Friday, December 11, 2015


What if we knew the day we will die?
What if we could count how many days we have left?
Would we live each day more fully?
When I document my days with journal keeping, I am counting the days UP.
How can I make an artwork that counts the days down?
Let's say...300 days.
What does one do with that finite knowledge?
Maybe one thing would be to really think about what one wants to leave behind.
A clean house.
A body of good work..
Gifts for each child and grandchild.

NOTE: all images in this post are of Hannah Claus' installation Our Minds Are One 2014, on now in the exhibition Reading The Talk at the beautiful Maclaren Art Centre in Barrie Ontario.  The artwork refers to the Dish with One Spoon Treaty negotiated in the 17th and 18th centuries so as to ensure the shared sustenance of the 'bowl' or land between the Anishinaabeg and the Haudenosaunee peoples.
The text in this post is from my own journal.


  1. That's a good list, although the clean house would be tricky. Counting the days would be almost unbearably poignant.

  2. Seeing your work over the last year or so, I am always reminded to contemplate life and death. I think that's one thing that makes it so attractive. I speaks to my eyes, but also to my soul. Thank you.

  3. I think about this all the time. Have I been a good enough mother in these days? What will happen to all these things I have planned for my children, for my art, for my relationships? Have I been a good enough friend? Wife? Daughter? Reading this post put a clamp on my heart. We just don’t know. I don’t want to know.


  4. Re: clean house. What I mean is a house that has been tidied - de-cluttered of all the junk in the drawers so that children don't just throw everything out because there is so much.

    It's hard though. I came across a drawer full of unfinished quilt projects yesterday, and have been sidetracked from de-cluttering to finishing them. That's kind of like cleaning.

  5. I have no kids or grand-kids, no one really but friends who may or may not want any of the things I've accumulated over four decades here, and I've been thinking about this 'what will I leave' issue for decades. I haven't solved it yet. For a while I was desperate to find somewhere for the boxes of diaries (none so well done as yours)...someone to take them and make fiction, or just burn them. Even the photographs...who wants them? Not my brother and not any of my friends, most of whom are aging like me and desperate to get rid the own stuff. I do have some options for the books, both the ones shelved and the boxes of books stacked in a closet - there's a street seller who said He'd come and evaluate the collection, alert me to the few very valuable ones and offer me some cash for the rest. It's all so personal somehow, and I'm not ready to part with it but will need to someday when I can no longer climb the stairs and have to find an assisted living space to move to (if such still exists in this City of diminished resources for the poor). Well, if worse comes to worse, I can rest in the knowledge that I may not care when the landlord is faced with disposing of my leavings. I certainly won't care when I'm dead :-->

  6. When I traveled a lot, my friends would think me insane. Before I could go to the airport or drive out of the driveway, I had to clean the bathrooms, put fresh sheets on the bed, tidy up a bit, clean out the refrigerator. When anyone asked, I would just shrug. I wouldn't want someone coming into my house and seeing a mess left behind. Now that I stay at home mostly, I think about what would a stranger think of my life if he/she walked in. You know-like on those stupid shows where the detectives go in and start looking for clues about the person. Where would they keep the address book, etc. First off they would say-"Man, this lady sure has some serious issues with "string". Why do you think she has so much of this stuff all over the place?" They would point to the spinning wheel or the loom and wonder what is that thing. "Looks like she has a pot of something on the stove. It doesn't look like food, though. What do you think it is?" And that's all before they go to the back bedroom where I have the sewing machine and the fabric stash. I think it is all marvelous stuff. I try very hard to keep things at a reasonable level, but some times it gets unruly when I am working on a project. I keep the bathrooms clean. And I clean out the refrigerator once a week when garbage day comes around. Otherwise.......

  7. A wonderful work of art .... and I love your words <3

  8. Very good question Judy, one that has occupied my mind for the last 5 months as I purge my house and studio. It has taken a lot of time as I contemplate everything in closets, cupboards, corners and forgotten drawers.
    Will my children want my work ? They have always been supportive of my 'playing', but when push comes to shove, will they want all that there is ? I would love to think so, but the reality is, they have what they personally like right now and really, probably, won't want more !
    I just hope that when I go, my house is tidy ... purged of the 'hoarding element' their mother sometimes displays, and that they don't read my scratchings because Mom was brutally honest ... (so helpful when one needs to rant) ... and I would hate to leave ... no, maybe they should be read for better understanding of the woman they didn't now everything about !
    I have left lots of genealogy info for them, which I know they will appreciate at some point in their lives.
    And my friends ? I only hope that they will miss and think of me fondly.
    Would I want to know how many days I had left ... no ! But, I will try to keep my resolve to keep order in the house, in case such an event occurs (hopefully not for at least 20 more years) ;)

  9. Thank you to all who have taken the time to respond to this question that might appear morbid but is really a way of thinking positively about what we make and how we live.

    We are circles and we live within the square of finite time.

    This is a positive thing because we are reminded to get on with it - make our life's work, and not be stopped in doing it by the thought that it might not be appreciated in the future. Our hands' work is what connects the past to the future.

    The finite square also reminds us to get on with the loving of others - don't wait until it is too late to love.

    xo to all

  10. Re Clean house. Read "They Left Us Everything" by Plum Johnson. Her parents left the kids a house full of STUFF and memories. It is a memoir from an Oakville, Ontario, woman. I think you'd like it. She is an artist.

    I am sorting my big old house too. Not to help the kids but for myself!! I just can't stand the clutter anymore. I do one hour per day with a timer that rings at 55 minutes so I can 'wrap it up'. I have been doing that for the last year, whenever I am in Toronto.

    My "Spring Cleaning" quilt classes I teach focus on using fabric from a stash. That is cleaning too.

    My body of textile work isn't cohesive or large enough to matter. If you ask me today what my legacy is I would answer my 4 children...Is that enough?


  11. HI Sandra

    I have read that book by Plum Johnson - In the book they scooped up a lot of things and put them in black garbage bags. I just don't want that to happen. I too am going through my house and de-cluttering. It makes me feel good. I like to use the kitchen timer too.

    I am making a quilt from UFO's right now and loving it. I plan to make 3 more - a series about turning 65 and down-sizing. Down-sizing lectures happen quite often from the kids. It's so hard - it's so complicated.

    Sandra, I love that you say that your legacy is your 4 children. xo

  12. I have been getting rid of stuff lately. It really causes me anxiety having no control over all the things I own, forgetting what can be hidden inside the wardrobes.

    And you have made me remember this sensation of losing control over all those things when you are not here anymore...

  13. Wonderful thoughts and aspirations.


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