Saturday, November 10, 2018

Red Cross Signature Quilt 1918

 this stunning antique commemorate's the 100th anniversary of armistice
It was made in 1918 as a fund raiser
nurses paid to have their signatures embroidered on the white cotton
This antique is currently on display at One Sky Gallery in Sudbury until November 11.
It has been used and shows age, but that adds to the poignancy
lest we forget

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Life is simple

 Life is simple: smell nice, look pretty
 I can't hear myself think
Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber from Winnipeg Manitoba
Flower Series 2018  acrylic on wood
represented by Gallerie Division from Montreal at Art Toronto
 My roots are in hell
 When you're easy to love, you're easy to tear apart
 You must leave your mother, but I never can
Gareth Edwards from Cornwall England
Flower Paintings Oil on Paper
represented by Jill George Gallery from London England
at the Art Toronto fair last weekend Oct 26 - 29 in Toronto
I attended with  my sister, it was her birthday.
the small handwritten text at bottom of each painting
is usually the name of the colour and the date
left : lemon  hand 2018
right:  pale moon  hand 2018
hot house orange 2018

Life is simple my friends.  When you are easy to love, you are easy to tear apart. xo

Friday, November 02, 2018

where do your ideas come from?

What a huge question

The first thing that comes to mind is that my ideas come from MY LIFE.
It is the most obvious answer.  But our lives are so immense aren't they?  
answer:  Place
a)   the environment I currently live in and experience is a source of ideas.  It is awesome to live in Northern Ontario.  Driving to Manitoulin from any direction places me between rock cuts and close to clear lakes.
And Manitoulin Island is full of spirit.  I seek solitude here.  It is quiet with water horizon views.  
Also the SKY is a source of ideas.  Moon, sun, stars, clouds, blue-ness, hugeness, above-ness.
where I grew up, a farm in North Western Ontario, with big fields and a spectacular lone elm tree.
I always felt isolated there.
My parents and siblings had a big impact on me, and still do.  
I study art every day.
I look at reproductions in books and read about artists and their ideas and lives.
I write about these things in my journal, sometimes inspired to try something immediately. 
Art study is a passion of mine.
My journals. 
I gather thoughts in them every day.
I re-read them.  I find and develop my own ideas in these journals.
There is true-ness in the journals
My mothering.
It is ongoing, and continues to give me more than you can imagine.
Strong emotions such as great sadness, furious anger, or physical fraility may be where I start a piece.
However, although these pieces may begin with vehement negativity, as I work into them with my hands, those emotions are displaced, replaced with a glowing serenity.
I feel serene after so much time with the work in my lap, and the completed works are calm.
What is an idea really?  So often it begins as just a glance - a speck
something off to the side.
after so many years at this art-game, now I recognize the feeling of that speck
I grab it from the air and write about it or sketch it into my current journal
and move on with my day.  
It usually takes me a few days of sleeping and moving before I feel it as an IDEA, not just a glance.
I have inner dialogue with my self.  
I imagine that all humans do to some extent.

My heart responds to stimulation so quickly and generously, 
and I want to make art that will allow my open heart to speak.
I want to make work that is as true to how I understand my life as possible. 
So that when another human encounters my work, that person will know me. .

And also, even more
I hope that person's heart and inner self will recognize something in my work
that resonates deep within them. 

And they know something more about them selves.

But I am side-tracked away from the question about where ideas come from.
I guess the short answer is that
I don't know.

To live an absolutely original life one only has to be oneself.  Agnes Martin

All images in this post are of a new large scale work in progress.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Water Quilt by Joyce Wieland 1970-1971

 fabric, thread, grommets, rope and book pages
Joyce Wieland worked with her sister, Joan Stewert, and some others to make this powerful piece when she was 40 years old.  The delicacy of the hand embroidered cloth draws poignant attention to the vulnerability of Canada's arctic environment and protests the idea that the government might sell Canadian water.
 Each square is hand embroidered with an arctic flower.
 Under the hand stitched fabric, startling excerpts from James Laxer's The Energy Poker Game (1970) outline a scheme by an American corporation to seize control of northern waterways in Canada.
"I felt a sense of responsibility. .. It infuriated me to think that someone outside could be drawing up plans for stuff like that"  Joyce Wieland
above:  Wieland 2006 made by Brian Jungen (born 1970) from red leather gloves.
The title refers to Joyce Wieland, who was passionate about Canada, and was activelly engaged with Pierre Trudeau's nation-building project in the 1980's.  Brian Jungen is a first nations artist and the gallery wall text states "while feminism and sexual rights formed an important part of the discussion in the 70's and 80's, indigenous rights were not addressed" and that is why this maple leaf is upside down.
I have long admired The Water Quilt and was thrilled to see it during my visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario last weekend.  Joyce Wieland did love Canada and is one of our art heroines.  I've written about her before on this blog, collected here and on modernist aesthetic blog here.  

