of the collection of the Art Institute's gallery.   I'm glad I was able to experience them face to face.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

my truest body of work

the three journals I'm going through right now.  2002, 2009 and 1992 on the bottom
The main thing I do in my journals is converse with my current work.  Each piece takes months.
I sketch out what the piece looks like right now, and what it might look like.

I also sum up yesterday with an analysis or description of an event or conversation.  Sometimes I jot down my first thoughts on waking.
I think it is through our daily life that we can find answers to those big questions.
What is it like to be alive today?
What and who do I love?   What do I fear?
How does it feel?
In 1992 I made romantic collages, clipped my horoscope, was reading Pablo Neruda.  I was 41.
My work is thoughtful.  Everything means something.
I don't know exactly what a piece will look like when I start it because the work evolves over time. My journal helps me with that process.  I also use my journals to take notes on things I read because if they are written down I can re-visit those ideas or words and consider them in relation to my ongoing work.
These are just the most recent hundred or so.  
This year I'm going through my years of journals and then wrapping them shut with fabric and thread. I'm enjoying doing this more than I can say in words.   Both the re-reading and the shutting up.

Our inner selves are never really known.  Not even to ourselves.  I'm starting to accept that.

Monday, January 12, 2015

thoughts that come through touch

this piece has taken on a stubborn silent quality - it will not be defeated.

a few things have become evident
the dots below the horizon - are they the safety net I think about - or are they in this case, a depth we cannot fathom
value - the lightness (and darkness) of the threads is so important and I've had to change some of the threads because they were too disturbing
there is no eye level focal point - instead, a feeling of being lost in the woods -
the comfort usually associated with wool blankets is altered
 gravity - the heavy materials and dark colours have an emotional gravity as well as a physical one
movement forward - it seems as if the piece is pushing against the wind rather than allowing itself to be blown freely.  An old man pulling his heavy coat across him, his hat down, shutting his eyes, trudging on.
touching - the marks made by the wool threads make us want to pet it with the nap, along the grain, up and down and in circles.  I do anyway.

"It is a surprising and memorable, as well as valuable, experience to be lost in the woods any time.  Not till we are completely lost, or turned around, for a man needs only to be turned round once with his eyes shut in this world to be lost - do we appreciate the vastness and strangeness of nature.  Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are, and the infinite extent of our relations."  Thoreau

Thursday, January 08, 2015

quilts=art=quilts 2014

Chaos: the Butterfly Effect by Kit Vincent, Canada.  

Cave Murmurs #1 by Valerie Maser-Flanagan, USA

Opposites Attract by Kate Stiassni, USA

Follaris VI by Lisa Flowers Ross USA
girl story 2 by Amy Meissner  USA

Portals #5 by Lisa Call, USA

South African Silhouette by Anne Munoz USA

Line Study  #1 by Andrew Steinbrecher  USA

Kissing In Public by Pamela Allen, Canada

Sea Cave by Bonnie Bucknam USA

Creek Drawing #9 by Judy Hooworth, Australia

Memory's Playground by Paula Kovarik, USA

Sand and Sea: the Children of the Canneries by Patricia Kennedy Zafred  USA

Dipped Dinmension by Kathleen Probst USA

the seven spirits by Kate Stissani, USA
Quilts=Art=Quilts closed January 4.

77  quilts were selected by jurors Kathleen Loomis and Valerie Goodwin .  Ned and I were able to attend the exhibition in early November and I have been wanting to share these photos for two months. I do recommend seeking out the nine posts Kathleen Loomis wrote about the exhibit during November 2014 on her blog, Art With A Needle.  Also, although there isn't a print catalog, the Schweinfurth Art Centre has put up a video online here of the complete exhibition.  I was very pleased to be part of this exhibition.  My statement can be seen here and the complete quilt and details, here.

Sunday, January 04, 2015


christmas table with old family silver and the june wedding cloth
Our five senses (taste, touch, sight, sound, smell) give us material memories that the body can hold
new year's eve with melted metal luck-fortunes and sugar-coffee-lemon ready for vodka shots
in our unconscious and we are able to access that knowledge of sensuous physical experiences forever.

Friday, January 02, 2015

art and life were all mixed up in 2014

an example of the many UFO's  (unfinished objects) waiting to be put together with companions  
January -  Installing Mended World solo exhibition Art gallery of Sudbury
February - Installing Lucky Protection at Artists on Elgin in Sudbury and then Family Paintings in the local library.   All three solo exhibits up at the same time
March - Visiting Mexico.   Birth of grand daughter Aili Evelyn
detail of watercolour painting April in October 

April - Emptying yet another bedroom to create more home studio space
May - Jurying Stitches Across Time for Dufferin County Museum.  Natural dyeing, both with indigo and collected local plants. This will continue throughout the summer
June - Attending daughter April's BFA graduation from Concordia in Montreal, then her wedding to Andrew at our cottage
watercolour and acrylic painting WAVE
July - Visiting with the 7 and 4 year old grand boys and Oona (their mother), at our cottage
August - desigining wool artwork for the Wild Pure Aesthetic Wonder exhibition that will happen in in Newfoundland in 2015
September - visiting Gros Morne and the great Western Penninsula of Newfoundland with Ned.  Two quilts are published in the book 500 traditional quilts.  Teaching hand stitched meditation panels in home studio
detail of Yin Yin, hand stitched linen with reverse applique
October - Receiving an award from the Ontario Craft Council. Speaking (keynote) at the Espanola Fiber Festival.  Visions exhibit opens in San Diego and Yin Yin wins an award.
November - Attending World of Threads Festival opening in Oakville Ontario, two solo exhibitions are well received.  Attending Art=Quilts=Art in Auburn New york, Canadian Pioneer wins an award.
December - hosting all four children plus spouses (three grand children) for Christmas through New Year's day.

Continuing on, appreciating this lucky life and sending out good wishes for a creative year to all.

keep on