Tuesday, May 21, 2019

penny miranda studio visit

resting between night and day (left) resting at low tide (right) both pieces by Penny Berens
Penny Berens (above left) and Miranda Bouchard (right) came to visit on the weekend.    
Penny and I are having a show together in 2021 and Miranda has agreed to be our curator.
The work is still very much in progress.  
We met over the weekend to get a better sense of how it fits together and pinned our pieces up side by side on my pinwall. 
The blue piece in the above photo is Sky with Many Moons (Judy Martin)
We noticed contrasts and similarities in our work. 
My work is generally quite light, both in colour and weight (sometimes only one layer of sheer cloth).  It's usually quite tall.   I like people to look up at my work, as humans all over the world look at the moon.

I used to think of the sky as an invisible protective roof over the earth, my kids, everything.  I'm not sure that I still think like that.  Now I think of it more as magical, even spiritual, filled with star-dust. 
And spheres.
Above is a detail of Penny Berens' beautiful Whispering Cairns.

Penny's work for this show is more earthy.  She is thinking about the beauty of rocks and about the way they hold so much time.  She works with natural dyes too, but is adding more colour to her new work. In the piece in above photo, she says that she is thinking about "all the women who have gone before me in history"

Both Penny and I communicate our powerful love for the earth through the use of natural dyes and repetitive hand stitch / caress.

It's time to think more about caring.
We must care for the earth as lovingly as we take care of our bodies.
Many of us don't think about our bodies, yet still expect them to be ok.

We need to give ourselves self care.
We need to pay more attention.  To the earth and to our bodies.
penny and miranda with judy martin's work in progress
Miranda, our curator, says that she sees many simlarities in Penny and me as persons and artists.  
We both live in rural environments and are mothers and grandmothers.  
Our homes and yards where we each live are similar.
We both feel the presence and influence of a large body of water
We both have a country road, 
Penny lives near Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia, while I live near Sheguiandah on Manitoulin Island.  Both places are steeped in history.  
We each have a long depth of life expereicne.  Some differences, but also many similarities. 
I like to think that my work is about reminding people how nature connects us to our interior selves when we stand still and look up and beyond the horizon while Penny's work is closer to what nature looks, smells, and feels like as we move within it, observing.
penny on left, judy on right - both works in progress
Our show will guide viewers through ideas that seem impossible to have at the same time: the swift passage of time that is being held for ages within the trees and rocks, the wounding self-awareness that comes over us when we look at the sky and understand that we are so small, yet immense within, full of past and present and future time. 

Miranda told us that she had to disconnect her eyes from her heart in order to see our work clearly and be able to talk about it.
stone islands  by Penny Berens left, dark side of the sun by judy martin right
That's because there is an emotional relationship to work made with cloth and thread.
All that touching.  It goes deep.
judy martin,  miranda bouchard, penny berens  May 2019
Judy works from a combination of thought and research,
Penny says that she goes with the flow

Both of us are star dust.  We all are.

Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for funding Miranda in this curatorial project.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Quilts from Western India

       Permaben Maheshwari Dangera, Nani Khakhar, Kutch , Gujaret, India
collected by Patricia Stoddard and Martha Wallace
for the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska
Permaben's quilts are improvisations on traditional styles.  This quilt is named Laheria (waves) which is the name of a tie dye motif for men's turbans but instead of the dye method, Permaben used thin pieces of cloth to make the zig zag motifs.
Permaben Maheshwari Dangera from Nani Khakhar, Kutch, Gujaret. 
Collected in India by Patricia stoddard and martha wallace
for the International quilt study Center and museum, Lincoln nebraska
In this mustard yellow quilt we again see Permaben'soriginal style.  There are no repeating patterns.   "The people in the village made fun of me" she told the researchers from the International Quilt Museum.

