Saturday, April 28, 2018

Barbara Klunder

Trojan Horse (detail) by Barbara Klunder 2018  linen with cotton and silk thread 
The text and images in this post are by Barbara Klunder about Gwendolyn MacEwen, Toronto poet (1941 - 1987)
Trojan Horse (detail) by Barbara Klunder 2018  linen with cotton and silk thread 
Gwendolyn MacEwen grew up near the junction area of the city and then lived on the Toronto Islands during the early 60's.  She and Margaret Atwood were close friends during that time. 

The Trojan Horse was the name of a coffeehouse that she and her second husband, Greek musician Niko Tsingos, opened for a few years on the Danforth in 1972.
Trojan Horse 2018 by Barbara Klunder   linen with cotton and silk thread  47 x 67.5 inches
Her poetry is full of longing

for Egypt,
for deep love
Trojan Horse (detail) 2018  by Barbara Klunder  linen with cotton and silk threads
for understanding,
and I wanted to make something for her.
Death is a Snake (detail) 2018 by Barbara Klunder
I used many images that were built inside her poems
as she wrote to explain her desires

her dreams,
her hopes

and her betrayals.
Death is a Snake 2018 by Barbara Klunder    linen with cotton and silk thread  59 x 34.5 inches
She would symbolize her love in many ways.

As lions,
Death is a Snake (detail) by Barbara Klunder
as storms,
as tigers,
as birds,
as magic.
Death is a Snake (detail) 2018 by Barbara Klunder  linen with cotton and silk threads
Everything that is in my embroideries
is based on her poems
Cape for Gwendolyn 2018 by Barbara Klunder hand embroidered velvet  
The exhibition Barbara Klunder: Tattoos for Gwendolyn MacEwen remains on view at the David Kaye Gallery until April 29, 2018
cape for Gwendolyn (detail) 2018 by Barbara Klunder

the red bird you wait for

you are waiting for someone to confirm it
you are waiting for someone to say it plain
now we are here and because we are short of time
I will say, I might even speak its name

it is moving above me, it is burning my heart red
I have felt it crash through my flesh
I have spoken to it in a foreign tongue
I have stroked its neck in the night like a wish

its name is the name you have buried in your blood
its shape is a gorgeous cast off velvet cape
its eyes are the eyes of your most forbidden lover
and its claws, I tell you its claws are gloved in fire

you are waiting to hear its name spoken
you have asked me a thousand times to speak it
you who have hidden it, cast it off, killed it
loved it to death and sung your songs over it

the red bird you wait for falls with giant wings
a velvet cape whose royal colour calls us kings
is the form it takes as, uninvited, it descends
it is the power and the glory forever, amen

Gwendolyn MacEwen  


  1. love this "poetic crossing" to quote Terry Tempest Williams in "The Hour of Land"

  2. thank you for sharing, such stunning embroidery, the symbols
    I will have to check out the poet's work, she was young when she passed on
    have a good week

  3. Wow, Judy, thanks !
    What a great artist !!!

  4. Simply Amazing .. such artistry .. thank you for introducing me to another fabulous artist.

  5. The David Kaye gallery is one of the best in Toronto my humble opinion. It is MY gallery...I had an exhibition there last October. Some of the best of us who work with materials exhibit there....Susan Warner Keene, Dorothy Caldwell, Chung-Im Kim, Steven Heinnemann....and Barbara Klunder. I saw the exhibition on Friday April 27...thanks for all comments. xo
    also - I will say that I am more interested now in reading Gwendolyn MacEwen's poetry...after the taste I had with these images.

  6. Thank you for the introductions- stunning and wrenching.

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  8. The silk thread art is very stunning. This type of thread is newly introduce. I love to see this informative things here in this post. thank you.


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