Monday, September 26, 2016

spirit island

Manitoulin Island is called spirit island.
Manitoulin has a long history of settlement by a spiritual people.
Traces of these people go back at least 10,000 years in the area where I live.
I am allowing the spirit of place to come into my work.
I live on Manitoulin Island and I am white.
The culture that is true to the place where I live is not mine and I keep that in mind.  
The spirit in this land is generous and alive.
I use a hoop to help me hold the cloths I stitch.
When I work at a large scale, I feel as if the hoop helps me to hold the land.
Place and the spirit in the land are held in my lap.
Like each of us, I walk my own path of life story.
I have always lived in northern Ontario and my work reflects the isolation, solitude, big sky and water views that I grew up with and continue to live with. 
 My relationship with this land is that of an immigrant and of a settler.  A Canadian pioneer.
I look to history books, novels and poetry about the time periods in Canada when the settlers came.
I am inspired to work with vintage domestic embroideries and linens and wool blankets because so many of them came over from the old country.

I try to help them and me have a dialog with the land here in northern Canada.
I think about what daily life was like for the women pioneers and look at material objects that might hold history of it.
It takes me a long time to figure out how to honour these old textiles and make them relevant within contemporary thought and aesthetics.

I used the house shape in earlier work and now I use the bundle as metaphors for self and for the women pioneers who came to Canada and specifically, came to Manitoulin.  
I use saved domestic cloths.

I use the idea that all of us look out our windows no matter what our culture.
 All of us look at the full moon and the stars.
All of us stare endlessly at the horizon.

The text and pictures are from the talk I presented last Thursday in London Ontario.
More here.


jeanne hewell-chambers said...

Judy, this post is as moving as anything you've ever written. Your work is always imbued with a reverence and respect for women, land, and the spirit Sprite we call creativity. Thank you for that and for the evocative work you spill into the world. xox

Congratulations on being accepted to Quilt National 17.

Mo Crow said...

your work is so true and deep, beautiful post

Ms. said...

I loved the LINK though spare it does enrich the post which is already rich. That blue photo with it's words is a gem.

Val Hearder said...

Dearest Judy, work work, your practice resonates with a deep longing in me. xxx

Helen Percy Lystra said...

Your work and your thinking make me want to go deeper into my own soul. Thank you for sharing.

Nifty Quilts said...

Beautiful. You make me long to go deeper into myself and my origins and try to reflect that in my work...someday. Thank you for sharing with us.

Suzanna said...

Thank you so much for this post and the reminder of the importance of the constant need to recalibrate and deepen our awareness of and respect for spirit. Spirit.

Velma Bolyard said...

i wish i'd been there.

india flint said...

there's a long fine thread that connects us all

willow woman said...

Thank you for bringing us together to this spiritual place.....a place we can live thru our hearts and minds. Your words and work are truly special. I return to fond memories of the island when I worked there as a teenager and swam across the lake!

jude said...

Spirit Island, wow, how perfect.
spirit cloth then, maybe I should call mine long cloth. oh ha!

Montse Llamas said...

Canadian history is so different to European... I think we do not have these sense that the pioneers felt, traveling to a place with strange pasts and traditions...

Judy Martin said...

Montse - I think about the people from India and Pakistan that make their permanent home in England, the large diaspora in europe of cultures - the refugees that make their way from the middle East through france and germany - and this idea of culture and pioneers is not so distant from contemporary life - be it in North America or in Europe. x

Gail said...

Oh, my, Judy, I love your work, the spirit in your work, and am delighted to re-acquaint myself with it. Thank you for writing and showing.

Gail Hunt

Anonymous said...

Hi Judy

I just wanted to leave a note to say how much I enjoy looking at your work and reading the thoughtful posts. I discovered that that quilt museum in York, England has closed now...when I went there for a day recently. I love to sew, and when I look at your posts I feel connected, and as if the path I walk makes sense and the earth feels more solid. If you know what I mean! I've kept my new year resolution to see poetry every day..and I try to make poetry too by collage and embroidery, etc.
I've had a restful week off work this week, with much reflection and sewing...the first time I've been near a computer in a email my sister in new Zealand, and also to take the time to have a good look at your posts. So, as you can see, the enjoyment of your work is substantial... Cheers from Angie walker in England.