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.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Clouds from the Mid-west off a train
Cobblestone Street

Reptile Images from New York

Image collection from the dirt near Drumheller, Alberta near where my family lived. The red coloured stones are petrified wood from an ancient forest.

Every year I go on one or two little journeys for the sole purpose of gathering inspiration for my image library. It is made up of images from surfaces or objects that jingle that gatherer part of myself. Images being much easier to drag home than old rusty metal or cracks in the sidewalk.

I don't just gather imagery on the journeys but rather compulsively all the time. Clippings are scattered all over. Books that have one line or beautiful illustration or cracked covers. Containers filled with objects like bug wings, shells and rocks. Vases with feathers and plant pods. Shattered rear view mirrors. I guess that is why I also collect containers and display cases.

I met a lovely man with unusual eye glasses named Rob at the East Side Culture Crawl last month who clearly understood my need for collecting. He said he had a collection of old lab equipment and containers. He described himself as a pack rat. He also described the most delicious collection of stuff.

Ivan Sayers is a local fashion historian. He collects old clothing from every era he can. He brings his amazing collections to schools, art galleries and museums. I visited him once and there were collections of wonderful textiles everywhere.

I once worked for a wonderful politician. She was dedicated and honest. She worried about people when they were troubled. She worked herself to exhaustion. She was also a self described "Magpie". We would go shopping sometimes and see some glitzy bauble and she would say."EWWWWW, Shiny, Pretty!".

There don't seem to be many surface designers who are the neat and orderly type. I have been in many textile studios and surface designers, mixed media artists and embroiderers seem to thrive in a more chaotic environment. They aren't like most water colour artists or other painters who seem to like more pristine environments.

I once tried to live in a serene environment with muted colours and monastic influence. Things were painted pale blues, ivory and aspirin white. I allowed white bedding, towels and furniture.

It felt freezing cold all the time. I obsessed about marks and dust rather like my spotless and organized mum did when I was a child. My little boy sat on the ivory covered couch looking stiff and uncomfortable. He said he felt itchy and twitchy. He told me he had a dream where we lived like before. He said there were piles of cloth on the floor and he could find things.

I don't know if we can find things easily but don't think my messy adult children feel itchy and twitchy anymore. They grew up in a household that was inspiring to them and to me. They are very creative people and have creative lives. I think that had more to do with collections than spotless environments.

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