Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Art Quilts International: Abstract and Geometric

This book is now published and is available in all major bookstores.  You can also order the book from this link.  Judy Martin is one of the 29 featured artists that author Martha Sielman interviewed so very well.  She has the rare gift of being able to hone in on each artist's personal belief system.

As well there are 95 other quilts from artists across the globe including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, japan, latvia, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK and of course the USA.

Judy's article begins on page 80.  After a brief introduction by Martha Sielman, the text continues in the artist's voice.
Judy Martin
Manitoulin Island Ontario Canada
Known for her dense hand stitching, Judy Martin's art explores the process of making.  Working in cloth is a form of meditation, as thousands of stitches slowly cover the surface and piece together a new beginning.

Process not product

Making something slowly with one's hands is perhaps on of the most nourishing things a person can do.  Creating something from nothing - or better, creating something new from something no longer needed or wanted - is healing for the planet and for us.
Mended world   2012  94" x 94"
   repurposed linen and cotton damask, silk, cotton, hand pieced, machine pieced, hand quilted, hand embroidered.
  Made ith community assistance as part of the Manitoulin Circle Project  
The Manitoulin Circle Project was a sewing circle that met every week to create four ninety-inch-square panels.  One of the four panels, Mended world, uses a variety of donated and thrift shop damask table linens string-pieced together, cut and pieced again.  Because of the multiple seams, the narrow strings often had to be mended using backstitching as they were being pieced together.  As I worked to mend an area of the central circle, the title Mended World came to me as a description of the form e ere stitching, as ell as a vision of hope for our planet.  I think that these panels give hope.  These panels are solid; they are real.  They are a tangible way to show our belief in a future.

Importance of solitude

Groing up in an isolated rural environment has greatly affected my life, my worldview and certainly my work.  I grew up on 160 acres in northern Ontario, miles from urban civilization.  Isolation is familiar for me and maybe its even necessary.   I grew up with my two siblings and a lot of solitude. Summers were spent under the willow trees daydreaming.
Today I choose to live in the country and try to spend most days alone.  My work reflects this choice and often references what I live with here on Manitoulin island: large empty fields of grass, long views over ripples of water toward a calm horizon.

To be continued....in a subsequent post.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

art quilt retrospective book from SAQA

Judy Martin is one of fifty artists selected for new book about 50 years of art quilts.  Here is the entire list. 

Pictured here is Memory of Wikwemikong, made in 2009.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Art Gallery of Sudbury


hand stitch on vintage embroidered tea cloth
18" x 32"  by Judy Martin
felt, silk threads, vintage table linen
framed under glass
available to purchase or rent at the art gallery of sudbury - art rental program

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Videos from rhe Elemental Festival in Kagawong

This just in:   A video put out by the Woodland Sisters, Caitlin and Cassidy Mcauliffe.  One of their partner's made it while the duo were in Kagawong at the end of September during the 2nd annual Elemental festival.  The video follows the two girls as they enjoy the rural atmosphere of Manitoulin and the Kagawong River complete with spawning salmon and Bridal Veil Falls.  Their video is up on youtube now.  It's a minute and a half.  It is necessary to click on the words Elemental Festival after it starts to play to see the full images.

(There is a tiny glimpse of Judy speaking in the above video) x

The sisters also sent some additional footage of Judy speaking about her daily walk.  36 seconds can be viewed  here.  (this clip is not on you tube)

To read the complete text of the artist talk, go to this link.  Sewing Myself To This Place

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

World of Threads Festival

Lake, 2014 indigo dyed damask and silk-hemp blend, hand quilted, with paste resist and chemanthy embroidery is included in QUIET ZONE 2, one of the corridor exhibitions of World of Threads this year.
The main festival venue is the Queen Elizabeth Park Community Centre in Oakville.
Not to miss - Judith Scott at Oakville Galleries - in partnership with the festival.

World Of Threads is a biennial event.  This year there are 315 pieces of textile art by 134 artists from around the world.  Curated by Dawne Rudman and Gareth Bate.  October 29 - November 27, 2016

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. 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