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Tarpaulin # 8 Betty Goodwin 1976

In her art, Betty Goodwin reflects on the fragility and resilience of human life.

She often worked with found objects, such as clothing, which holds traces of the body and
that evoke loss and the passage of time.
While walking through Montreal in the 1970's, Goodwin noticed the large industrial tarpaulins that cover transport trucks,
their visible rips and marks a reminder of many journeys travelled.
The artist bought several repaired tarpaulins and reworked their surfaces with gesso, chalk and oil stick,
folding and refolding the canvas to add to the existing stains, scratches and seams.  By transforming this everyday object, Goodwin made it her own.
Tarpaulin #8, 1976     tarpaulin, gesso, rope, wire
by Betty Roodish Goodwin, born and died Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  1923 - 2008
(text quoted the gallery'swall signage)

I spent an entire day at the Art Gallery of Ontario and am now filled with inspiration, moved by the emotional authenticity of the contemporary art I saw there and of the respectful and intelligent way it was presented for the viewer.   

Sunday, October 14, 2018

everything something anything

Its overwhelming.  How do we do it?  Everything?   Something?   Anything?

I started a new system this fall to keep my bodies of work and my daily and emotional life on track.  I'm using the kitchen timer again. (not for the emotional parts)
First thing in the morning, I stitch by the window into this altered journal.  Although the timer is set to 15 minutes, I work until there is a natural pause.  Working in this journal has inspired further journal work.   I think that's good.
Then I do an hour of hand stitch on the 'weekly project'.  (shown: re-configuring moon cloth)

In this new system, I work on just one piece for a week and then fold it up and work on a different one the next week.  The rule is: I can have in 10 pieces in rotation for this morning stitching, but no more.

(The many others will just have to wait until I have finished one of those 10)
Also, I am avoiding my inbox.
I seek no deadlines...
About social media:
I post once a week on instagram of whatever I am currently working on.
I post nearly once a week on facebook.
I write in this blog once or twice a week.  I'm sad that blog readership seems to be down because of the three, the blog is the most true. 

The only-10-things rule has made room for new ideas.  I think it's good that they keep coming.
I neglect the in-progress pieces piled on chairs and the sketches, re-drawn countless times.
I do about 2 hours of stitch each morning, and then go into town to work on the 3rd body of work based on wool blankets.  These town studio pieces are huge and I listen to a pod cast while filling the blankets with stitch.  I like to listen to Writers and Company with Eleonar Wachtel.
Home again, I go for a walk and make dinner.  The day is nearly over.
My husband and I have our Netflix date around 10 pm
and I work on the piece I leave in the TV room.
It's the TV pieces that get done.
This finished flannel quilt (above) was posted on instagram Friday.
Here is the TV piece I'm working on now.
This photo was taken last weekend at the cottage. Canadian Thanksgiving

This post is about time.
There just isn't enough of it.
In a day.  In a life. 

I have too many ideas.
Most will get done.
Somehow. Anyhow.  Everyhow.xo

Monday, October 08, 2018


a time to be born and a time to die
a time to plant and a time to uproot
a time to tear down and a time to build
a time to weep and a time to laugh
a time to mourn and a time to dance
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them
a time to embrace and a time to refrain
a time to search and a time to give up
a time to keep and a time to throw away
a time to tear and a time to mend
a time to be silent and a time to speak
a time to love
a time for peace
there is a time for everything
and a season for every activity under heaven                ecclesiastes 3:1-8
grand mum and aili  (us)
the stitching in this post are the 5 quilts that will show in this year's
world of threads festival...opening soon

four are on my new work blog, the fifth is Maia's quilt  Feel Invincible, Sweetheart