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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 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 everything.  I'm not sure that I still think this way.  Rather, now I think of it more as magical and filled with star-dust. 
And spheres.
Above is a detail of Penny Berens' beautiful Whispering Cairns.

Penny's work is more earthy than mine, she thinks more about the beauty of rocks and their long history.  She 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"

Penny and I communicate a powerful love for the earth with our natural dyes and hand stitch.
We must care for the earth as lovingly as we take care of our bodies.
So often, we ignore our bodies, yet still expect them to be ok.
The two of us are both aging, we need to give ourselves more self care.
We need to pay more attention.  To the earth.  To our bodies.
You need to pay more attention too. 
penny and miranda with judy martin's work in progress
Miranda, our curator, says that she sees many simlarities.  
We both live in rural environments and our homes, yards and plants we live with 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 expereicne.  Some differences, but also many similarities. 
Perhaps my work is about reminding people about what it feels like to be in nature and Penny's is more about what nature looks like as we move through it.
penny on left, judy on right - both works in progress
Our show will be a guide book for impossible ideas,
about that under tow of the swift passage of time, while also about how time is held in the safe earth and about the wounding self-awareness that comes over us when we look at the sky.

Miranda told us that she had to disconnect her eyes from her heart in order to see our work clearly and be able to talk about it.
stone islands  by Penny Berens left, dark side of the sun by judy martin right
That's because there is an emotional relationship to work made with cloth and thread.
All that touching.  It goes deep.
judy martin,  miranda bouchard, penny berens  May 2019
Judy works from intellectual research plus  magic
Penny goes with the flow

We are all star dust
Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for funding Miranda in this curatorial project.
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       Permaben Maheshwari Dangera, Nani Khakhar, Kutch , Gujaret, India
collected by Patricia Stoddard and Martha Wallace
for the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska
Permaben began quiltmaking in traditional style, and eventually began to improvise.  This quilt is named Laheria (waves) which is the name of a tie dye motif for men's turbans.  Permaben used thin pieces of cloth instead of the dye method.
Permaben Maheshwari Dangera from Nani Khakhar, Kutch, Gujaret. 
Collected in India by Patricia stoddard and martha wallace for the International quilt study Center and museum
Lincoln nebraska
A mustard yellow quilt with no repeating patterns.  Permaben had an original style.  "the people in the village made fun of me" she told the researchers.

This post is about the collection of quilts from Western India now on display at the International Quilt Study center and Museum in Lincoln Nebraska USA.  until August 18.  I am showing a few of the godhari (quilts) from this online link.   I am excited by these textiles.  Although I can't go to the exhibition, I can put images of the quilts here for us to enjoy.
The next few quilts are all made by members of the fortune teller group (joshi).  The one above was found near Pune, India by Geeta Khandelwal.
This godhari was found near Baramati also by Geeta.  At the link you can read about her time in these villages, and how the women were eager to show her their work.
The one above was found near Pune, also made by a member of the fortune telling group and collected by Geeta Khandewal.
This black one is from Wai, a village near the resort town of Mahabelshwar Maharashtra, another collected by Geeta.  The base fabric is a rarely worn black sari onto which the artist patched strips of colour radiating out from a face to represent the sun.
Siddi women's Quilting co-op member, Mibjam Bausabi, Uttar Kannad, Kamataka
The Siddi are an ethnic group descended from East African people who came as slaves to India in the  16th Century.  The women have made quilts for generations.
Iramma Kademari (1915 - 2010)  a bed quilt, made in Kumati Bijapur
The maker, Iramma, lived with 50 other family members all under one roof.  Over her lifetime she made more than 200 quilts from recycled clothing and bits of fabric. 
These quilts are full of heart.  The women who made them loved colour.
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I spent a lot of time alone when I was a child.  I grew up on a farm near Fort Frances in North Western Ontario, and from an early age I realized that making things helped me to find my true self.  
At the age of 12 I began to sew my own clothes and also to sell the doll clothes I loved to invent.  As a teen, I attended some painting classes with my mother and was encouraged by the teachers. 
beauty emotion spirit soul    judy martin  49" square
It was still a happy surprise however that I eventually turned these childhood passions into accomplished hand stitched art made in Northern Ontario, Canada. 
my soft jewel-heart   judy martin  28 inches square before frame
The framed mini quilt is a new piece for the Perivale gallery's summer season, opening May 19 in Spring Bay Manitoulin island.
Beauty Emotion Spirit Soul is the title piece for the  exhibition that took place last month at One Sky gallery in Sudbury
The biographical text is a small section of the writing I apparently need to do for the new website, still under construction.  I have to make sure there are keywords within it.  It's hard, and I am starting to question and doubt.   
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new work
Layers of horizontals.  Plant-dyed,light-weight, cottons and silks.
 Small pieces of cloth, each ironed in half and the fold stitched.
Then joined together into rows.
 All by hand.
Yesterday, I took this new project into Little Current
because my studio in town has 10 foot walls and good light.
(above photo of the swing bridge that connects Manitoulin to the mainland)
I'm placing the strips onto a foundation cloth.
Inspired by the huge sky and the wide horizon I attempt to express
a rather mystic feeling. 

