Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Barney Rubble

Today we had the ceremony to celebrate Barney's life. Peter organized it and spent a great deal of time on little details like name tags with pictures of Barney Rubble on them.

There were two ceremonies. One was high Anglican celebrated by Barney's childhood friend Ralph, from Montreal. He is an Anglican priest and had access to a church in the East End. It was like an overturned boat. It was at Saint David's of Wales (Whales more like it.)

The ceremony started on time even though Barney's family were not yet in the church. Punctual...those Anglicans. It was a traditional ceremony and very Christian. Formal like Barney. LouLou came to be with Eric and for Barney. We came to be with Eric and Lou Lou and the rest of us.

Later we piled into the Waldorf Hotel for a wake. Everyone was supposed to wear what they wore in 1968. My Tim found his Djellaba from his trip to Morrocco. I found my love beads and head scarves. We each brought pictures from 1968. Barney had white blonde hair and was a honey from his high school with no trace of Michael Caine yet.. Tim looked like the kid on that seventies show. LouLou like a go-go dancer , Peter had hair to his bum and so did I. Many of Barney's friends and work partners weren't born until the seventies or eighties. So we drew seperate pictures of egg and sperms for them. There were pin wheels, light sticks and sixties music and a shrine to Barney with his waiters uniform and even his laundry soap.

I loved Barney and now he is gone!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Skins and Grasslands.

Lichen Photograph Stephen Langton Goulet

I have been working on a series of animal skins for a project called "Eden Skins" which has grown out of the explorations from "Sordid Details". It really has come full circle and seems more integrated with the other textile and emotional explorations.

Sometimes collaboration allows for work that flows seamlessly and other times it is boggy and complicated. The "Sordid Details" project was like that. Completion of the project has been impossible because of the blocks and stalls. The work was being produced in some ways to communicate what others felt and desired. I attempted to interpret that and it didn't really work. Each piece related to personal feelings was easy to accomplish. Each personal piece has evoked strong emotion from others. A lesson here.

One of the challenges in creating over the last few years is medical interference. Lots of the prescription drugs used in treating breast cancer are hormonally based. I spent time on steroids and painkillers and drugs that distorted every part of my personality. "Eden Skin" is a reclamation of what is elemental. Coming off drugs has allowed my creative energy to return. It has allowed me to crawl back into my own "Eden Skin" for a little while.

My ex- husband, Stephen Langton Goulet, is a wonderful photographer and artist. He moved back to his roots on the prairies a year or so ago. I snoop on his blog occassionally and have been blown away by his "Grassland Series".
The best part of my connection with Stephen was that he gave me my son , Dane Jordan, aka Bird apres, the musician.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Finest Worsted

Haworth YHA Hostel
Tim and I are leaving for England in 13 days. Our first overnight will be in Haworth where Tim's mother grew up. Her family, the Merralls, owned the Ebor Mills and their enormous house called Longlands has now become a youth hostel.

I will get a chance to dig around Haworth. The Brontes also grew up there. Bramwell Bronte drank and partied with one of the relatives. The Merralls left a family reputation that is a combination of "Upstairs Downstairs" and "Remains of the Day".

Ebor Mills is an example of the enormity of the textile trade in the Industrial North. They had 15,000 spindles and 1400 looms and produced the finest worsted in all of England. Haworth was reputed to be one of the most polluted areas in the north. The Merralls loomed over the area and lived with a strong sense of entitlement.

Tim's mother, Mary Merrall, was a woman with a strong social responsibility. She was also incredibly cheap. She walked around with little scissors and clipped cuttings from botanical gardens whenever she could. She recycled and remade everything long before it became stylish. She could mend anything and do every possible needleart. She had been given a lady's education which she described as useless to the world. She knew every possible English social grace and did tasks with exactness. She had been the child of divorce and shame and rarely referred to her life in Haworth. The war came and changed everyone's life and opportunities. Mary married a plumber and left England for Rhodesia and moved to Canada.

Longlands left the Merrall family possession in the mid-sixties and the Merrall family dynasty no longer exists in Northern England. The government, developers and remaining family divided what was left and no one knew who Mary was in Canada.

Tim and I own an alabaster creamer and a Falconer that came from Longlands. There is an old shawl that is made from silk and painted with butterflys. My little house in Vancouver came from an inheretance when Mary died.