Margo Little's article about my red thread exhibit in this week's Manitoulin Expositor is very insightful. She walked through the exhibit with me last week and I am impressed with her sensitivity and intelligence. Here are some excerpts.
In her 21st solo exhibition, Red Thread, at the Gore Bay Museum and Heritage Centre, Judith Martin applies her knowledge of world textile traditions to some familiar North American rites of passage. As she combines fabrics, threads, paints, photos and text, she is able to express some of her own personal grief and concern about the world, and in the process, viewers are also moved to make connections with their own lives and circumstances.
"Red is the most significant and powerful colour in the folk embroidery of most of the world" Ms Martin explained during a recent tour of her work. "This colour is often used around the opening of garments like at the neck or wrists or to cover vulnerable areas of the body such as the heart or womb. Life passages such as birth and death especially seem to require ritual and red thread has been used around the world as a protection device as much as for decoration."
Ms Martin has explored these connections in many diverse ways. As the viewer moves through the exhibit there are surprises to see, touch and smell around every corner. For instance, there are large stuffed ovals resembling rocks with lead weights attached. These "wrapped forms" are bound, stitched, bandaged and compacted into mysterious bundles. Nearby a stack of dyed fabric has been arranged in book form with quotations from William Wordsworth and not far away sits an old fashioned teaspoon holder featuring universal symbols such as the cross, triangle, spiral and heart. The aroma of clover emanates from a collection of wrapped plant stems.