Humans around the world look up.  And we feel infinity.  And connection.

the cosmos ...... the earth......
At home, I am  sorting and thinning fabrics and projects.
It's inspiring to handle cloth.
Spring is here.
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It's about time
We had bonfires during the Easter weekend
 The previous week we were on the road and I stitched.
It's medicine, this piece.
I also took photos of the winter trees and of the emerging earth through the car window.
I'm using black wool thread to make the repetitive stitches.
Each mark is different.  They are all the same.
The kids were home for Easter
They've gone back to the city now.
And the fire is out,  the ice still in
One of the first things that Ned did when we moved here was make this fire pit.
That was over 25 years ago.
It's all about time

my work

It is all about time
voluptuous time
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I went back to the Powerplant last week to see Alicia Henry's powerful exhibition, Witnessing for the second time.
 "Henry creates two-dimensional singular figures and group compositions that are commanding in their grace and expressiveness. "
 "Tender renditions of mother and child appear, as do groupings of more females that signifiy formations of families within communities"
 "Through their direct gaze and erect composure, Henry's multigenerational survivors exude a powerful strength and confidence.  They stand in anticipation of an egalitarian future - a utopian goal that underpins much of Henry's work"

 I am visiting the Powerplant in Toronto more this year because our daughter April (in above photo to demonstrate the gigantic scale of these wall mounted figures) is working right next door at Harbourfront craft and design studios as a resident artist this year.
I want to share the powerful simplicity and the confident handling of materials by Alicia Henry.  I was really moved and inspired by this exhibition. 
All text in quotes is from the pamphlet provided by The Power Plant. 
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The installation of the work in this space at One Sky is celestial.
The pieces are like stars in a constellation, each in its place yet connected to the others with invisible power lines.
Monumental Simplicity is part of this exhibition.

I made it in 2012, the thesis piece for my UK degree. 
A large ‘empty’ square.
with a horizon
and repetitive small marks that distract the eye just enough.

More images of this exhibition are here.
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This post is about the gathering up and the installation of  the 18 pieces for my exhibition in Sudbury this month,  beauty emotion spirit soul.

We hung the show last night with the curator, Cristina Masotti and two of her friends.  Afterwards, Ned and I found a place to eat and then we drove home.  It's a two hour drive and we got home at midnight.
I have not been able to do a thing today except an instagram and a facebook post about the show.  I'm blank.

I want to put a poem into the guest book, or a quote by Pema Chodron.

I read something about Milton Avery's paintings this morning.
About how he instilled emotion into his paintings.  And optimistm.  And wonder.
I think that describes the work in this serene exhibition.
There is a lot of positive feedback about my work on social media.
A 15 minute kind of fame.
It makes me glad that I live with the ice-covered lake in front of me and the deer
who come by every morning and every evening.

Simple and quiet things that ground me. 

Tomorrow night is the opening reception.
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  I drove myself into the city last weekend so that I could spend some time with the 5 year old.
mommy-princess-fairy by aili
I usually avoid doing that drive by myself because of the merges and the exits and the speed of the 400 highways in southern ontario.
 I'm home now and finishing up this small piece for the Perivale gallery.
daddy-prince-fairy by aili
 Are elves real?
My friend Jane has advised  that I put this section of piecework into a frame.
(rather than insert it into larger textiles like I tried here and here.
So that's what I am planning to do for now.
fairy king by grandmom, daddy-fairy-prnce by aili
My grand daughter and I took turns with the ball point pen in my journal.

( what the world needs now is time to think - alighiero boetti  )
fairy nanny by aili
are fairies real?
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It's raining outside.
Our driveway has a slight up hill onto the road and it is ice.
Slippery wet ice.
I began a new journal today.
I fill one book a month.
When I die, they will be able to build a small house wtih the journals I've kept over the years.
Yesterday I walked on the road.
I used to love my walk but now it's such hard work.
I want to get back to loving it again.
I want to look forward to the moving meditation that was part of my daily routine.
Now with the leg, I look for reasons not to walk.

I long for the talking-to-myself-out-loud kind of walk,
not the counting-my-steps kind of walk that I do now.
Also, about the journals, if I didn't have them and the inner life they contain,
the poetry would be gone from my work.

This week I'm finishing up the three pieces I took with me to Mexico.
It feels good to be able to stitch again as much as I need to.
I've started to read the Bhagavad Gita, a book that Gandhi used as his personal guide.

Some say that this text is India's most important gift to the world.
It tells us that we are meant to be as much at home in our inner consciousness
as in the world of physical reality.
My copy is translated by Eknath Easwaran.  In the introduction he sums up the perennial philosophy of the Gita.

1. there is an infinite changeless reality beneath the world of change
2  this same reality lies at the core of every human
3  the purpose of life is to discover this reality through life experience
Representative stuff comes from out there.
Abstract design comes from inside.
The combination is what separates a work of art from the every dayness of experience.
It also gives the work an alien feeling that is mercilessly intimate. 
 (Frank Webb, painter)
journal paper stitched to an old table cloth
the deer in my driveway
my fragile life
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