Sunday, March 15, 2015

feel better

I made my first bundles after my mother died in 2007.  I was inspired by Magdalena Abakanowicz's burlap and sisal pieces that she made in 1978-80 entitled Embriology.  She made about 800 bundles in a variety of sizes.
I used soft batting at first (see here) and they took me about six months to carefully make. I was teased a bit, (Ned referred to them as hoo-doos), but I was coming to understand that it was the process of making that was helping me to deal with my recent personal trauma.
After them I began to wrap tree branches and clover stalks as a way to connect caring for the environment with a human metaphor of nurturing.
Although the good feelings would come over me as I wrapped the branches, the resulting bundles raised more complicated emotions.  The figures I made looked shrouded, not swaddled.  They looked mummified and sad. (see here if interested)
As an artist who wishes to communicate on an emotional level, this set up a challenge for me.  The bundles on the wall here are white with red thread, but they did not begin like this.  They have been wrapped three times.  They started off in 2011 as happy little things with four coniferous twigs wrapped in colourful cloth.  See here.
Over time, those twigs became bald and I needed to nurture them, and so wrapped them first with thick yarn, and then as you see here, with soft white cloth.
Arranging each of these little bundles in my hands, each one different from the next, gave me the same positive feelings as those first wrapped forms had.
In order to understand this perhaps you need to do it yourself.  The materials are here.  Make a bundle and take it home.
 Try it, you will feel better.
These images from my installation up until April 18 at la galerie du nouvel ontario in Sudbury, Ontario, part of a curated exhibition entitled Pop Folk Textiles  The text is from my little artist-talk at the vernissage.


  1. I'm intrigued by wrapped-up things--these are great!

    I recently discovered artist Judith Scott, who created large wrapped bundles of things within things:
    She has a fascinating life story too--definitely a lot of trauma--maybe that was part of her impulse to wrap and hold objects?

    Anyway. I am going to try wrapping some things myself. Thanks for the nudge.

    P.S. We haven't met before--I got interested in cloth & sewing recently through my work with people living with dementia, and someone linked me to your blog, which I've been following with interest.

  2. Oh, you are never anything but personal, and the artist you manages to make the personal universal. This is a fine post.

  3. Fresca, I love Judith Scott's work.

  4. The pillowcases look beautiful.

  5. just want to identify the little girl who is making the bundle and assure my readers that I have permission from her mother (hands visible in the photo as well) to put this photo on my blog. Several people made bundles during the vernissage on Friday 13th March.

    She's 4 years old and her name is Liz.

  6. atticus finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) says you can't really know another person till you walk in their shoes. it's the same principle, applied.

  7. So wonderful visitors can wrap a bundle of their own. There's something beautifully chrysalis like about them.

  8. Yes, the bundles. Mine are definitely shrouds. Sad or otherwise, they are death to life in bundle and thread and paint.


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