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, September 27, 2007

I have had this fascination for the Urumchi mummies since I first saw images of them in the mid 90's. They were discovered in Chinese Turkestan in the Tarin Basin and the Taklamakan Desert. They are fully dressed and incredibly preserved as a result of natural mummification.

The first time I saw them I wept. They looked like they had fallen asleep and been lovingly covered up. Facial features were almost recognizable. One baby looked like a faded memory of my own son as an infant. He had been placed under a poplar log and was buried with a baby bottle made from a sheep's udder. Someone had placed two blue stones over his eyes. All of the mummies were fully dressed in felt and woven clothing that was made in the warmest colours of green, blue, rust and yellow. Their coverings were woven in plaid patterns.

The biggest surprise was that these people, more related to the Celts, lived in this area 1500 years before the Chinese Silk Road existed.

Yesterday I talked to my Uncle in Texas about my dead father and our family. He described the feeling he had walking down a road in Damascus. Foot paths were carved into the rock with the generations of walkers. He walked in their steps and understood we are all very small in time and that somehow we continue.

I will place two blue stones in the last place I walked with my father.

Rain Drops Keep Fallin'

Drop Shots Stephen Langton Goulet (stolen image from a poster from one of SLG's shows)

My ex-husband, Stephen Langton Goulet, is an amazing and wonderful artist who is capable of seeing the most minute detail in just about everything. His drawing abilities are extraordinary and he has never stopped pursuing perfection.

One of his series of work contains about 2,000 images about raindrops.

He now lives in East End, Saskatchewan in a place that has a desert like environment and is taking the most beautiful photographs of prairie images.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yesterday was so productive. I started working at 6:30, had tea with Lilias by 7:00 and was seriously down to work by 7:30. I worked straight through to 2:30 grabbed some sushi and worked until 6:30. It felt so Protestant somehow!

Problem is my hips are completely frozen today and my cancer arm is big and swollen so I can't do much except write artists statements.

Never mind. I got lots accomplished yesterday and have a little wiggle room today.

I produced components yesterday with about 24 pieces of very lace like tyvec. They were patched together and stitched on what will be a beautiful skin. I will burn them for further detail after they are printed, stamped, metal waxed and embroidered. It should take 2 more studio days. I am trying to finish 5 or 6 new pieces for the East Side Culture Crawl to go with my pupae.

10 little cases are full of critters and pods now and 4 hangings are close to completion. Tomorrow will be a paper mache day and it is time to try a bigger globe, a bunch of little ones and chicken wire.

The I'll draw out my plans for a trade with Arlee Barr and comrades. Theme is "scary...CSI... forensics" in miniature (1 1/2" X 1 1/2 in). Hmmmm maybe I'll do kinky or something. Delivered in plain brown paper! As long as it doesn't ooze, explode or smell funny and fits in an envelope for mailing.

Check out Arlee Barr's and Albedo Designs inspiring little Blog and her funny friends.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fibre Boogers

Possible Fibre Booger?

Lost Coast Project ... Urchins
Patricia Chauncey

What is a Fibre Booger?

I think I might make them. It is a description that came from the comment section of Arlee Barr's blog. I haven't laughed so hard in a long, long time.

If I don't make them now...I will soon!!! Keh heh!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Love Rocks

Grandfather's Story (Collection of 12 in cage)
Bee's wax embeddings, surface design, embroidery, embellishment, needle lace, patination
Patricia Chauncey

Why would anyone consider a diamond to be a stone that represented love?

Diamonds are so cold and mechanical. I respond far more to the honey and warmth of amber. It has so much more to do with erotic sensibilities. The touch is warm and slick. The colour is visceral and of the body. It is petrified sap and honey telling stories of bees and life force. Little wings float in it helplessly entrapped because of a compulsion to the sweetness. I find it irresistable.

Tim brought me a large Polish amber pendant and earrings from the Baltic Sea. He knows what it is I like.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Old Bones

Very lucid dreams of animal bones last night. Piles of them.

These bones are from a dig in England. They were littered on the floor. The remains of ancient meals left on stone floors.

