Friday, March 15, 2019

an infinite changeless reality beneath the world of change

It's raining outside.
Our driveway has a slight up hill onto the road and it is ice.
Slippery wet ice.
I began a new journal today.
I fill one book a month.
When I die, they will be able to build a small house wtih the journals I've kept over the years.
Yesterday I walked on the road.
I used to love my walk but now it's such hard work.
I want to get back to loving it again.
I want to look forward to the moving meditation that was part of my daily routine.
Now with the leg, I look for reasons not to walk.

I long for the talking-to-myself-out-loud kind of walk,
not the counting-my-steps kind of walk that I do now.
Also, about the journals, if I didn't have them and the inner life they contain,
the poetry would be gone from my work.

This week I'm finishing up the three pieces I took with me to Mexico.
It feels good to be able to stitch again as much as I need to.
I've started to read the Bhagavad Gita, a book that Gandhi used as his personal guide.

Some say that this text is India's most important gift to the world.
It tells us that we are meant to be as much at home in our inner consciousness
as in the world of physical reality.
My copy is translated by Eknath Easwaran.  In the introduction he sums up the perennial philosophy of the Gita.

1. there is an infinite changeless reality beneath the world of change
2  this same reality lies at the core of every human
3  the purpose of life is to discover this reality through life experience
Representative stuff comes from out there.
Abstract design comes from inside.
The combination is what separates a work of art from the every dayness of experience.
It also gives the work an alien feeling that is mercilessly intimate. 
 (Frank Webb, painter)
journal paper stitched to an old table cloth
the deer in my driveway
my fragile life

Sunday, March 10, 2019

isla mujeres

a photo essay 
 taken from passenger seat of a rented golf cart
 as we zipped around the roads and streets of Isla Mujeres, a small island off the coast of yucatan penninsula, Mexico
 we were there on Mardi Gras day (not planned)
 the colour of the walls, doors, and window trim is joyous
 so much vibrant colour gives me the feeling of being loved
 Isla Mujeres translates to Women Island in english 

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Love absolutely

Q   How did you develop your own style and inner voice?
Q   Was there a defining moment for you or was it a gradual process?
A   I think it was a gradual process.  The main thing I did right from the beginning was to choose a subject that I absolutely loved.   It had to be something that I needed to personally communicate, not caring if it would be acceptable in the larger art world.
I started my career with what many would term gendered subjects and gendered techniques.
When I was a young mother, I painted my children in watercolour.  I started stitching when they were young because I could take the work with me to the sand pile or playground and it could be picked up and put down when I was so often interrupted.
I also read anything I could find about women artists and writers and found out that the best were true to themselves, and this inspired me to do the same.  It sounds easy, but to follow an inner voice or dream is actually quite a brave thing to do.
This self-directed study helped me to do my art while at the same time living my so-called normal life of wife and mother.
Once the kids left home, I started the embroidery degree from the UK through Julia Caprara’s school of textile art, OPUS.  My inner voice became even clearer through this directed study and I continue to work from the thesis I developed at that time.
Particularly important are Gaston Bachelard’s writings about inner immensity, Agnes Martin’s writings about paring away the unnecessary, and Ann Hamilton’s ideas about how we arrive at knowing through every sense, especially the sense of touch. 
I’d like to especially thank my tutors from the UK, Catherine Dormor, Kay Swancutt and Joan Richardson.
I do believe that making and exhibiting art is the best way to express our inner selves and communicate heart to heart with others.

Monday, February 25, 2019

What are you working on now?

I'm taking turns stitching into two pieces.
Connected by their design, both are large nine-patches.
One is stitched with black thread, the other with white thread.
Circles within squares are design elements they have in common.

The cloth was found in my life collection of small pieces of fancy cloth.
(taffeta, linen damask, wool suiting, and silks of all sorts)
I stitched or painted on all the squares earlier. 
At first I thought that maybe they didn't need hand stitch
I was hoping to love their simplicity more.
But now,  the chika-chika marks of running stitch/ kantha stitch
has risen the level of intimacy in these two wall pieces
and has given them power.

(...and they fit into my suitcase.  Hola from Mexico xo)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


 I wanted my quilt, Soft Summer Gone, to have a kind of timelessness, as if it has always been.
 I made it large and simple and open with emptiness.
 I coloured it with yellow golden-rod wildflowers gathered at the end of summer from the fields and ditches.
  I stitched it with large gestures that reached and crossed and with small circles that rose up.
 I wanted my viewer to yearn to touch the stitches and the soft cloth.
I hoped to cause a poetic experience deep within.

Quilt National sent our work back to us last week.
I unfolded her softly.  

Friday, February 08, 2019

my life work

counting my blessings 1999
about my children
cry me a river 2001
about my mother
hold me 1993
about my husband
thunder and lightning 1989
about my  work
order belies chaos 1990
about my marriage
fragile as a leaf in autumn 2004
about my husband and about the earth
between the leading note and the tonic 1998
about teaching
something more magical than it ever was 1991
about memory
Gaea Enthroned 1992
about spirituality and mother earth

My roots are in the grand narrative of traditional quilt pattern and symbolic language.
My subject is our relationships to each other and to the earth.

These quilts were made when the kids were still at home, minutes here and there over months and years, I needed to get them out of me and into the world.

They are on my  mind today because a new website,is under construction and decisions have to be made about content.  These pieces will be in a folder entitled Story Quilts.

felt in the body