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.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Searching for Ascaphus Truei

Ascaphus Truei Eggs near Shannon Falls 2008 Tim Hurley
Mushrooms Britannia Beach 2008 Tim Hurley

Pine Mushrooms near Shannon Falls 2008 Tim Hurley

Glowing Mushrooms 2008 Tim Hurley

Oyster Mushrooms Shannon Falls 2008 Tim Hurley

Bird's Nest Lichen on Split Rail Fence 2008 Tim Hurley

Woodpecker Storage in Birch Tree 2008 Tim Hurley

Birch Bark Colour Gradation 2008 Tim Hurley

Thursday, November 27, 2008

This is a map of the journey we are taking for visual research this weekend.

Signed Up

I booked in for three important solo shows today and I am thrilled.
One for January, one for March and one in the summer. I will also be sharing a whole series of workshops with Hilary Young on Extreme Textile Process and Extreme Textile Process Using Natural Methods. This means work for a year (or longer). More about this when the papers arrive so I won't jinx the whole thing.

I followed up on the opportunities immediately this year and they won't pass me by. If I can accomplish a show with a sight impairment and have it responded to in such a positive way I might be able to accomplish some of what I want.

Today to celebrate Tim bought me a new camera with 12X optical zoom. It is a sturdy little Fuji.
Finepix S1000. Now I have to figure out how to focus my funky eyes and make it work.

Chrissy Basque, Tim and I will be leaving for a photo research journey this weekend to take pictures of the landscape, flora and fauna along the Sea to Sky Corridor. It is an amazing environment that travels from deep ocean fjords, wild beaches, rain forest, high cliffs and mountain peaks. One of the locations they want me to focus on is the old abandoned mine at Britannia Beach.

So we will bundle up warm because it is snowing, put on our mountain boots and pack hot coffee and cocoa. I will point, Tim will click and Chrissy will make us laugh. I plan to haul back forest leaves, bark, and sea weed to make dye and paper with. I will also take rubbings of everything and borrow rusted objects to rot my silks on. Natural objects will also be borrowed, mapped and returned.

Tomorrow night I just dawn the velvets and get treated to a party at the Hotel Vancouver. A girl couldn't ask for better contrasts.

Lost It

I have misplaced an important contact number. We drove back to the studio tonight and ripped it apart to try and find it. I think I threw it out by accident but the garbage had been taken out.
So on the off chance that lovely Rod Anderson of the Violet fedora, who gifted me the projector and Met Opera films and scripts, is reading this ....contact me. I want to be able to deliver your smaller works and thank you again. I know I put your contact information somewhere safe but it was not at all where I thought it would be.

I did find a lovely note from someone else covered in XXOO's. That person mentioned I was going to meet them at the studio today. I didn't know that and have no idea who they are. I looked at the photograph of the gull and still can't figure it out. Maybe I will put the note over a flame and see if the message is written in lemon juice. Perhaps the mystery will be revealed.

Thank you Mary Ellen for returning all my books and stencils! I had no idea you had that many of them. It was like opening a Christmas present all over again.

There is so much work to do now. I have workshops to plan, a salon to organize, art to finish and deliver and a show in late January. Sometimes doing followup after a show is more interesting than expected.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stop Work

Today was such a sad day. All my work has come to a stop until i figure out what direction to take.

My cousin and his wife both called and have called it quits on a very shaky marraige. Not an unusual situation in this day and age. I wasn't expecting their children to ask me for help and support the way they did. My heart is broken for them.

I come from a huge extended family that is often on the edge of functional. Cousins were often raised in the same house or on the same farm and relate more like siblings than most cousins do. Everyone seems to live in each other's lives somehow. Everyone fights like cats but seem to be there at the worst times. Sometimes this isn't a good thing.

I was working away and feeling delighted with my new lot in life and got pulled back into my old lot in life quite abruptly. Resistance is hard.

What do I do?

I have raised my own children and they are doing well. I have raised some other children and they are too. I don't have energy to take on children again but I love these children. Listening to tiny ones asking for help and trusting you can fix things that are unfixable is an awful experience.

Listening to a little eight year old boy saying, " Aunty Cousin Patty( we pretend we are from the Ozarks) I just feel really tired and sad." reminds me that we impact our children and other family members and hurt them when we don't make wise decisions.

Little one...I just feel really tired and sad too! I will try to do a little something but I just can't make it go away no matter how much I want it to. We all learn hard lessons and I hope you find that place that helps you survive. If it gets bad you can come for a sleepover and read the books that you like and I will make you soup and ice water. Just like you like. Only time takes this away.

I am so sorry for your pain.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hit Like A Wall

Exhaustion hit like a brick wall today. Didn't feel like I had any sleep at all but know I was in bed for hours. Didn't want to eat or drink anything. Not sick but bum tired.

Managed to draw some ideas for the Squamish thing and do a little visual research for some up and coming shows. It looks like I will be busy for awhile.

My old studio came up for rent and I decided it would be better for me not even to apply for it. It had great contact with the outside world and I need more quiet and contempletive space now. Doing shows and workshops is probably enough for now. It would feel like stepping back in time and I really don't like doing the gallery shopkeeper thing as much as I thought. It would also stop me from travelling and I need to do a bunch of that soon. I have some great invitations with lovely people.

I have the sketch book out but am only managing little line drawings to keep track of ideas.

Daily life needs to be sorted. Laundry, dishes, dust and an avalanche of art clutter just never do themselves and I want my red flannel nightie, clean sheets and fluffy towels. A clean bathtub with no art residue would be very nice right now.