The bones I dream are always florescent and partially buried.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dreaming of Yayoi.

Photograph of Yayoi Kusama and her work
Last night I dreamt Yayoi Kusama was busy planting her sculpture all through the back yard.

I hid behind the post on the balcony and decided to watch her because I had no right to interfere. I wondered if she even knew I was watching.

She worked at a furious pace and reminded me of my aunt Ruth. Her digging and busy work made little holes everywhere. She started to remind me of the little star faced moles that used to live in this area. Tunnels and piles of dirt started to show up everywhere. Occassionally a tiny thing was planted and would remain buried. Sometimes she dragged in a bigger, more organic work that I couldn't quite see.

I started to feel concerned when she dug up tiles and fabric that was buried in subtle places for later but I knew there should be no interruption.

She left the garden and her face remained unseen. She hadn't known I was there. She didn't clean up the mess.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Oceanic Inspiration

Blown Glass 1880's Robert Blaschka for Cornell University
photo William Warmus

Blown Glass 1880's Robert Blaschka for Cornell University
Photo William Warmus
Blown Glass 1880's Robert Blaschka for Cornell University
Photo William Warmus

These beautiful glass pieces were made in the 1880's. I love glass and see lots of it because I live on the West Coast. The Pilchuk School and Dale Chihuly are only a few miles from here.
Never, ever saw anything like this!
No one can photograph glass like William Warmus!

I have spent all day trying to create spiky bits for a small botanical sculpture and have to work much harder.

For a most amazing site see

Monday, September 17, 2007

"When This You See Remember Me"

Gut Sampler Bison Teeth 2005
Charles Wilson and Patricia Chauncey

Gut Sampler Quail Wishbones 2005
Charles Wilson and Patricia Chauncey

The sampler show "When This You See Remember Me" happened at Britannia Library Gallery about two years ago. It was curated by Mary Lou Trinkwon and was an inspiring show to take part in. The samplers were all extremely different and materials were of the artists choosing.

Charles Wilson collaborated with me on this series. The eight collages are made from gut mache and laminate a series of objects related to my illness and healing. One actually contains my radiated breast skin and staples from my masectomy. Others include rose petals, surgical scissors and a spawning salmon jaw. The embroidery hoops are actually wood which was laminated and rusted. All were encased in a glass casket and shown in a window.
I was very ill when I made this having just finished radiation and chemotherapy. The radiation had missed it's mark and hit my lungs which meant living on really heavy drugs for about a year. Charles was my studio assistant and practicum student at that time. He makes art about living as someone who is H.I.V. positive.
Both of us are doing amazingly well considering.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sample of Sculptural Work

Detail Globe #2 2007 Patricia Chauncey

Globe #2 2007 Patricia Chauncey

Detail Globe #3 2007 Patricia Chauncey

Lost Coast Series Urchin's Garden 2000 Patricia Chauncey

Lost Coast Series Sand Pods 2005 Patricia Chauncey

Strange Garden Series We Are Family 2005 Patricia Chauncey

Strange Garden Series We Are Family 2005 Patricia Chauncey

Globe #4 detail 2007 Patricia Chauncey

Globe #3 2007 Patricia Chauncey

Globe #1 2007 Patricia Chauncey

Pupae Series Eggs 2007 Patricia Chauncey

Pupae Series We Are Waiting 2007 Patricia Chauncey

Pupae Series We Are Waiting 2007 Patricia Chauncey

Eden Skin #1 2006 Patricia Chauncey

Eden Skin #2 2006 Patricia Chauncey

Eden Skin #1 2006 Patricia Chauncey
A little sample of my work in more extreme textile methods.
These are some of the photos Brendan Hurley has taken over the last little while. I think they capture some of the more visceral qualities of my textiles and sculptures.
The work itself was done over the last 7 years. Some is brand new. I have burns on my fingers to prove it!

Friday, September 14, 2007

So Tired

A.S Byatt British Author

photo of Wayson Choy Vancouver Author

I am so tired tonight. Mary Ellen and Jacquie cooked me a beautiful curry supper and made carrot cake from their garden. They made me chai and sat me down to two good movies.

