Wednesday, October 12, 2016

walk and talk elemental festival

Judy Martin presented her metaphysical talk to appreciative gatherings on both days of the festival.   Afterwards, many attempted to match her slow gait along the river walk in Kagawong, Manitoulin Island Ontario Canada.
Elemental Festival 2
Manitoulin Island Canada
October 1  (4:45 pm and October 2 (1 pm) 2016
What follows is almost the complete text of her talk.

My daily outdoor walk is a rhythm, a routine, a line of steps.  My foot steps are like stitches.  I am sewing myself to this place.  I am connecting to my rural area and my life here on Manitoulin.  To turn this into an art project, I began to mark each walk by moving a square of white cloth into a basket.  My walk is 1 km to Cricket Hill and 1 km back home again.  1 km is 1250 steps.

Big projects attract me.  I like to be absorbed in a piece for years, allowing it to be part of my daily routine.  I am making a 1 km path with marks like running stitches that represents my footprint and my gait. 

On May 3, I was unable to do my walk as my left leg developed so much pain.
On May 19 I began to sew instead of walk, using up fabrics that I have collected and saved over my life time to sew 1 km of patchwork.  I thought that this will be a fabric piece about my daily walk but also about my sewing practice and used a chain stitch method to create half square triangles.  I began to love admire the strong chains that were coming forth and sewed every day rather than walked every day with cloth I have collected for 40 years. Each piece of cloth has its own story. (father’s hospita gown , silk from commission etc)

The cloth seemed like a luminous halo that represented my life.  My walking piece was morphing into a life path.  Virginia Woolf said:   Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.

This project became less about my daily walk on Manitoulin and more about an accumulation of moments of life itself. A long orderly path of cloth purchased for projects, some made, some not.  A life of stepping over and through hurdles and burdens, joys and unexpected visions.  My leg kept me from doing the walk on the road, but not from sewing the road.  The path I was piecing had to do with mortality and summing up and about stitching my Self together. 

I couldn’t bear weight on my left leg to make the steps but I could sew a soft cloth path that was giving me strength.  Van Gogh said that colour has power over line.  Line may be the language of reason but colour is sensuality itself. Making a path of memory and colour with the sewing machine’s walking foot, resting my painful leg. A path that shows how it FEELS to be alive.  

On May 31 Ned bought me a cane.  
On June 5 the leg broke.

My left femur just broke with spontaneous spiral fracture.  A clean break, it was mended with surgery with a titanium nail from hip to knee, inserted into the bone marrow so that the bone would grow around it.
I needed to heal.  A way I have used to self-heal in past was to make bundles.  When my mother was dying, I started to wrap things and found the action of wrapping very therapeutic.  The gesture created a real material object, but the motion of it took me beyond it. The slowness, the time, the touching, the moving arm gesture, Touch is the mother of the senses. I started to use those white squares and wrap the white sweet clover that grows on our beach in July  It grows as tall as a human and smells very sweet.  My husband would bring me up a tall stalk that I would then break and bend to make them small enough to fit within the white squares.  I thought, here are the foot- steps of my path.
It was my daughter who said they looked like bones.  

The walking piece had morphed again.  I am using the chain sritched luminous halo cloth triangle-squares to space the foot-steps / broken bones  / running stitches together in a long line, not 1 km yet, but getting there.   This project shows faith in the future and faith in myself.

Working with materials reveals me to myself.  I understand my life and healing through making.    In
Eastern cultures believe that the act of joining small pieces together embodies a wish for a long life.
Physical and spiritual are combined in my path.  The bone wrappings might represent the body, but they also yield a mystery.  What is inside?  What is inside that wrapping we wonder.   Is it the spirit?

The chains of half square triangles, dark and light, red and black, old clothing and new velvet are sewn together only to be eventually split apart.  When split, they show that they indeed joined.   When strung together they make a strong chain and give space for the body-mystery to move along.

Step step step.  My body – spirit steps into the future.  Over and over and over, every day, every day , every day.  The birds and the clouds in the sky, the ground beneath my feet, the ditches that change through the seasons, the neighbours that I smile greetings at, we all move along it. 

I use my cane now.  I do my shortened daily walk, moving through pain.  Not thinking but moving.  Just being.  This piece is not narrative.  It is essentialist.  It is about being.
As you walk this path, go slowly.  Match my gait.  Stay one metre away from the person in front of you and notice your own experience of walking along this river.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lecture for Canadian Embroiders' Guild, London 45th anniversary celebration

In 2006 I went back to school for a degree in embroidery.  I went through OPUS, run by the well-known Julia Caprara, and completed that degree from Middlesex in 2012.  This is my graduate piece, 100 inches square made from wool –silk blend fabric that I dyed with local plants and hand stitched.