In this post are a few of the godhari (quilts) in the collection of quilts from Western India now on display at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln Nebraska USA.  For more, please visit this online link.   I am quite excited by these textiles.  As I am not able to visit the exhibition in person, it is wonderful that the internet allows us an opportunity to see the quilts. 
The next 4 square-shaped quilts are all made by members of the fortune teller group (joshi).  The one above was found near Pune, India by collector, Geeta Khandelwal.
The above godhari was found near Baramati,  also by Geeta.  At the link you can read about her time in these villages, and how eager the women were to show her their work.
The one above was found near Pune, also made by a member of the fortune telling group and collected by Geeta Khandewal.
This black one is from Wai, a village near the resort town of Mahabelshwar Maharashtra, another collected by Geeta.  The base fabric is a rarely worn black sari onto which the artist patched strips of colour radiating out from a face to represent the sun.
Siddi women's Quilting co-op member, Mibjam Bausabi, Uttar Kannad, Kamataka
The Siddi are an ethnic group descended from East African people who came as slaves to India in the  16th Century.  The women have made quilts for generations.
Iramma Kademari (1915 - 2010)  a bed quilt, made in Kumati Bijapur
The maker of the above quilt, Iramma, lived with 50 other family members all under one roof.  Over her lifetime she made more than 200 quilts from recycled clothing and bits of fabric.

These quilts are full of heart.  They are authentic expressions of enjoyment and love.
They make me happy.  

Monday, May 06, 2019

new work this spring

I spent a lot of time alone when I was a child.  I grew up on a farm near Fort Frances in North Western Ontario, and from an early age I realized that making things helped me to find my true self.  
At the age of 12 I began to sew my own clothes and also to sell the doll clothes I loved to invent.  As a teen, I attended some painting classes with my mother and was encouraged by the teachers. 
beauty emotion spirit soul    judy martin  49" square
It was still a happy surprise however that I eventually turned these childhood passions into accomplished hand stitched art made in Northern Ontario, Canada. 
my soft jewel-heart   judy martin  28 inches square before frame
The framed mini quilt is a new piece for the Perivale gallery's summer season, opening May 19 in Spring Bay Manitoulin island.
Beauty Emotion Spirit Soul is the title piece for the  exhibition that took place last month at One Sky gallery in Sudbury
The biographical text is a small section of the writing I apparently need to do for the new website, still under construction.  I have to make sure there are keywords within it.  It's hard, and I am starting to question and doubt.   

Friday, May 03, 2019

all at once

new work
Layers.  Horizontals.
Plant-dyed,light-weight cottons and silks.
Small pieces of cloth, each ironed in half and the fold stitched.
Then joined together into rows.
 All by hand.
Yesterday, I worked in my Little Current studio
(10 foot walls and good light)
I'm basting the pieced strips to a lightweight foundation.
I am trying to express what it feels like to look at the sky
Looking up.

the cosmos ...... the earth......  the atmosphere
At home, I am sorting.
Spring is here.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

voluptuous time

It's about time
We had bonfires during the Easter weekend
 The previous week we were on the road and I stitched.
It's medicine, this piece.
I also took photos of the winter trees and of the emerging earth through the car window.
I'm using black wool thread to make the repetitive stitches.
Each mark is different.  They are all the same.
The kids were home for Easter
They've gone back to the city now.
And the fire is out,  the ice still in
One of the first things that Ned did when we moved here was make this fire pit.
That was over 25 years ago.
It's all about time

my work

It is all about time
voluptuous time

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Alicia Henry

I went back to the Powerplant last week to see Alicia Henry's powerful exhibition, Witnessing for the second time.
 "Henry creates two-dimensional singular figures and group compositions that are commanding in their grace and expressiveness. "
 "Tender renditions of mother and child appear, as do groupings of more females that signifiy formations of families within communities"
 "Through their direct gaze and erect composure, Henry's multigenerational survivors exude a powerful strength and confidence.  They stand in anticipation of an egalitarian future - a utopian goal that underpins much of Henry's work"

 I am visiting the Powerplant in Toronto more this year because our daughter April (in above photo to demonstrate the gigantic scale of these wall mounted figures) is working right next door at Harbourfront craft and design studios as a resident artist this year.
I want to share the powerful simplicity and the confident handling of materials by Alicia Henry.  I was really moved and inspired by this exhibition. 
All text in quotes is from the pamphlet provided by The Power Plant.