Monday, January 22, 2018

the left leg moving forward

I make quilts as a way to understand myself.
I start with my own experience and my own dream world.
If you find connections with your experience or your dream world through my work, then I have succeeded in something very special.

My life, my dreams,those moments hidden in every day life, all rise up as I stitch.

I consider things from the point of view of a mother.
Beauty makes us human.
Beauty makes us more aware of what we could do and be.
We are bound together by beauty  (this is an abigail doan idea)
Images in this post are of a new piece that I personally find beautiful.

I stitched it throughout most of 2017, and the handling of it, the looking at it, the touching it repeatedly, made me very happy.  It put me into my dream world then, and it still does when I run my hands and eyes over it.

The Cloud In Me.  New organic cotton with old and new velvet reverse applique.  Washed and dried seven times.  The dark velvet cloth that fills the random holes was a gift, fifty years old at least and some of it dis-integrated in the laundry and was replaced with younger stuff.  The areas of bleeding from the nine dots of pink silk have left a rosy stain in the centre of the piece.  The scribbled loopy lines that catch and distract my eye and fingers just the right amount are embroidered, yes, but they are also quilting stitches and work just as hard to hold the piece together as does the close hand stitched grid. 

(The Cloud In Mhere)

On my walk today I noticed that I still need to chant my steps.

I used to be able to think about other things during this daily walk,
but I am lame since this happened.  I use a cane.  I still have pain.

The left leg moves forward and I count until I get to 100.
Then I stop and stand.  I breathe deeply, and then step to 100 again.
Yesterday I did 400 steps forward, and then came home, 400 more,
Does the huge amount of stitching I do disassociate me from my body?
So that instead of healing me, (as I have claimed) it allows me to ignore my leg
I stitch by my window where it is comfortable, legs up, and watch the birds.
I go into my day dream mind.
My repetitive yet very intelligent hand comforts me as it caresses the cloth
I feel at such peace.
yes, I ignore my body for a while.

The birds come to the feeder.
The snow melts.
The repeated touching of hand stitch connects to a dream world of emotions.
We each have an immensity within and quilts help us dream.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

January Projects

January Project

a baby quilt for Maia
I started with the fun - folk borders
April's working from our house this month.
Photographing her ceramics on the clean snow.
January project

My daily practice 
velvet and flannel on felt

When it was 9 days old it was perfect.
Now it is 18 days old.
January project

a rescue cloth made from a flannel sheet a utility cloth of some sort. .
January Project

A flannel quilt top machine pieced with small dark crosses.  It holds the conversations that April and I are having.

These two large cloths are spread out with a 3rd layer of flannel between,  ready to be basted.
 Cloth and time are my main materials and I continue to trust them.

I ask myself:
What is this material's experience?
January Project

simplifying my life
death cleaning my clutter (book here)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

I was waiting I was waiting

By Chance

That's what John Cage said when Anni Albers asked him how he started to find his way in his work.
 so "Don't worry"

says Anni Albers
Images in this post are of two pieces of art that I have in my house this week that will go back to rightful owners soon.

The stitched piece (Beginning with Time), was loaned for an exhibition in Thunder Bay and the painting of pussy willows with text by Anne Michaels needs some repair.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Our daughter and her art work

Windy  (detail)  mono print with textile collage

from left:  Pink Hill ceramic, April installing the mono prints with textile collage, Windy and Breezy,
 and Royal Mountain ceramic sculpture
April and I spent a couple of days in Sudbury this weekend.  She installed her work at the Northern Artist Gallery at Artists on Elgin on the Friday, and then Saturday, January 6,  was the reception.  The exhibition, Effloresence, will be on view until January 30.
 This is her third exhibition in seven weeks.
foreground:  three of the twelve untitled factory sculptures made entirely from clay glazed with oxides, each sitting on custom made plinths from welded metal, background:  found linen with custom wooden stretcher
The first opened on November 17 at Roots and Culture in Chicago, the second opened December 1 at ACRE Projects in Chicago.  We were so pleased to see both of those shows when we went to Chicago in mid December to pick up April and bring her back to Canada.  I've written about them on Modernist Aesthetic - click here for direct link.
The people that we worked with at the gallery (Lauren and Stephanie) were very helpful.
left:  Untitled Factory clay sculpture, middle: Breezy monoprint with textile collage, right: Royal Mountain ceramic
For myself, it was a real treat to see my kid with her playful and brave art.