Since Tim left I am reading and working. I have devoured a book by Oliver Sachs called Uncle Tungsten. I consumed Wayson Choy's All That Matters about Vancouver Chinatown and old China. I have sunk into A.S. Byatt's Black Book of Stories and I have been introduced to Shawna Singh Baldwin. Tonight should see the end of these. Tomorrow I drown myself in Paul Bowles. I may never surface.

I spent so much time burning yesterday that these fingers actually have burns on them and a nicotine coloured shadow. I hope Bren can download my photos soon.

Tommorrow Fariba is dragging me Gallery hopping. Christine is dragging out the Bar B and is spoiling me on Saturday. Wine, lamb and excellent company. I am never this social when Tim is home and I think that will have to change.

Life would be perfect if the garbage strike ended and the fruit flys flew away!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Son Brendan

Dane's House in Woolsley Sideways and I can't straighten it.

My son Brendan is very handsome and generous with his time. He is nice to me, his mom!

He spent from 7:00 pm to 11:30pm taking photographs for my portfolio. He used his new birthday camera and is learning how to use it. He took photo after photo of my many series of work. The light was really hard to control for some reason and the studio was bitchin' hot. It looks like there are lots of wonderful shots and details.

Today he went for a job interview with the City of Melbourne. He and Megs might go that far away. Megs will go to school there and Bren will do what sounds like amazing urban planning.

He spent all day working on his thesis and all last night on the Greyhound from the Okanogan.

Today he is my hero!

My other handsome hero son, Dane, is now a student at the University of Winnipeg and he is busy with school and negotiating with the nasty developers who bought the property beside our Winnipeg house. They are developing a beautiful old building that housed lots of interesting people, including a little group of mentally disabled people. All were kicked out. The developers didn't cloak the building during demo and all kinds of debris has landed in the yard. Our tenants are choking on the dust.
Dane is a very tall, strong, and calm fellow. He is political and loves communities that have character with a strong mix of people and situations. He loves Woolsley and so do I.

Now they want our old house, our old trees, our veggie garden and our neighbours. But they have Dane to deal with. He is a Hip Hop musician and is named bird apres for a reason. He also has a radio show... heh heh heh....

There are days when I am glad I gave birth.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Burning Fushcia

Beach Fire Oregon 2007 Tim Hurley

So much time has been spent burning things in the last few days that my eyes are red and sore.

I wear glasses to work and a Darth Vader like mask. Fans are blowing full force and the 8 feet windows are open. The smoke keeps getting stuck inside my glasses. Goggle don't work very well because visibility is very low.

The work is tiny, precise and compulsive. Little dot after little dot for hours.
Switching to the paper mache works but that means getting soggy and gloppy.
Tim left for England last night. This is an opportunity to get lots of work done. But I am missing him today. We have spent so much time together in the last few years.

So I will rest my eyes, eat some chocolate, have some tea and bring out the sketch books to check out some new inspiration and work through it.
Son Chris and Vashti showed up yesterday and gave me a beautiful wooden chocolate pot from Peru.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Sometimes things are just funny.

www. BentObjects.blogspot.com is delightful and light hearted.

Eric Larsen will like this. He is a wire maniac.


Penelope and Thirteen Men Ruth Scheuing

Dust Storm in the Gobi Desert Ruth Scheuing

Ruth Scheuing was my weaving teacher when I was taking textile courses at Capilano College.
She was and is an amazing teacher who, despite my inability to weave very well, managed to inspire me to think carefully before and during the process of making my stuff.

Her work is wonderful and conceptually challenging. She has a Swiss precision in her work and is completely dedicated to "doing". Her life is integrated and she lives in a big, beautiful house in Strathcona that is full of her and her partner's, Michael Lawlor, art and works in process.

Ruth is currently concerned with weather. Extreme weather and is weaving images of cyclones, North Sea ice break up, cyclones and large forest fires with images from GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and satellite systems. She describes this as a mapping of her daily life and a meditation practise. She is interested in blurring the lines between global perspective and movement in a domestic space.

She has woven images of Ida Lovelace and Penelope. She has made a series of enormous metal dresses and has considered contemporary and historical imagery in women's and environmental issues.

