Wednesday, October 05, 2016

luminous halo path

This post is about the piece I made for the Elemental festival on Manitoulin Island 2016.
Curator Sophie Anne Edwards invited me to create a piece about the daily walk I've make along my country road.  I've done this walk for 23 years,  sewing myself to this place.
The theme of this year's festival was "walking".  It took place in the village of Kagawong, about a 40 minute drive from my house.  My piece would be installed along the river and to make it easier to transport, I wrapped it.

Friends from Nova Scotia were visiting for the week and helped with the installation.  Above, Margi Hennen assists 4 element's Patricia with the un-wrapping.
The festival offered a rich mix of activities and entertainment around the walking theme.    
We attended Marlene Creates' presentation of the walking she does to help her learn more about her 6 acres of boreal forest in Newfoundland and also her poetry walks.

My daily walk to Cricket Hill is one km - 1250 steps. (one way)
I sewed strong chains of cloth I have collected for 40 years, a luminous halo that represented my life.

Virginia Woolf said:   Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.
The chains are connected to wrapped clover that represents my foot steps.
A life of stepping over and through hurdles and burdens, joys and unexpected visions
Above, Valerie Hearder helps with the installation.

The path has something to do with mortality and summing up and about stitching my self together.
Using the colourful cloth as soul medicine.
Van Gogh believed that colour has power over line.
Line may be the language of reason but colour is sensuality itself.

Every day I sewed a little more, working towards one km of cloth.
Consider cloth.
It is such an important and enduring tactile presence in all our daily lives.
Cloth is what touches our skin, cloth is what we sleep with.
Cloth is tangible, the most intimate and familiar material construction and touching it makes current thought and past emotions visible.
The materiality of cloth is generous, allowing memories of beauty or love to come up to the surface and be a halo or aura that holds each of us.
This project shows faith in the future and faith in myself.

Working with materials reveals me to myself.
I understand my life and my healing through making.
In Eastern cultures the act of joining small pieces together embodies a wish for a long life.
Above, Patricia Mader and Penny Berens help with the installation.

As you walk this path, go slowly.
Match my gait.
Notice your own experience of walking along the river.
Step step step.
My body – spirit steps into the future.
Who knows where?  Answer, the same place.  


Liz A said...

Walking a prayer ...

Caterina Giglio said...

a perfect meditation in art.. x

Nifty Quilts said...

Inspiring! A sign that you have walked there, contemplating life and its many transitions. Also a reminder that we all leave something of ourselves as we walk. Thank you.

Maria Shell said...

Dear Judy- What a lovely essay. Have you read Walking by Thoreau? It is a wonder exploration of similar ideas.

Mo Crow said...

your deep journey work brings to mind "songline (hightide)"by Ana Wojak at the Botanic Gardens in Sydney in 2008, here's a link-
scroll down to songline (high tide, we followed as she slowly felt her path through the soles of her...

Mo Crow said...


Els said...

amazing Judy !

Margaret said...

Once again I am blown away the way your mind works, how you interpret your experience on this earth.

Jenny M said...

As always, beautiful thoughtful words...thank you for sharing for those of us across the seas.
Also thank you Mo Crow, I followed the link, as I was interested to see what Sydney Botanic Gardens had done. from Jenny in Melbourne.

Ms. said...

walking slowly along with you and smiling slightly.

Cris Winters said...

This looks like a wonderful event, Judy, and I love your work. I hope to attend someday. And what a treat to see Margie! A years-ago friend from a Oiseaux Sisters workshop.

Lorraine Roy said...

I had a particular walk I did every day when we owned our cottage in Bruce Peninsula. The treat at the end, before I doubled back, was an ever-changing rocky bay shoreline, where I could sit and meditate for a few minutes. I thought of each daily walk as adding a layer, giving me a deeper perspective of that place. I miss it.

Bethany Garner said...

Congratulations Judy - this is a beautiful symbol of your recovery, your strength, the ability to think about the value of each piece of work that walks through your hands and lands in the path of your viewers. I so wish I were closer - to take this walk and think of you and each day, each thread and stitch that complete the journey. Hello to the friends with you now...

Sue McQ said... just made me realize that cloth we wear sees a side of us that we cannot see. Does that make sense? We trust that cloth to fulfill its function (clothing, bedding).

Sarah Abraham said...

Thank you again for your work and your willingness to speak about it and about your life.

Cloth also seems to be the only Man-made thing which conforms to the complicated shape of our bodies to provide protection and softness and intimacy. No wonder then, I suppose, that cloth is part of all of our traditional rites of passage, excepting none. None at all.

Sarah Abraham