Hopefully Tim isn't up for more than jammies, cocoa and a completely unchallenging movie tonight. He will be very disappointed if he even wants me to form a complete sentence!

I drain myself when participating in these shows. Note to self...take a break occassionally and stop parading around quite so much. Adrenalin doesn't really feed your body!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Done Crawlin'

Finished the Eastside Culture Crawl last night after an amazing and successful weekend.
What could possibly be more inspiring than hundreds of people participating in a community art event and sharing with artists?

Old friends and collegues showed up with new babies, grandchildren, and lovers with new stories about their lives. Another generation of dynamic and remarkably talented young people came and shared information about what they knew and let me share what I knew. Hundreds of people came to play in the studio and poked and pinched the remnants and samples of my work. They touched and looked carefully and responded. I had so much fun!!!

I love the reactions people have to extreme textile work. I love the generosity it inspires in others. I met a metallurgist, a entimologist and botanist, a shadow puppet troupe, a carpenter, a number of photographers, a political furniture maker, a dance company, writers and musicians. Many local people attended including politicians who I worked with and against.

A sailor came and bought an old work from the lost coast series. She loved the charts I sewed into the tiny embroideries and recognised the locations! A Chinese film crew, some art professors from Beijing and people inviting me to show work in an old mine shaft came and played in the studio. Tiny children adopted pupae and decided that they contained slugs. Pupae ended up being wrapped in swaddlings of toilet paper and carefully cradled in little arms.( I swear that only West Coast Rain Forest kids could make pets of slugs!) ( I can too!)

A favourite customer from last year came and gave me an amazing gift. He arrived with a whole bunch of old film stock and scripts from years of operas at the Met. He gave me the projector to go with them. Karen and KYd both work with projection and I have been dying to get my mits in! I gave him one of my favourite pieces but it still doesn't seem like enough. Karen and Jim both know what to do with the machine so something will percolate. The same wonderful man is also going to find me some slides and old medical equipment.

My precious old friend Bill Darnell arrived with his nephew. Bill is the man who named Green Peace and was on the boat to Amchitca. He was one of the founding members of this important organization. I haven't seen him for a few years. He radiated sadness and exhaustion. He told me that he and his beloved partner Phyliss lost their son in an accident this summer. He said he was worried that they would be abandoned because of the immensity of sadness and loss.
I know what that feels like.

But the world keeps spinning and we all need to find balance and remember what is really important.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What worked What didn't

After days of living with partial projects some are getting close to finished.

Most successful so far are little earrings made of burnt paper, snake skin photo transfer on poly blend which melts and can be burnt and painted, huge fibre glass globes which might stop stinking soon, tiny cocoons in a nest like egg sacs, distressed leather printed with rust, successful components of all sorts.

Least successful are a beautiful handpainted mouse grey silk mix that was distressed to perfection and then layered with matt medium turning it into a plastic looking ickness. Tiny felted pieces that ended up looking like dryer fluff, snake paper over a glass form that didn't look cellular but very bad bon bon.

Shall try the torch on what doesn't work. It can't look worse and might just end up interesting.

Both the house and studio are unlivible but fun if you don't stay stuck somewhere.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Everything worked today!

I had the best day ever! Everything worked and everything I was looking for showed up!
Obviously feeling much better.

I have been knocked off of Arlee Barr's Blog. It must have been something I said or didn't say. It could have been something I forgot to do...like register or something. Such a loss because it made me feel connected to other textile artists struggling along and trying to create what was swimming around in thier heads.

I will continue to read her because she inspires me to death and makes me laugh. I think I'll send her a hand written letter and send her the mesclun seeds she wanted. I found them again.

Today and yesterday I made an enormous globe from fibreglass, silk and cotton. I can't fit it on the scanner but I can nearly crawl into it. I want to live in it. ...when it quits stinking!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


The weather has turned to winter here. It is soggy, cold and wet! Every year it seems to get wetter than the year before. I haven't been posting very much lately because any spare or well time has been spent creating for the East Side Culture Crawl.

I had eye surgery a month ago now. I am growing used to the double distance vision and the marvelous close ups. I haven't felt well since the last blast of antibiotics but had no choice but to take them. Both have impacted my energy more than expected and I am going for a few new rounds of tests. I have really swollen lymph nodes and a lot of pain for some reason. This has happened to me before and I have a feeling it is my body flying into overcharge. "Lymph Reactivity" which is my system kicking into overdrive from assault.

Charles has contacted me! He has been sick with pneumonia which is very scary with his H.I.V. status. I am so glad I have found him again because he remains my much beloved practicum student who has traveled far!

Hillary and her sweetie Jim have found me a new connection for my European heat press that I got from Fariba. The part is actually available in Vancouver which will save me fortunes in shipping. Jim also discovered the large heat press hasn't got a ground which meant I could have shocked every one around me into the next building! He is fixing it.

I have moved the thirty projects into the living room and Tim is drowning under them but this has to happen. We are working together to get the larger pupaes ready for the show. The burn shed has made life much easier because i have been able to do silicone and fibreglass work out side. Fibreglass and cheesecloth are my new best friends.

Today I pulled apart fourty golden butterflies to rebuild and put into shadow boxes as part of the metamorphosis series. Last night I jabbed myself at least ten times with a barbed felting needle which helped create tiny cocoons that look more like large sperms right now! I would love to do a whole show for the microscope only! Tiny wee work. Will have to talk to Scott about how to do this.

The biggest job is maintaining focus because my imagination likes to dance all over.

Saturday, November 1, 2008