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, February 22, 2009


Detail from Taiwanese Lunar Festival lantern at Cultural Olympiad
Artist Roby Swana
Photograph Tim Hurley 2009

Photo Tim Hurley 2009 Taiwanese Lantern Festival Cultural Olympiad

Detail Lantern from Taiwanese Lunar Festival Cultural Olympiad
Photgraph Tim Hurley 2009

Detail Lantern from Taiwanese Lunar Festival Cultural Olympiad
Photograph tim Hurley 2009

Detail Lantern Taiwanese Lunar Festival
Photograph Tim Hurley 2009

1310 William Street is buzzing with activity. Marie, Cara and Hilary have all been very busy and things are starting to turn into objects that are more pleasing to me.
Pictures of some of them are being taken today. I haven't been very good at posting the photos for a little while. I seem to be in either the photo zone or the embroidery zone. But not together.

Thought you might like to look at some of the details Tim and I took of the National Craft Institute's work that came to Vancouver for the Lunar Festival.

I am still not feeling great but am working on it. The work is still getting done. A gal needs her goal.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Patti Poops Out

I hit the wall today. One extra activity did it. I woke up in agony and full lymph reactivity. Everything hurts and my swelling is nasty. All I can do is feel sorry for myself .

Rebecca left today. She is a young woman but was once a child that this little "village" raised.
She has moved to England with Richard, her Oncologist boyfriend. He has stolen her from us. Spirited her away! My heart is broken. She left without saying goodbye because Richard is English and he didn't want her to cry. I, however, wanted to wail at the plane as it took off!

Rebecca is like my own, even though she has a wonderful mother who is my very close friend.
She is like my neices, who are allowed to curl up in corners of my house and rob me of my things.

Rebecca is an actress and an artist and was a wild child who I knew would work out just fine. She, of course, terrified her mother. But she held my hair from my face when the old chemo self was bent over bowls, she wiped my brow, her tiny hands patted my belly when I was pregnant with my youngest child. She made a clay portrait of me when she was five. She copied my sun hat and red peasant dress and coloured my hair sunshine yellow. She painted huge blue dots for my eyes. She said, " I was sposed to make a beautiful lady doll. I made you."

I never had daughters. I had four wonderful sons. I had Brie, Michelle, Aerin, Karen and Melissa. They are my neices. I also had Rebecca and her sister Juliet.

Parting is harder when health is unpredictable. People end up being missed more than before.

Becky baby...your village will miss you. Have the most wonderful life. This is what your village prepared you for!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Playing With Light

I spent a good part of the weekend armed with a drill. I like to make holes in things.
I like to create new doorways from one surface to another. I like machines that make noise.

I now have a slew of images of my work that show it in a way that I want. Big problem is that my computer , though fixed, has bit the dust again. They need to be posted but that requies me to send them to someone that might also get infected.

The little piles of work are starting to turn into new surfaces that can be processed further and layered again. Marie, Cara and Marie are needle felting the various projects and are doing a great job. I am pleased with the difference in texture that is offered when different people are working on the same cloth.

Step by step, inch by inch the projects are progressing. I always have to remind myself that designing isn't the only job to be done.

You can keep having thousands of great ideas but they don't translate into art unless you use your needle or brush or torch.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Puter Poop Outs

The computer decided to die a mean death in one of the most exciting weeks I have had in ages.

Three people are now working in the studio to give me a hand with the new shows. Marie Ferguson, Hilary Young and Cara Manning. All are working hard and are being productive and helpful.

This weekend and parts of last week were spent helping pull together a guest talk at Public Dreams Society for the National Taiwan Craft Research Institute on Tuesday night. Five of the Institutes Artists have been here with work to celebrate the Lunar Festival.

I had such pre-conceived ideas about what these people might be like and I could not have been more wrong. They are highly dedicated to community building, environmental art practice and developing traditional craft methods while looking forward to contemporary and unique mehtods and application. They put most craft scenes to shame with their forward thinking and world view.

The group included Roby Swana, who is a member of one of the indigenous groups from Taiwan.
She is a delightful woman. Her work involves community collaberation. She uses logs that come in from the monsoons. She changes them and fills them with things like beach glass, burns designs on them, stands them up in the sand like a new forest and lets them be returned to the tides. Some of them are enormous lanterns. She sings and uses the beautiful beaches of Taiwan like I use my garden. They belong to her and other members of the Amis tribe.

Another member of this travelling troupe is Shu-Yen Chen. Lovely, thoughtful and talented. She makes enormous lanterns that have internal rooms. The lanterns are at least 10 feet high. They are made from hand made paper that is coated in waxes and becomes impervious to the rain. She lines the insides with beautiful natural dyed cloths that are transfered with images that are meaningful to her. The work has little sucker like openings to the ground and a way for light to escape for the spirits.

Shu Wen and Roby both crawled through my studio and asked textile artists questions about my process and my work.

The other artists who came from Taiwan are also remarkable and I will write more about them later. All I know is that I would like to go to Taiwan and meet them at home.

We get to meet them tomorrow night at the Public Dreams Society Office at 6:30-9:00. Address is 141-2050 Scotia Street Vancouver (private entrance is in the alley by the recycling bins)they tehn jump on a plane and travel back home at midnight. Come tomorrow night if you are in Vancouver. They really want to know other artists. Bring your information and images for them to bring home.