Sunday, October 09, 2011

Trunk Show #3: Calendar

February family photos, lace, wool, corduroy, acrylic paint, ribbon, buttons. about 27" square 1988-89June family photos, dyed cotton organdy, thread, about 25" square 1988-89 September family photos, pages from nursery rhyme books, cotton, thread, about 32" square 1988-89 December family photos, christmas cards, wool, taffeta, pine cones, embroidery thread, beads, about 28" x 26" 1988-89

Calendar Series

For one year, just after our youngest was born, I had doubles made of all the photographs I took of our kids just being themselves. Then I made a wall piece for each month using those doubles as a starting point. I used seasonally appropriate fabrics for each month. June is a single layer of dyed organdy, light as air, blue as a summer sky.
These are drugstore processed snapshots. Not digital images, not photo transfers.
Oona was 10. Above she is shown with Grace, age 3. (detail of December) Jay was 8. (detail of September) Grace (detail of February April was only one year old then. (detail of June)

Motherhood consumed me throughout the 80’s and 90’s. In 1983 we had moved from Thunder Bay where Ned and I had a Finnish farm to the paper mill town of Kenora in NorthWestern Ontario. The older two children were born in Thunder Bay, the younger two in Kenora.

There are twelve of these, one for each month but I only took these four to the September trunk show in Toronto. It's interesting to me, that even then, I was obsessed with documenting the swift passage of time. It's especially evident with young children - they grow up so very fast.


  1. fantastic judy! i also like that you used the real pictures instead of trying to put them on fabric. and the pinecones..!!!!!

  2. Anonymous1:43 pm


    these are fantastic!

    I sometimes feel like I am lock step with the you from then and I think that it's fabulous that you through your art can still access those feelings to connect and communicate.

  3. Lovely to see these Judy.
    It must have been quite some work then! (family with little children)
    Last year I made a little quilt for every month, starting in a "rough" (emotionally) January, and than continueing because it turned out to be such fun to do ;-)

  4. what wonderful memories you have made in cloth.

  5. It is wonderful to see those pieces again Judy, alive and magical. Such a vibrant stage of life.

  6. When I look at these pieces made well over twenty years ago, I find them too full. Too full of images, too full of emotions, too full of small details.

    But, they are important. They show something that is hardly spoken about in the art world. Motherhood.

    They are evidence of an attitude I still have to life. "Do not wait, do not think that you need to wait until things get better to do what you want.

    Look at the situation life places you in as a way to find your own self.
    Turn around the big obstacle and think how you can use it to be a positive thing. Your world will change."

    Four kids and no time to make art? Yes, that was true. That might be one way of looking at my life in 1988. But instead, I looked at it as an opportunity. I shamelessly used my children as models. I photographed them all day - they were in my face--and I painted them in the middle of the night.

    Those paintings are on my website in the works on paper gallery.

  7. judy my mom did the same thing with me as a child, taking tons of photos. but then she was an artist as was my dad, so i guess that was a given. my own creativity seemed to stall during early motherhood, no clue why. as the kids got older, it reemerged, but boy do i find it hard to do with grandgirls! i am helping raise the older 2, so they are here alot. [divorce] i love teaching them to sew, but ofttimes i just wish they would just watch and let me play!

  8. Now we say Incy Wincy Spider how nice to see it as Ipsy Wipsy lol
    I like your idea too of using yhe pictures. Love the log cabin text piece!

  9. Haha-I noticed that too...we have always sung "itsy bitsy spider"
    Judy your work is so full of life and your words (in the comment section) so full of wisdom. It was nice to see this side of you/your work. Thank you for sharing. As Magic Diaries was starting, I was working on a sampler, hearts and a bear, relating to motherhood. It's been resting for a long while, but I have been feeling the need to pick it up again. Even when we are Grandmothers, we are mothers always.

  10. Anonymous12:33 pm

    judy I wonder sometimes if you weren't just capturing the experience of the time.

    life with four kids is too much, too in your face, too everything all the time.

    i find it fitting and a realistic documentation.

    the stripping of the intense imagery from your work shows a slow and gentle progression toward the wisdom and knowledge of not only linear aging but that gained from deep introspection.

    also a nod to the "empty nest" idea of life post full time motherhood...not that it ever really ends.

    as a grandparent you're allowed to simply make statements that are full, not heavy, and yet very TRUE.

    the lone sentence of a fable...or giving the list of virtues one at a time.

    i don't know. i'm just always very happy to see the natural growth that has occurred within your pieces.
    thank you.

  11. Anonymous5:35 pm

    oh my goodness, so sweet, so precious, so everything!

  12. Judy, I am new to your site--what glorious works you fabricate! I love the photo montages--is that the right word for them? Your stitching is wonderful--thank you for sharing...Julierose


Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx