Friday, September 20, 2013

I wore my black dress


The panels in the Manitoulin Circle Project are grounded in the archetype.   They use simple shapes that Carl Jung has identified as being within the collective unconscious.  Everyone around the world, from all periods of time, understands these shapes inherently.
The circle represents wholeness and sacredness and is the most natural shape.  It is the self and it is eternity.  It is endless movement.
The square shows limits.  If the circle is heaven, the square is earth.  When a circle is within a square, it is like the spirit within the body’s limits, it is like heaven contained.
Two of the panels have the horizon line dividing them, which reads as the lower half water, the upper half sky.  Sky and water and the spiritual self as an island, these ideas were with me throughout the designing of these panels.
In each panel there is the message of environmental appreciation and reparation. First of all they were made with donated and thrift shop damask table cloths and other beautiful domestic textiles such as lace doilies, women’s handkerchiefs, wool blankets.  Only a very few silk and cotton fabrics were purchased new.  Ruining (or rescuing) these cloths in order to re-create something meaningful was a constant metaphor.  The titles of the panels are intended to raise associations and thoughtfulness about caring for our world.
The four large panels of the circle project reflect the idea of community.  Each is made from small bits that have been massed together to form something larger than just more.  The dots in these panels gather together as humans do into towns and cities.
The pieces were slowly made.  Each took months, four years in total.  The women were of all ages, and although several were definitely experts, most were beginning stitchers.   We all did our best.   If something wasn't quite perfect, that is all part of it.  A few loyal ones stayed with the project for the entire four years, others moved on, new people joined. 
It disciplined me to work on such a public artwork in a small town.  The local paper put an ad in the community events section every single week.  The hours were 10 am until 6 pm every Thursday, changing to 1-4 pm on the few Thursdays I had to be away and one of the regulars took the project over.  Always, someone took over and the work continued.  I think that is remarkable and important.   

(From my talk last night at the opening of Mended World exhibition.) 

19 comments:

Ms. said...

Full circle completes over four years! I think you could have worn your red dress for the opening (ha). Really really remarkable, courageous and committed project that reaches up into the highest levels of human potential.

To be able to say 'this is what we made', and 'this is what we mean. is nothing short of miraculous--'word made flesh'--idea to object, but mostly, the miracle of continuous human community illustrated.

Velma Bolyard said...

judy, this whole project amazes me. it's perhaps one of the most important art events in my knowing. brought about by you, in the way up north place, in a country known for hockey and snow and mounties, made mostly by community women with the cloths women cherished. i really like that they are intended for a public space that is scared.

Debbie said...

This is just such beautiful work, full of emotion and feeling. I love what you have written, the ideas and the working. Thank you for sharing

Christine said...

Judy, I admire, respect and appreciate this project. It shows innovation, courage, trust and creativity. The work has a collective ownership. I wish I could see the work in person.

Dolores said...

I wish my daughter still lived in T-Bay so I would have an excuse to visit (both her and the exhibit.)

Margaret said...

I continue to be inspired by your work, Judy...and now I have an idea for a project...and credit your inspiration. Thank you.

Mo Crow said...

thank you Judy !

ArtPropelled said...

Lovely post! I've been following the circle project for years and find it all so moving. So glad you shared the journey with us. Thank you Judy!

Istanbuljoy said...

This is such a poignant body of work. Incredibly beautiful & totally awe-inspiring. The experience of working together over that period of time has been a form of Pilgrimage towards mending the World. Thank you for sharing such an uplifting journey.

Jeanne Aird said...

What an incredible, thoughtful, meaningful project. What a great metaphor for what we need to do in our world. This is my first visit to your blog and the first I've heard of this project. I would love to see this in person, close up.

wholly jeanne said...

Exquisite - the panels, the project, the story/meaning. I know you sketched the panels out before starting - can I ask: did you know all this, all the archetypes, symbolism, meaning from the time the sketches were made, or did this reveal itself as you went along or even as you stood back and quietly gazed upon the completed panels? xo

Heather said...

Take a bow, Judy. You have led a community in creating a great work of art, something that will resonate and inspire for generations. I still hope that one day I can get to see it in person.

Lesley Turner said...

Amazing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and vision.

Judy Martin said...

To answer Wholly Jeanne, yes.
Yes, the archetypes and their symbolism were part of the original vision.
What I didn't expect is how the community involvement would take on such significance - although in retrospect, of course it was the most important thing.

I am very proud of everything having to do with this project. Thank you to everyone who has had a part.

Thank you to the Thunder Bay art gallery for giving this work such a beautiful venue and catalogue.

Thank you to everyone in the internet community who has come forward to encourage us.

xxxooo

Montse Llamas said...

Not many contemporary artworks do really thrill me nowadays. And your works do.
Congratulations, Judy.

jude said...

i don't know what to say.

Heather Hutchinson said...

I was an honour to work with you/work on this project. Loved it!

April said...

amazing mom!!!

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