Sunday, January 12, 2020

New Work

Island Heart 2019 by Judy Martin,
rayon, silk, rust, harvested local plant-dyes, a few commercial fabrics including my late father's hospital gown
 80" h x 73" w, embroidered with wool yarns and hand quilted with cotton threads 
I took photographs of finished new work last week.
Looking at my work through photographing it gives give me a distance from it.
I'm able to see my own work more clearly.
I am a woman and am often interupted.
This means that my work develops deeply, with many layers, over a period of months.
Because I usually have many pieces underway,
I just put them away in drawers or shelves for breaks of three to four months
and they steep.
As time whirls past,
my life experiences alter how I see those pieces in the drawers,
so that when I bring them out to work on again,
I see them more clearly and am ready to move forward.
However, very often, my work and I move need to move backwards.
Things need to be un-picked so that my work and I can start up again on a different path.
Flowers Started Blooming Inside Me  2019, Judy Martin 
rescued wool blanket saddened with iron, holes cut into it, autobiographical artwork and velvet appliqued onto it,
 hand stitched with wool threads   67"h x 26" w (when folded in....62" wide when full width)
It was through photographing it that I was inspired to make a cocoon shape out of the blanket piece.

Flowers Started Blooming Inside Me went through so many stages, all very intense and quite personal. 
I cut the holes to make it vulnerable because women are full of holes and are so open.
I added the spirals and the horizontal stitching after so it would be stronger.
Those red spirals.
They seem like flowers.
And as I worked on the piece, I began to feel loved.
Was it the work that did this?
" I wish my work to have the lightness and joyousness of a springtime which never lets anyone suspect the labours it has cost"   Henri Matisse
Touching The Sky  2020, Judy Martin 
silk velvet, harvested local plant dyes, appliqued to commercially embroidered linen base, then folded.  51" h x 21" w   
I finished the velvet piece late at night, pinned it to the wall rather carelessly and went to bed.
I woke early with this piece on my mind and when I saw it again I realized that it was a self portrait.
It's me.
It's how I feel about my body when I do not have a mirror.
I feel soft.
Touching the Sky
Like my other new work, the materials led me.
This one is velvet, with unexpected rich surprises of colour from local plants.
Velvet responds so well to dye process.
It's so lush and soft.
I kept stitching it and touching it.
It was the touching of it that made me want to tuck it in towards itself.
This made it even more loveable.
My work makes use of the things that only thread and cloth can do.
Prayer to the Sky  2019  Judy Martin
three layers of wool, (madder interior layer, indigo exterior layer), tucked, embroidered and hand quilted,
cut to reveal the inner layer, 60" h x 64.5" w 
The indigo horizon piece was unpicked a lot.
The barely there marks are like chanting.
Perhaps it too is about female interior yearning and fragility and openness and sadness.
These new pieces are the sexiest I have ever made.

Cloth becomes charged with touch.
We rub and cut and pierce and poke and touch.  
Eventually it feels as if the cloth touches us back.
(an Abbas Akhavan idea)

This is my work.


  1. (((Judy))) such a masterful or should I say mistressful body of work, love the poetry in the movement of wech piece & in your statements with so many lines that moved me viscerally straight to the heart of the matter, to quote from your "Flowers Started Blooming Inside Me";
    "I cut the holes to make it vulnerable because women are full of holes and are so open.
    And as I worked on the piece, I began to feel loved.
    Was it the work that did this?"
    you have such a deep understanding of how it is to be a woman fully embracing & loving each of those holes... you take my breath away and make me see stars...

    1. oops each piece...

    2. You are very generous with your support dear Mo. xoxo

  2. i connect with Mo's words , it takes my breath away , i close my eyes and feel the vulnerable holes to open myself , thank you Judy

  3. so beautiful and touching, thank you.

  4. Stunning work as usual, so full of meaning and vulnerability.

  5. Oh Judy, my heart reverberates with deep understanding. Would I be able to stand if I could meet them.

  6. Judy... these are ALL drop dead gorgeous!!! Congratulations my dear friend, and Happy New Decade.. may it bring you ever more joy and fulfillment. xx L

  7. Thank you friends for your supportive comments. I've been working on these pieces all year - and they were ready to block and photograph at the end of 2019...It's really nice to have new work for a new decade. xo

  8. So beautiful ... WOW !

  9. Amazing content Judy, keep up the good work!

  10. "Touching the Sky" oh my, incredibly sensory and yummy. "Island Heart" is such a powerful piece Judy. And I totally agree about photographing your work. Before I retired from teaching the arts to youngsters, I used to make them pin their pieces on the wall and turn their backs on them and walk away, far away, then turn around and they were able to look at them more objectively. The same is I've found with photographing your work. You see it in a whole new way. It really helps me to balance my designs and unify my pieces.


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