Tuesday, May 21, 2019

penny miranda studio visit

resting between night and day (left) resting at low tide (right) both pieces by Penny Berens
Penny Berens (above left) and Miranda Bouchard (right) came to visit on the weekend.    
Penny and I are having a show together in 2021 and Miranda has agreed to be our curator.
The work is still very much in progress.  
We met over the weekend to get a better sense of how it fits together and pinned our pieces up side by side on my pinwall. 
The blue piece in the above photo is Sky with Many Moons (Judy Martin)
We noticed contrasts and similarities in our work. 
My work is generally quite light, both in colour and weight (sometimes only one layer of sheer cloth).  It's usually quite tall.   I like people to look up at my work, as humans all over the world look at the moon.

I used to think of the sky as an invisible protective roof over the earth, my kids, everything.  I'm not sure that I still think like that.  Now I think of it more as magical, even spiritual, filled with star-dust. 
And spheres.
Above is a detail of Penny Berens' beautiful Whispering Cairns.

Penny's work for this show is more earthy.  She is thinking about the beauty of rocks and about the way they hold so much time.  She works with natural dyes too, but is adding more colour to her new work. In the piece in above photo, she says that she is thinking about "all the women who have gone before me in history"

Both Penny and I communicate our powerful love for the earth through the use of natural dyes and repetitive hand stitch / caress.

It's time to think more about caring.
We must care for the earth as lovingly as we take care of our bodies.
Many of us don't think about our bodies, yet still expect them to be ok.

We need to give ourselves self care.
We need to pay more attention.  To the earth and to our bodies.
penny and miranda with judy martin's work in progress
Miranda, our curator, says that she sees many simlarities in Penny and me as persons and artists.  
We both live in rural environments and are mothers and grandmothers.  
Our homes and yards where we each live are similar.
We both feel the presence and influence of a large body of water
We both have a country road, 
Penny lives near Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia, while I live near Sheguiandah on Manitoulin Island.  Both places are steeped in history.  
We each have a long depth of life experience.  Some differences, but also many similarities. 
I like to think that my work is about reminding people how nature connects us to our interior selves when we stand still and look up and beyond the horizon while Penny's work is closer to what nature looks, smells, and feels like as we move within it, observing.
penny on left, judy on right - both works in progress
Our show will guide viewers through ideas that seem impossible to have at the same time: the swift passage of time that is being held for ages within the trees and rocks, the wounding self-awareness that comes over us when we look at the sky and understand that we are so small, yet immense within, full of past and present and future time.

Miranda told us that at times, to objectively see and speak about our work, she has to disconnect her eyes from her heart.
stone islands  by Penny Berens left, dark side of the sun by judy martin right
That's because there is an emotional power in work made with cloth and thread.
All that touching.  It goes deep.
judy martin,  miranda bouchard, penny berens  May 2019
Judy works from a combination of thought, research and poetry,
Penny observes her environment, says that she goes with the flow.

Both of us are star dust.  We all are.

Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for funding Miranda in this curatorial project.


  1. "All that touching. It goes deep."
    straight to the heart

    1. touch is the mother of the senses xo

  2. What a powerful trio - each using your amazing talents to tell a beautiful story. i wish the future exhibition was coming to Australia!

    1. We are hoping to tour it in more than one gallery. Australia would be amazing!! xo

  3. This is going to be amazing. It never fails, following both you and Penny, I start to wavier in my work, your words and stitching takes me back and grounds me. I love that you both have similarities and yet are so different in your work.

    1. Our work complements each other beautifully, Thanks for commenting Tina xo

  4. Your work inspires as well as your friendship.

  5. How precious it is to have such connection! Best wishes for your next collaboration!

    1. Thank you Margaret. We are feeling good about this project xo

  6. Thanks for sharing your personal process and gorgeous work, as well as Penny Beren's work. So much inspiration.

  7. Reflection grounds us. Introspective study and contemplation in time and place are tools we need to cherish. The pair of you are a blessing to our art world. Inward looks deep into the world you live in are a record in time that will follow you both, as the stitches prove the path and the cloth speaks.

    1. Beth, thank you for your thoughtful and beautiful comment. I love the idea of the cloth speaking. xo

  8. I loved learning about the similarities between you and Penny. Miranda is an excellent observer, and how amazing to have a curators eye to critique and encourage at this stage—before the show, amidst creation!

    You are such an advocate of touching, in every sense of the word. And you/we are also stardust. You help us touch the stars, even as we touch each other and ourselves. It is a lovely thought that touching each other and ourselves is touching the stars.

    I would love to see your show here in Ontario. I am hoping that will happen.

    1. "Touching the Stars" A title for something - maybe an exhibition someday.
      Thank you for a supportive and beautiful comment xo

  9. the 3 of you have formed a rich conduit to question, inspire and engage over your process of making. As ever, I'm inspired and long to be with you all.


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