Even though I now hold a university degree in embroidery, I feel as if I’m self-taught.  So much of what I do, I just figure it out.  I look at samples and books and online, I look at paintings and installations, I read, I take walks outside, and then I plunge in fearlessly.   I plunge.
I’m reading Marion Milner’s famous book “On Not Being Able To Paint” at the moment and on page 117 she wrote:    “If the sun and moon should doubt, they’d immediately go out”
She uses this rhyme to illustrate the doubt that debilitates creativity.  How so often we do nothing because we are afraid for the badness of our effort.  We become unable to draw because we are not able to see ahead.  We rely on patterns.    
In the workshops this week we’ve been making the swirling circles traditional to Indian Kantha cloths.    They are made with the simple running stitch that carefully begins from the outside edge and goes around and around, advancing a few threads each time.   Cautiously, carefully, slow, around and around, then all of a sudden when we aren’t even thinking about it much,  we see that we have made a swirl.  It just happened.  Life happens the way it is supposed to.  No pre-drawing required.  Plunge in but go very slowly.   

Maybe that’s my mantra.  Plunge in.  Go Slow. 

Excerpts from the lecture
September 23 2016
Aeolian Theatre, London Ontario Canada

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

celebrating our circles series of workshops

Judy Martin
Celebrating our Circles
A series of four one day workshops to celebrate the 45th anniversary
of the Canadian Embroidery Guild, London  1975 - 2016

September 20, 21, 22, 24 2016 in London Ontario Canada
Pictured are circles made using the bending stitch, the Kaitya from India, and two using the buttonhole stitch, inspired by contemporary Japanese artist, Junko Oki.  Other stitches in the workshops are: the reverse applique dot, the chemanthy and the one sided flat stitch used in Scandinavian sun and star flowers.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hard Twist 11: Spin

HARD TWIST 11: SPIN, the eleventh annual edition of the Gladstone Hotel’s signature show of textile-based art, invites artists to give us their own spin on spin.

To spin is to transform. Whether it’s turning a fleece into yarn for a cozy sweater or rotating a dubious fact through angles of truth, spinning changes what you started with into something very different.

Hard Twist has become an important annual event within the Canadian textile art community as well as being a signature event for the Gladstone.

Stacie Go Eun Baek, Claire Bartleman, Annabel Berthoff, Jessica Bromley Bartram, Valerie Carew, Valerie Dennis, Lise Downe, Judy Duggan-McCormack, Martina Edmondson, Margot Fagan, Shannon Gerard and Liam Blackburn, Amanda Gresik, Connie Lynn Higgs, Wilma Kenny, Ketzia Kobrah and Laurel Sherman, Lynne M Mack, Judith e Martin, Kathleen Morris, Natalie Nadeau, Jenna Richards, Brooke Ripley, Rob Shostak, Jennifer Wigmore, Jen Wilson and Wenzi Li

Julie Nicholson: Design advocate, Curator Do Design, co-founder TO DO Festival.
Dorie Millerson: AOCAD, MFA Chair, Material Art & Design
Paula John: Hard Twist 10 Artist
Helena Frei and Chris Mitchell: Hard Twist curators
Lukus Toane – Director of Exhibitions, Gladstone Hotel (ex-officio)

#HardTwist11 | @Gladstonehotel

1214 Queen Street West Toronto, ON Canada M6J 1J6

Thursday, August 11, 2016

visiters from Australia

Jan Milne and her husband stopped in to visit Judy on August 10.  They have traveled from their home in Australia and will be visiting North America for 3 weeks.

They had come from Little Current United Church where they had viewed the permanent installation of the Manitoulin Circle Project panels.  Jan had followed their creation on Judy's Journal.  Jan will be studying with Judy at Ballarat during Fibre Arts Australia in April 2017.  Click here to read the article in the Manitoulin Expositor about the Milne's visit to view the panels and about Judy's upcoming Australian adventure.
Below:  photos of the panels
earthark detail

precious water
mended world  detail
layers of time

Saturday, July 30, 2016

And Still Maintain a Normal Life - sold

And Still Maintain a Normal Life
hand stitch on wool flannel, mounted on linen, framed
sold at Perivale Gallery Manitoulin Island

One of five pieces Judy Martin is showing at the gallery this season.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In the Spirit of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

Turning the Air to Cloth  Embroidered Quilt 2015 by Judith e Martin
Perivale Gallery
July 23 - August 7 2016
In the Spirit of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven
Group exhibition of gallery artists

opening receptiong July 23 2 -5 pm
hours 10-5 pm every day
705 377 4874

Judy Martin will participate in this exhibition with the embroiderey - quilted wall piece, 'turnng the air to cloth'
In reference to Tom Thomson's 1915 painting Round Lake, Mud Bay