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, July 30, 2010

Not Again!

I spent years working as an organizer in social justice, women's, anti-poverty, education, housing, child protection and community linking. It was amazing work and I feel very fortunate to have worked for groups like End Legislated Poverty, DERA, OXFAM, COPE, RAW, Every Woman's, REACH, the Vancouver Guild of Fabric Arts and the Surface Design Association.

There was time spent in political committees, working for politician's, and running for office.

I have spent most of my life doing this and it took me years to justify going back to art school after many years. It was a difficult decision to make a change because I wondered how to justify the self indulgence in making art. I felt guilty for a long time and used to have tearful sessions with Ruth Sheuing, my wonderful teacher, while I was learning.

I think I really thought that the world would change if I wore myself to a nub by doing nothing but justice work. Not very useful for my causes. Cranky, tired, disassociated, forgetful, sick a lot, controlling and fanatical. Even a bit paranoid. I really tried to be joyful in the work by I was often surrounded by people who were behaving just as badly.

I woke up one morning and couldn't face another day. Complete burnout. But I gave three months notice and then quit everything. Everything! I went to bed for a whole year I swear and got up one day and went to an interview at Capilano Textile Art's Program. I had always done some art since I was tiny. Mostly with cloth. It was a no brainer. I was accepted and I excelled. (Except as a weaver, definitely one of the world's worst loom weavers)

I also got breast cancer. