|the journals I'm working in now|
After years of stumbling, pushing branches out of my face, tripping over holes I didn’t see, I am finally on an open road, with daylight and a breeze, that continues and continues, not cluttered.
I’ve pared away many things so that I can spend my time doing the things I love. I no longer knit, I no longer sew clothing, I no longer paint, I no longer play the piano and no longer teach it, I no longer teach art or quilting, I no longer have young children because my four have grown into adults, I no longer travel although I would if I could.
I do still read a lot of fiction and non fiction, I still write in my notebooks daily, I try to walk every day on my country road. I love to have flowers in the house, I love and am married to the same man for whom I cook and bake, but I spend most of my time making hand stitched textile art. I collect cloth and dye it with plants. I arrange it and stitch it in place very simply and slowly.
|journals 2013 - 2021|
|journals in my dye studio|
I started dyeing cloth and creating art from that dyed cloth when I was a young mother, using dyes that I could buy at the grocery store. These were hot water dyes and disappointingly dull. I learned about fibre-reactive chemical dyes soon after and became an expert in overdyeing. I was able to create subtle colours for the story quilts I made in the 80’s and 90’s.
I switched to natural plant dyes in the 2000’s beginning with onion skins, golden rod and indigo. I am self taught in dyeing, relying on my own natural curiosity and also books by Jenny Dean, Indigo Flint and Rebecca Burgess. The quilts I make now are very simple, with the subtle colours of nature arranged in archetypal shapes like circles, dots, squares, triangles arranged with a lot of empty space. I hand stitch everything. It is rare when I use a sewing machine or an iron, but occasionally I will.
I have been helped to find this path because I keep journals. My journals and notebooks are part of my daily practice and have helped me to find this path and to stay on it.
|journals in the bedroom closet|
I grew up in a rural area in middle of Canada. I spent a lot of time alone and took piano lessons. My father was 100 percent Finnish, my mother was 100 percent intense.
I grew up with art supplies and a sewing machine. I learned how working with cloth and thread of all kinds made me go into my inner world and feel at peace.
More than anything, more than Bach, I loved repeated stitch. I think I might have been a bit strange.
|journals in the laundry room cupboard|
Tell us your story:
Once upon a time there was a princess who lived in a dream world. She drew outfits on sheet after sheet of paper, imagining that they were already sewn into clothing that she would wear for wide variety of occasions, such as working in a big office with a tight skirt and high heels, or going to a ball in a strapless dress with huge puffy skirt, or riding a horse off into the distance, plaid shirt and tight pants. She never did any of those things in the real world by the way. She is now a queen and still lives in a dream world most of the time. Not all of the time, just most of it.
|a box of wrapped up journals|
|more journals and wrapped journals in downstairs bookcase|
I have pared away many creative activities to arrive at just three. Every single day, I stitch and do journal work and then usually three times a year, I also dye cloth. I hand stitch about 6 hours a day, and the journals pile up around me. I surrender to them. Journals are very important to my artistic practice because thoughtful writing brings the inside me out into a safe place. I re-read parts of a journal or two each day as a ritual. My journals help me to stay on my authentic path.