Sunday, April 16, 2017

work in progress

soul is the essence
essence  from within
it is where everything begins

Van Morrison
I look for the poetic in my world of experience and under my own skin.
In my heart.
A recovery of the world through poetics.
A reclaiming of sensory experience, seeing tasting hearing touching
A reclamation of the body.

Adrienne Rich
Above are four vintage ironing pads lined up left to right as they were layerd on the board, bottom to top.

The dark one on the left is natural wool and probably about 90 years old
I think the singed one next to it is also a wool felt.
The third one, also felt, but it might have acrylic mixed with the wool.  It is nearly new.
The last one is a scorch resistent metallic fabric that covers them all.

I've had these since 2006, the year Ned's mother passed.
I could not throw them away
They held something.  They looked like figures.
Maternal stories are forgotten and lost and our culture encourages this amnesia.
What is the poetic meaning held by these old cloths?

and heat
and labour and protection
and presenting ourselves neatly to society
and women standing up and bearing down
and daily repetition
and the smell of damp hot wool
and singe marks
and body-size and shape

why would I add red thread?
red thread is often added to domestic cloth as a marker, usually intials
red thread is also a protection element found in traditional world garments
The work of art is like an act of mourning.
Mourning is a way to work through feelings of loss.
All creation is a re-creation of a loved and lost object.

Melanie Klein
the body and the spirit
the self in the center
the layers of time and of labour
Cloth is like the body.
It gets old, it survives, it holds memories and dreams - all at the same time.
 not just pretty little stitching marks

Soul is what you've been through
What's true for you
Where you going to
What you're gonna do

Van Morrison

finished pieces can be seen here


  1. you are an amazing artist Judy, uncovering the deep, the history, the heart and soul and mystery in an ironing board!

  2. I can picture them layered upon a wooden board. Such a great base for more time-stories.

  3. I love this. They also remind me of the layers inside my shoes...providing comfort and alignment to our whole structure. Recently I took apart my slippers and was surprised by all the layers.

  4. I'm going to share this post with a few friends in the UK who I know will get it completely because of the work they do and the way they look at life's history

  5. This is so beautiful. Thank you.

  6. Lynn, I did an English degree in Embroidery through Opus affiliated with Middlesex uni - and this way of looking at materials came out of that.

    Letting the materials lead. Trying to listen to them and allow them a voice.
    Yet also holding on to psychological and phenomenol theories.

    These old ironing pads had such a loud singing voice when I found them again last week, I had to listen. They interupted my work.

    So happy to listen to them and respond.
    Thank you for your comment.
    Thanks to everyone for supportive comments. They are important to me.

  7. I love how you listen to your materials, Judy, and also how you make harmony with the voices you hear by adding poetry and lyrics. Once an artist is attuned, she cannot turn her ear away.

    An artist listens
    Materials speak to her
    Once ears are attuned

  8. Linda1:25 pm

    I still iron all the time. I love it and I will look at my ironing board now with more reverence. I would like that someone used my covers for art in at the future. Your mother in law must be happy and feel honored.

  9. What a great way using those ironing board covers like this !!!
    Stunning !

  10. I too have layered my ironing pads, one on the other over the years, on that same board I got when I had my second apartment, circa 1974. You, however, make those layers speak...or rather, you hear what they are saying.

    And this: "You can fool a lot of yourself, but you can't fool the soul. That worrier." - Mary Oliver (from Upstream: Selected Essays. Hmmmm....

  11. Kathy Suprenant10:06 am

    I love your stitched ironing board covers especially since I just saw an exhibit of Willie Cole’s italio and relief prints of ironing boards at our university’s art museum ( and Similarly, his prints reference how everyday objects evoke a memory of experience

  12. What is art without soul................

  13. such unspoken story in those covers.

  14. Yes Jude - an unspoken story. A mute poem.

  15. Do you think of Ned's mother as you stitch? I know you do. Ironing was such an integral part of our mothers' generation...can't help but think how different our lives are now. I have my grandmother's repaired sheets and tabkecloths that I get out of tge drawer every now and then with an idea to stitch into them but at the last minute I just can't! I worry whether I can do them justice because I love them so much! My grandmother would be amazed at what you are doing with the ironing board covers and paddings. I am too. Love the you!

  16. I am amazed by what you see & feel with the un-noticed, overlooked and the neglected. I now have a new respect for old tableclothes, blankets and now ironing boards and the lives they led. I absolutely love what you are doing with the layers of ironing board covers !
    Like you, Penny Berens, I would have such a hard time stitching, or cutting,or dyeing my gr.mothers tableclothes.
    But, I am downsizing rightt now and I have a tablecloth up for grabs :) One of those chinese cotton affairs with some kind of open work on it ... very popular as wedding gifts in the 70's :) If either of you would like the cloth, just holler !

  17. Beautiful and precious.


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