She has made art all her life, knew about Vincent Van Gogh when she was three years old. 

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

daily practice

I make large hand stitched drawings.  
My work reflects upon the place I live, a sparsely populated island in Lake Huron, Canada.
I use the aesthetics of simplicity, time, labour, and repetition in combination with the sense of touch.
I spend quiet time with the work, and make repeated, interesting marks.
At the same time, I keep hand written journals (about 200 so far) where I document my daily life, my thoughts, and notes on what I have read. 
Perhaps because I am a parent of four children, I’ve been interested in how mother artists and writers manage their creative lives.  

I have a daily practice of journal-writing.

This year I am paying even more attention to my journals.
I'm re-reading them.
I feel as if I'm really knowing my self.

I'm reminding myself about who I am, because its hard to stay true when one is easily inspired.
On New Years Day there was a super moon.
I stood outside and looked up at it around midnight.
It was awesome, large and bright, with a large ring around it.
The air was super crisp and cold.

I'm starting a new daily practice of stitched collage, using up a piece of contrary felt that I purchased in Alaska in 2009 as a base to stitch into.
A new thing here is that our daughter April will be based out of our house in January.
Her energy is sure to influence how I spend my time.
I look forward to being with her a lot, but I also want to hold on to my self.

My own work.
I feel that these collages will give me a place to play with patterns.
I will allow patterns.
We are given these shapes or archetypes or patterns and we just need to record them.

It's destiny.

In most of my work I try to pare extra shapes away, in order to give more empty space for dreams,
but in these collages, I will let them come.
The first shapes.   

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


fresh snow.
new slippers
warm hearts

I'm sending out love this holiday season to you who read and support my writing and making.
Thank you.  
Let's continue.  xoxo

Monday, December 18, 2017

the reason we are here is to grow

Untitled felt on felt 2017 by William J O'Brien
Festive Greetings from my family to yours.

This felt on felt artwork is by William J O'Brien, and I saw it on Saturday, part of his solo show at Shane Campbell Gallery,  Chicago, Illinois USA.
It has so much positive energy and exhuberance.

It feels to me like how I feel when I am in the USA.
This is my fifth trip to the United States in 2017.
All of them have been really positive experiences, full of energy.

Chicago, Lincoln, Athens and Rosendale, Anchorage, Chicago
Full of friendly people and beautiful landscapes.

Ned and I are here to see April's two exhibitions and to bring her  home to Canada.
We drove along Lake Michigan and will return the same way.  It's a big land.

Look at the circles and the hands and the upward energy in this large applique. (60 x 72 inches)
The wintery palette.   
William J O'Brien, thank you for reminding us that the reason we are here is to grow. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

medicine earth

I have been spending the last ten days in uncertainty
working on this eco printed 2 sided piece.

I can not tame it into my aesthetic.
It roils and bubbles and gets lumpy and ugly.
I can't seem to please it.
I can't seem to find my way with it, and yet it holds such promise with its beautiful earth - archteype- thin place lovliness/anxiousness

I can't just abandon it.
It is typical of what so often happens for me with dyed fabric.
An example of how hard it is to be simple.
I respond to the marks made by the bundled plants
I respond to the beatuiful accidents and want to sing along with them.
But when I do that, the aesthetic of simplicity that holds my work steady
is abandoned.

These marks are exciting.
Is it possible to carry their energy with my hands back to my simple quiet spirit home?

and also dance with them in their own space?
Yet these exciting and beautiful marks resist me.
They are too strong.  They are willful
They are difficult.
I sit and stare at it a lot.
Does it need some colour?  I pin pink linen to lower right.
Does it need a red bit?  I pin a thin horizontal line.
I make a red cross.
I make black and white borders.

I need to work through this piece.
It needs me.
I've experienced some loss recently

I need to be needed.

Making is medicine for me.
Art work made by hand is a physical outward attempt
to communicate something terribly inner.

(from an old journal)
The archetypal shapes are helping me.

the circle
the cross
the grid

Marks that connect human psyche across time and place.

painting is so difficult, life is so short 
                                                                                                            Louise Bourgeois