Thursday, October 15, 2020

Long was I hugged close, long and long (Walt Whitman)

I love this time of year, the colours and the gentle light
My husband makes piles of wood around our property
I've been working on this three-blanket-wide piece in my town studio, but I brought it home last month 
It was going so slowly there.  Now I work on in the evenings during our TV time.
The piece is inspired by the grandeur of the cambrian shield and the sliced-open immense rocks that line the northern highways that we drive through.  Time is made visible in those rock cuts.  
I'm covering the three blankets with a horizontal strata of plant-dyed fabrics, stitched with wool yarns.
The work is about touch and vulnerability and eternity. 

The reverse side is also beautiful I think.


Time is a material.   I add my loving pokes and pets and strokes and pulls and mends.  The fabric becomes energized, powerful.

"The clock indicates the moment - but what does eternity indicate? "  Walt Whitman

Friday, October 09, 2020

my awakened heart with zoom

I think about my outdoor surroundings,(my yard), as my mother, or perhaps my teacher.  She teaches me about the importance of repetition and of lively small marks.  She teaches me about the fertility and growth of spring, the blooming of summer, the fragile beauty of autumn and the quiet silence of winter.  I also think about my yard as a lover, because it is so generous with its gifts and love, and I like to be with it so much.

I just finished pre-recording a lecture about my work for the York Heritage Quilt Guild in Toronto Ontario.  Creating a pre-recorded audio-visual was a learning experience for me.  It tooke several long days and nights of decisions about what to say and how,  and of what work to show and why.  The original plan was that I would speak about the development of my work over nearly 40 years.  However, our beautiful world is in so much pain now and has been in global crises since early 2020 that I felt an urgency to speak with authentic voice about my response to the wounds.  My creativity helped me (and healed me) over and over again during the spring and summer and continues to do so as we move towards winter.   The pictures in this post are of a small wool and velvet piece that I made during the summer and speak about during the lecture.

The first text in this post, (in italics) is quoted from the presentation. If you are a member of York Heritage this lecture is part of your program for 2020-2021.  Here is a link to read more about the talk.   and to also see the amazing line-up of speakers and teachers that this guild has for their members.   Thank you v much to Irena Hopper who invited me and also thank you v much to Deb Larsen who was my technical whiz-assistant and put the audio and visuals together.  

Sunday, September 20, 2020

quilt for baby earth

I trimmed the PK Page Planet Earth little quilt and added a pale pink linen binding.  
Handling it made me think of the last baby quilt I made - for our little Maia.

I called it "Feel Invincible Sweetheart"   (here)

This new one is the same size as a baby quilt.

I realized that it is a quilt for baby Earth.
We have to be as kind and nurturing to this planet as if she were a baby.

If Planet Earth was a real baby, we would be kind.  We would protect her, wouldn't we?

 Well she is.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

overwhelmed by everything

It's the weekend and I am resting.
 my fragile self
During this pandemic summer, I've sunk into Louise Penny's series about Armande Gamache.

While in the midst of serious internal growth, respect your need to restYung Pueblo

"You can't be three people"  Agnes Martin tells us.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

year 6

I've been working on this quilt since 2014. 
six years
it's hand pieced nine patches that measure one inch when sewn
the photos in this post were taken over the last week at the family cottage
I spent three nights alone - I loved it.
I've written a tutorial on hand piecing using the nine-patches in this quilt.
That was in 2016.  here
Projects that take a long time seduce me.
It is so comforting to go back to them and not have to think.  Just stitch.
Family visited last weekend - April had the idea to photograph her quilts floating in the water.
Aren't they great?
'But how very much of one piece is everything we encounter, how related one thing is to the next, how it gave birth to itself and grows up and is educated in its own nature, and all we basically have to do is be there, but simply, ardently, the way the earth simply is, consenting to the seasons, light and dark and altogether in space, not asking to rest upon anything other than the net of influences and forces in which the stars feel secure. "  Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, August 28, 2020

till it shines in the sun like gold leaf

So we have these fabulous gunnera plants in our garden
and sometimes I make bundles - the two above are from 2007

this post is about these things

and about PK Page's poem,  Planet Earth

It has to be loved like a laundress loves her linens

the way she moves her hands caressing the fine muslins

like a  lover coaxing or a mother praising

It has to be loved as if it were embroidered with flowers

and birds and two joined hearts upon it

it has to be stretched and stroked

it has to be celebrated

O this great beloved world and all the creatures in it

It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet

the trees must be washed, and the grasses and mosses

they have to be polished as if made of green brass

the sheets of lake water smoothed with the hand

 smoothing the holy surfaces

Friday, August 21, 2020

Anna Torma / Dorothy Caldwell

A Red Hill/A Green Hill 2012 by Dorothy Caldwell
 ink wash, earth ochre on cotton with stitching and applique, 284.4 x 294.6 cm 

This post highlights two of my Canadian heroines and their beautiful philosophies about making.

In this interview with Dorothy Caldwell  Dimitri Papatheodorou of the Art Gallery of Northumberland in Cobourg Ontario visits Dorothy in her studio this summer. (2020).  The two discussed her touring 2014 exhibition Silent Ice Deep Silence and the research that went into creating the work for it. 

Book of Abandoned Details  2018 by Anna Torma
cotton, silk, hand stitched 136 x 135 cm

The next video is a conversation with Anna Torma and is presented by the Esker Foundation, Calgary Alberta in honour of her 2018 exhibition there, Book of Abandoned Details

A Red Hill/A Green Hill by Dorothy Caldwell, earth ochres and hand stitch detail

It's been difficult for museums and art galleries (and for artists) during this pandemic time.  Closures and now appointments and mask wearing make the gallery experiences challenging for everyone.  

Dorothy Caldwell is one of eleven artists curated into an exhibition entitled Cloth Constructions at the International Quilt Museum in Lincoln Nebraska this winter by David Hornung.  Here's the link

Book of Abandoned Details 2018 by Anna Torma
hand stitched cotton and silk  136 x 136 cm

Anna Torma's solo exhibition Permanent Danger was hung but the gallery had to close before the opening ceremonies last April.  It has since re-opened at the Museum for Textiles in Toronto Canada and has been extended until March 2021.   

Congratulations to these artists and to the curators who have have championed them.  Textile art is best when you can see (and yearn to touch) it in real life rather than on a screen or printed in magazine or book.    Let's try to visit art galleries again and be nourished.