Tuesday, March 28, 2023

I heard this poem today

watercolour of a quilt idea

The hour is striking so close above me,

the 9 year old's mermaid 

So clear and sharp, that all my senses ring with it.

the 6 year old's mermaid

I feel it now: there's a power in me

April with forsythia from Toronto

to grasp and give shape to my world.

embroidery from Mexico

I know that nothing has ever been real

green quilt by April

without my beholding it.

forsythia in bloom

All becoming has needed me.

My looking ripens things

and they come toward me, to meet and be met.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

my ten thousand piece quilt

This is a simple post about the simple quilt that I am hand piecing this week. 

ten thousand piece quilt by Yoshiko Jinzenji, naturally dyed cotton, 72 inches quare

Inspired by Yoshiko Jinzenji's ten thousand piece quilt that she made in the 80's and included in her book, Quilt Artistry: Inspired Quilts from the East.  

I started it during the drive to Kitchener to deliver the Inside Out exhibition .  

Simple because you begin at the center, and then go round and round, increasing the number of patches in each strip as you work towards the edges.

My one patch quilts are usually made from collections of nine patch blocks that I join up.  

This one is different.  Simpler in a way.  

We continued on after Kitchener to a resort in Mexico.   

The fabrics are left over linen scraps from previous projects that I am using up.

Hand piecing squares fills me with positive energy.

As the work in my lap grows under my fingers, I feel stronger and braver.

The pink strip I'm adding today is 16 squares long.  It's left over from the sunshine quilt.    

This soft textile is a journal of days.  

It is recording memories of this week in Mexico with our daughter and her boyfriend.  

 Sending out love from us.  xo

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Last Week

Feb 13
Yesterday,  it took me 12 hours total to drive home from Quebec which meant that I was able to drive in both red sunrise and red sunset.  The first red was along the Gatineau highlands (above photo).   Later, I was on highway 6 with the familiar Strawberry Channel and a magical February sky. 

time present on top, awakened heart beneath

Feb 14

the boxes for Kenora - to do today.  

This exhausts me so very much.

the forever with hanging device and hooks being placed

The Boxes

1 medicine earth in bag with tissue paper, my heart in a bag with bubble wrap, her arms wrapped round in a bag, all with labels

2 eternity bagged in a box, time past in a box, flowers bloomed with device in a box, the list made but not printed

3 underfoot the earth divine, rod is labeled, needs to be cut and drilled, time present (with device),  my awakened heart is labeled the rod needs to be drilled

4 the forever, time future not in box yet

5 rods

In The Middle of the World exhibition to be presented at the Douglas Family Art Centre in Kenora, Ontario March 30 - June 15 2023

time future with hanging device

Feb 15

Doing the boxes, the folding and arranging of my beautiful, heavy work, affects my body so much.

I am also affected emotionally.  I am over come. 

Resolved today to gather my thoughts about the nitty gritty installation requirements into a document.  Shall I pack shelf brackets so that some of my pieces can be mounted out from the walls?

Does the curator at the Muse have a firm idea already for how she will mount this challenging installation?

time past : island heart

'I would stand for hours at my window, watching the sky and birds, no need to make immediate decisions" Magdalena Abakanowicz

detail of island heart

Feb 16

Procrastinated and cried over the in the middle of the world work again.  It's so emotional for me to see all my work in vulnerable pile-ups around me.  All through the bedroom and living room and kitchen. 

For some of the pieces, I need to consider proper hanging devices, perhaps purchasing some kind of hook if we send shelf brackets.

Also, I need to make sure that each piece has an identifying paper label and fit the pieces into boxes. 

underfoot the earth divine

Feb 17

OMG, the work is so full of touch that my heart breaks open every time I unfurl another one.

earth divine fitted in box

Feb 18

All week I made good progress and am working all day.  My routine begins at 6 am with my half hour of old journals and then another hour or more working on the website. 

Yesterday, the curator in Kenora phoned me and gave me her opinion of shelf brackets that hold two-sided pieces five inches out from the wall.  "Ugly and Pointless".  She is going to hang everything from the ceiling.  She has a hydraulic lift and doesn't fool around with step ladders.

That phone call made me so happy. 

eternity fitted in box

Feb 19  

Yesterday I cried a little when Ned told me his Saturday schedule.  It didn't include my boxes. 

I need him to help me with the hanging devices.  Cut the rods down, see if the Forever hooks work.  We do have time to do all these things, I know, I know, we have all the time we need. 

time future and flowers bloomed piled in kitchen

Feb 20

I organized the courier pick up just now.  It will happen tomorrow with the delivery to Kenora by Friday Feb 24 before 9 pm.  We are worried about the icy driveway.  

Getting this Kenora artwork into boxes has been really hard, but I'm almost done. 

Social media is worried about Penny and I've written personal notes to several people who've asked about her.  I tell everyone that "she's OK".

Feb 21

We put all five boxes into the van and hope that will be easier for the Purolator guy to get.  It snowed last night so it's not a glare-ice driveway or at least it doesn't look like one.

