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, March 20, 2010

Tracking Inspiration

I want to track inspiration. I am curious about what happens when I get inspired and how it is kicked off.

I started thinking about this during one of the rare dry spells that invade my ability to produce work that excites. One of the problems is that I don't always seem to record this information in a useable way.There are random pages in dozens of sketchbooks and random little drawings done on napkins.At dinner with Tim last night there was even a napkin carved with my fork because no pen was in sight. A napkin was sacrificed in an attempt to communicate the idea for a house design.

This means that boxes and books of papers have to be gone through and compiled into a meaningful and useful form. Forgetting happens and I end up looking at some of this stuff to try and figure out what inspired me. Some days it works and some days it doesn't. I am condensing in an attempt to pare down possesions.Lots of useless possessions have been leaving the house because I want another useable room.The dining room is back. So is most of the bedroom. The livingroom is fine. All the clothing is organized, folded and put away. Some of the library is being pared down and the boxes of inspiration drawings and clippings are down to about four or five from about twenty. It helps to pretend a move is going to happen.

Having an archive and a plethora of stuff is part of my process. Having observed many textile artists this seems to be shared. Only a few are tidy and condensed. Very few.

I hosted a show at the Good Eats Gallery in Wells last summer of snapshots done by Tina Ozols. She painstakingly photographed hundreds of her Grandfather;s possessions which had accumulated over a century. It was an incredibly moving exhibition for me because I also watched her grief process at losing someone so dear and inspiring to her. It was my favourite show to date.

There have been some t.v. programs about hoarding lately.They serve to inspire me to get rid of stuff but also just plain inspire me. Why do we have so much stuff in this culture? Why is so much produced and why do we honour throwing things away? Why will some people use stuff while others just let it rot?

Every hoarder I have talked to knows a purpose for each piece of crap they own. Incredible things are in design process. Imagination runs amuck. Hoarders are considered to be mentally ill. Then again, so are many artists and other creative people.

I know that there is serious concern for the far end of the hoarding instinct. I think most of us have got developed imaginations and are at one place on the hunter gatherer scale.

There is a study I saw recently and am trying to find about productivity, It turns out that very messy people are more productive than people who are anally tidy. That those who spend time buried under crap might frustrate others but have more books written, more photographs taken , more art shows completed and measure higher intellectually than people who are tidy. They have better recall and use a form of visual filing not available to others. Who knew?

I will consider my own process as I am tidying and chucking again to create more room and social acceptabiltiy. And I will find that study. I know it is under here somewhere? Perhaps by the green trunk on the left of the excersise bike.

I confess that stuff inspires me!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Just found a picture of me as a child hunting for dinosaurs. I was digging in the sawdust pile wearing my first jeans. My Aunt Phylis bought them for me. I was thrilled because as an only daughter, I was constantly stuffed into very girly, girl drag consisting of lace from panties to stockings and hated it. There are still remnants of femininity in the patent leather Mary-Janes and lacy socks. This picture was taken in a place called Fallen Timber. The shack in the background belonged to my paternal grandparents. This was on the farm and my poor citified mother hadn't yet understand the need for gum boots.

I was also capable of hanging upside down on the monkey bars, corral fence or a tree in full dress and bashing anyone who dared sing I see London I see France. I was still speaking French at this time and could cuss anyone out with some very serviceable Air Force Montreal expressions.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Better Than Ever!

Well. It has happened. The surgery is completed and my eyes have now healed. My pirate patch is gone. I have medication for one more week and a check-up in six months.

These old eyes have better than twenty-twenty vision. I can see really well both close up and far away! Colours are brilliant and focus is now focused.

I can see!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fragile Beings

This has been a month for remembering how fragile and precious life is.

For those of you who don't know, my studio partner Hilary and her husband Jim lost their precious baby. We were all looking forward to her birth. She died shortly before her birth.
She was a tiny red head and was perfect in every way except for a cord that became tangled.
Both parents are doing their best to remain present and value her fragile little being. They named her Molly.

I have spent the week considering the small and microscopic. There is so much mystery in what we all are and in how we affect one another. Life can be planned to a point but we are still part of a much bigger and much smaller picture.