Wednesday, September 20, 2017

We are not ashamed of our helplessness

No one really wants to have perfection - we dream about perfection
 I am not what I am.  I am what I do with my hands
A work of art doesn't need to be explained.  If it doesn't touch you, then I have failed.

All text in this post from art 21 video interview with Louise Bourgeois. (including the title)
The images are from July.   The quilt shown in them has since been undone and now I am re-doing it for that exhibition in October.

I have been hunkered down with my needle and hoop for the months of August and September.  I am so focused on finishing up the large pieces for this show that I feel my self becoming lost.  And I've started to think that in the big picture of our world, an exhibition of my quilts is only a speck.

I do.  I un do.  I re-do.  Louise Bourgeois
Art is a guarantee of sanity.  Louise Bourgeois

Saturday, September 16, 2017

the cloud in me

I visited Connie yesterday.
Our visits are more emotional now.
She moved into a nursing home August 8.  She is 89.
I've written a bit about her before, here and here.
When we met I was in my early 40's and she was in her late 60's.
Actually, she is the same age as my mother would have been if she were still alive.

She has such yearning.
I reminded her that she has an inner cloud of memories inside her.
And dreams. 
She said that the memories made her sad....but I think that will change.
I think they will save her.
Images are of finished new work for my exhibition in October.
 still one more large one to go xo

Sunday, September 10, 2017

more softness

I feel awe every day
when I look out at the sun glittering on the water
and every night when the moon does the same thing.
I live in a lonely beauty.
Manitou means God.  Manitoulin Island is Spirit Island,

and this spiritual place is embedded in my stitched art.
This work also is based on the ideas of destruction and reparation
and more softness.

More humility.
Life changes in an ordinary instant.
We bleed.
My work is done in a rush of slow.

It gives me self-healing.
I hope that it communicates something to the inner inner of my viewers.
This piece arrived for me without too much thinking,
in a rush,
It came out of an almost erotic inner dreamworld
very sensuous and intuitive,
and then my hands touched and touched it.

I stitched and stitched
through the spring
throughout the summer
and now it is September
and all the while i knew it was art and yet it was also something else.
A healing cloth.
I felt myself becoming whole.
inner symbols
almost a mandala
My work holds the whirl of each day
the rush of time
the emotions of life

I'm just doing the best I can.

Friday, September 08, 2017

only in the middle of our story

 She let her words fly forth as blessings
 like white birds cheering the heart
 In the shelter of Bear's arms she let go of her fears
ned and judy 25 years 
Her words became like birds and flew away
becoming something unexpected.

It's our 44th wedding anniversary today, and I am thinking about a card I received, a gift.  It had Denise Kester's poem (quoted above) and image (see here) on it.  The friend told me that Ned is my bear and that is true.  

I made this quilt with quote by Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet XIV to celebrate our 25th. That was 19 years ago and we were just barely in the middle of our story.  Click here for entire quilt.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

breathing out

on a soft pillow I will lay down my limbs
 Eros shook my mind like a mountain wind falling on oak trees
 you came and I was crazy for you and you cooled my mind that burned with longing
 for the man who is beautiful is beautiful to see
 but the good man at once also beautiful be
I don't know what to do
two states of mind in me
 I would not think to touch the sky with two arms
 you will go your way among dim shapes
 having been breathed out

all text by sappho, translated by Anne Carson
images are of work in progress, The Cloud In Me - stitched cotton quilt

Thursday, August 31, 2017


Catenary is a term used to describe the curve assumed by a cord suspended freely from two points.

Jasper Johns made a series of artworks between 1997 and 2003 in which he tacked household string to the canvas or its supports to form catenaries.

Near The Lagoon  Encaustic on canvas and wood board with objects is the last of his 'catenary' series.
The string casts a shadow on the canvas.

Jasper Johns also pushed the string into the encaustic and then removed it.
The resulting mark is enlivened with paint.
I saw this painting during one of our visits to Chicago when our daughter, April, was studying at the Art Institute.

I respond to it.   Why?
The curve.  The materials that seem so real.
The visible touch of his hand.
The scale of it. (118" high x 84" wide x 4 " deep)

It's like an out breath..

Friday, August 25, 2017

cloud of time

 A long time.  A cloud of time.
 A world of time.
A sun shine of life.
I noticed the little quilt that I made for my father - Sisu - folded, full of touch and time,
and saw that the USE of it was what made it so beautiful.
The washing and the drying and the time.
The time.
 This gave me the courage to wash and dry my re-configured cloud.  (see here for previous)
I wanted this piece to be more than just surface.
I wanted it to be transformed through near death by drowning,
and from hanging by its own vulnerable edge,
so that its own life experience would be its beauty.

I trusted.
Cloud of Time is an accumulation of days,
time made visible through hand work,
wisdom and beauty learned by the body. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Mended World on the dining room table

I brought Mended World home from the church so that I could package it up for exhibition at the International Quilt Festival in November.
Having it on the dining table rather over whelmed me.
There is so much touch in this piece.
So much time.
So much attention and intention.
It's 94 inches square.  Full image here.
In 1977, Adrienne Rich wrote about women's tasks.  She included world protection, world preservation and world repair in her list.
This quilt is made from donated or thrift shop table linens.  Over 100 people worked on it.
Mended World is the second panel (of four) in the Manitoulin Circle Project.  It was installed in the sanctuary of Little Current United Church in 2012.       
In 1971, Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro initiated Woman House, "a repository of the daydreams women have as they wash, bake, cook, sew, clean and iron their lives away"
Repairing the world while sewing our lives away.
My densely stitched quilts are so sensuous
they yearn to be touched
How many of them will it take to mend the world?
How many of them can I day dream my life away in?