Now that the boxes are all in the van,  I've spent an hour sewing a pink sleeve on a piece for the OTHER SHOW .  

It's too much for me.  I can't do it.  It's all too much.

but it's not, is it.   When we consider the larger global picture,  my problems and concerns described here are trivial.  

I am lucky to be able to create artwork from blankets and show it in art galleries.  I choose to do this strange thing.  I want to do it.  I love this work.  Sharing my artwork is part of being an artist.  Getting it out the door for exhibition is difficult for me, but still, I am glad to be able to do it.

Also, I am blessed to have a large family, all healthy.  Thank you thank you thank you, universe.

I am grateful for these things and I will say so here, in this public forum.  Please, if you are able, choose an organization to donate to that helps our broken world.  Thank you xo

p.s.  Purolator guy came around 4 pm.  He walked from road to front door and said he couldn't come into our driveway, he would get stuck.  I said "that's OK!  All the boxes are in the van."  And I drove it up to the road and he unloaded them into his vehicle and drove away."  xo

Monday, February 13, 2023

Love Spreads

Another post about doing my work while grandmothering the new twins.
I only had one piece with me for nearly three weeks and it's gone through several nick names.

For a while I called it Holy Rothko, because of the dark reddish field of colour floating between the warm grey linen borders and because of the holes that marked it in a grid.
Then as I continued working on it, I called it Holy Holy, because it had taken on a spiritual quality.

For a while it was as if this piece helped me confront my own mortality.  
Grace with Juni
Judy with Daisy

I'm working it from the back side, stitching with running stitch around and around the backsides of the reverse applique dots, and then cutting away the sheer fabric that covers them.

So that the velvet circles bloom.   

While in the rented house, I'm taking care of Grace's cat for a while as her household gets used to the twins.    In the above photo, you can spy the quilt I mended last year on the bed.  Ned didn't come this time, but our other two daughters took turns helping their sister.

Mostly I've been cooking for the new parents.  I've been using recipes from the pandemic cookbook I compiled in 2020 of family favourites.  

I've been able to get in an hour of stitching by the window in our rented house each morning.
The piece is still not finished, but getting closer.

Love Spreads pinned to studio wall, nearly finished.

Newest title?  Love Spreads 

Inspired by a quote Maria Popova  sent me in her newsletter:  
Love is essentially self-communicative:  those that do not have it catch it from those who have it.  True love is unconquerable and irresistible; and it goes on gathering power and spreading itself, until eventually it transforms everyone whom it touches.  Meher Baba   

Monday, January 30, 2023

what does Rothko mean?

Then Rothko would sit and look for long periods.

Sometimes for hours, sometimes for days, considering the next colour, considering expanding an area.  He worked on more than one painting at a time.  The veils of colour were  actually applied quickly and spontaneously.

Most of the time in his studio was spent sitting silently on his bench and looking.

Dan Rice, Rothko's assistant  (quoted in James Breslin's biography of  Mark Rothko)

I don't know if he knew what he was doing.  I don't think artists always need to know what they are doing.  Artists often do more than they know they are doing.

David Antin art critic  (also quoted in Mark Rothko: a biography)

This post is a copy of the one I wrote when I studied Rothko for my UK degree.  Click here to see another 2007 post about Rothko that contains a self portrait of moi.

Click here for my post about Rohko on the modernist aesthetic blog.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

what is it that I do?

new sleeve for Awakened Heart

You have to do work that's meaningful to you, and then you have to keep on doing it.  (Ann Gillen)

new sleeve for The Forever

I try to do only what I want to do.  
I try to do what feels necessary to do.
I do what I love.

view from the door of my town studio 

I got back into my town studio this month.  .

The Forever on the town studio table, side b

I was able to complete the sewing of a new sleeve for the largest of the blanket pieces, The Forever.

The Forever on town studio table, side a

I am returning it to it's original design - a horizontal swath of marks.  click here

The Forever on dining table at home

It's nearly 14 feet wide, 10 feet high.  It's larger than me.  

Moment to moment, day after day.

I stitch it.  My body touches it.

Eternity and the kitchen rug

The work I do takes a long time and I like that.

new sleeve for Eternity

My work is a statement about life itself, in a way.  About lived time.

Every day, we have to just go on.  Waking up and getting dressed and looking at the sky and being gentle with those we live with and touching them and moving out the door and interacting with the air and greeting strangers and getting in a car and hearing terrible news and picking up the bread and turning the key and putting on and taking off our coat,  zipping and unzipping, buttoning and unbuttoning and returning home and starting dinner and petting the cat and pulling the quilt up and kissing our loved ones and turning out lights. 

It's energy.

a new sleeve for Eternity side two

My work holds all that time.  That energy. 

My Heart and Her Arms Wrapped Round in the rocking chair

Time is my subject and my method.

new sleeve for Noble Tenderness

The images in this post are of some of the pieces that I'm getting ready for the Kenora, Ontario exhibition of In The Middle of the World that begins on March 30.   This exhibition was shown in late 2021 but I continue to improve some of the pieces.    

It's what I do.
My awakened heart / noble tenderness : A two-sided piece. 

 Time is packed into what I do