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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Light Saber

Halloween is one of my favourite celebrations. It is fun and always inspiring.

I didn't dress up this year but was deluged with children from the Native Co-op up the street in full costume. They were excited and delighted with the energy on the street. More children at the door than I have seen in years. Older children than I have seen not worried about whether they were too cool to costume.

I dressed up my stairway with my latex mask collection, lights and leaves. Tim carved a version of Munch's "Scream" for our pumpkin and proceeded to scare every child half to death with his exuberance. Children kept streaming in past 9:30 p.m. This means our neighbourhood is becoming more trusting again!

Last year a group of adults grabbed a bus, assaulted the driver and burned it to the ground. I think that was a real turning point and we have all seemed to make a greater effort to be more aware.

I spoke with my oldest son in Winnipeg tonight. He was walking down the street and was light saber assaulted by a three foot high boy dressed in a Darth Vader costume. The child yelled three times. "I am your father Luke, I am your father!" This would have been funny considering that Dane is 6'6" tall. It was even funnier because he was talking to me on the phone when it happened. I had to remind him that he spent the first 12 years of his life as "Luke Skywalker" and the guy was truly his father. He thanked the kid for being his Dad! Awww!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Georgine Zeron left me her textile hoardings when she died. Tim and I went to pick them up and they have been sorted and scavanged by a stream of visitors in the studio. She would be thrilled.

Textile people are hoarders and hunters and gatherers by nature. Tiny pieces are tucked away to be used as inspiration or embellishments. Lengths are gathered and forgotten. Georgine was no different. Who else would have 40 sets of lacings and boxes of glues with shiny in them but an artist.

It took Katherine, her daughter, days to sort through all the stuff. She had to keep me away because I kept taking stuff from the garbage and putting it in the boxes. "Shiny" "Precciouss"
We still ended up with eleven boxes of cloth and supplies.

Tina helped me go through all of the boxes to sort into fabric type. She took two boxes. Hillary took two for her classes. The Public Dream Society have been invited to go through and see if they want anything for costumes for the Day of the Dead "Lost Souls" Parade this month. Students will benefit. I will benefit and the charity we are working on will benefit. The Christmas production of Sleeping Beauty in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast will get supplies for costumes.

Katherine now has two rooms empty in her house. She is going to rent them out to people who aren't textile people. I, obviously, can't live there. But I like the look of space. I am now going through my own cloth and supplies and handing duplicates over to others.

I touch Georgine's cloth and I get to remember her. I placed her favourite buttons in my collection and they nestled there with buttons that belonged to my Granny, my mom, my mother-in-law, my aunties and a number of dear lost friends. I have buttons from military uniforms from the first and second world wars and from tiny children's clothes. I should just string them all together into a curtain or something because I will never let them go!

Luckily for me I have nieces who love to collect. My step son Chris's spouse, Vashti, is an archaelogist. Tim's cousin Fi is an anthropologist. Someone will take all my hoardings when it is time!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Too Cute for Corners

Kholton and his new gap!


This fellow is my relative and he is way too cute for corners.

Meet Kholton!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tarte Tatin

My son Brendan and his mate Megan are going to cook me Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow.
My only job is to provide Tart Tatin, an old Quebec recipe for an upside down buttery caramel
apple pie. This something my mother's family have cooked for generations I think.

I don't really like Thanksgiving or other prescribed holidays. I often feel resentful and obligated. This attitude developed at a time I was overburdened with children and finances. I was working in the anti-poverty community as an activist and surrounded by genuine hunger that other people only thought about during prescribed holidays. Then they typically thought about their own luck and tossed a few stale groceries to the food bank. The radio and T.V. would take time to exploit the lonely and hungry among us for a few "poornographic shots" of less.

Canada votes for a new government on Tuesday. I hope each one of us takes time to think about poverty in the longer term and institute policies that really help poor people. Things like livable wages, affordable housing development, and supports for neighbourhoods effected long term by generational poverty and racism.

Once Canada had a more just society. We didn't think so much about charity but about what was really just and fair. (Reading John Ralston Saul and listening to Margaret Atwood talking about debt)

I would feel really grateful if people considered good social policies when they went out to vote on October 14.

After that I will tell you about all the stuff I have been doing with the studio and how my new eyes work. For now I have to nag everyone I know to go out and vote.