Friday, September 7, 2007

One Hundred Posts

Forest Tim Hurley Patricia Chauncey

It is my one hundreth posting birthday!!!

No time has gone by at all and somehow I have managed to make one hundred entries.

I have decided to consider more carefully what it is I am writing and to give a little more time and analysis to the artists I am discussing. A little more time and consideration can be given to describing my own work and textile process and community.

This year and the last few years have been spent surviving and then healing from breast cancer.

Energies and capacity are now starting to return and I know not to take these things for granted. Life and what we get to do with it can be done with purpose.

I am now overwhelmed with invitations for new shows. Inspiration is bountiful. A new practicum student named Joseph will be starting soon. The studio is working out quite well right now.

The latest invitation I received is for a new show called "rad-i-cle"

Canvas Gallery

rad-i-cle (rd-kl)

1. the first part of a seedling (a growing plant embryo) to emerge from the seed during the process of germination.

2. part of the plant embryo that develops into the primary root

Canvas Gallery is looking for new work for the upcoming September exhibition based on the theme "rad-i-cle".

We are a new gallery located at 91 Alexander St. Our aim is to exhibit Vancouver based artists dedicated to their practise.

We are open to your interpretation of this theme and welcome three dimensional, two dimensional and new media installations (provided you support the technology specific to your work.) Series based submissions will be considered.

Please submit your artists statement and up to five samples of your work in JPEG format.

Deadline: September 12,2007 by 4:00 pm

Submissions and questions to artsubmissions@canvasartgallery.ca

This sounds very possible.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fariba Fariba

Fariba Mirzaie fashion designer and Ruth Scheuing my beloved teacher and weaver

Fariba's Fashions

All day I have been curled up in pain from an earache.

I had the best day yesterday because Gayla and Rebecca made an amazing cous cous for supper.

This morning I woke up ragged and wrecked. Nothing has helped.

In the middle of this my lovely Fariba called. She has been in Iran for the last year and has returned with energy and plans. She has already talked me into taking part in some new shows.

I am just so relieved she is home again.

Fariba was part of my circle at Capilano College and is an amazing fashion designer. She bops around Europe and Iran and brings back wonderful ideas and colours. She has made me some of my favourite clothing and never lets me go shabby.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Moist and Hidden Places

Reproductive Cell Tom Volks
Volvox colony Tom Volks

Just looked at Tom Volks Fungi pages again and had to share these.

This is what happens in mysterious, moist and hidden places.


My Tim is snoring loudly tonight because he stayed up all last night and did the books for a community organization. Earlier in the day he took the bus to work at an ungodly hour so that my son could drive his girlfriend to Portland. Through the weekend he worked with my little cousin Brandan in the yard so it would be nice for me. Next week he is taking his 95 year old father for a final trip to England. He gave up his yearly sailing trip to do this.

He looked after me when I was sick. He helps me build things like frames for my art. He listens to me prattle and complain. He stayed and helped me raise my kids.

He can cook dinner, change babies, build houses and cuddle with the same love he shows with everything he does.

I am very lucky.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Cross Section #4 Elisa D'Arrigo 2004
Cross Section Elisa D'Arrigo 2001

Inside Out #10 Elisa D'Arrigo 1999

Today has been productive. I am home messing with the house, casting silicone and browsing the web universe for imagery. Tim won't be home until really late and I can play uninterrupted for more than 12 hours. I'll go to the studio tomorrow.

Elisa D'Arrigo's work popped into view on a number of sites and it looks really amazing and rather like some of my paper and cloth constructions. This obsessive and cellular imagery must be amazing to touch. I want to crawl on it!

Marianne Lovink

Hanging Garden Marianne Lovink

Little crawly bits and organic matter seeping everywhere.
I am surrounded by globes, pods and growing things. Renditions of life forms almost but not quite seen.

Snooping in an uninspiring site I found reference to inspiration from Marianne Lovink.
Tracking down her work takes some time. I am smitten.

These little and large works crawl out of the evolution fantasies I keep having.
Her portfolio is at www.mariannelovink.com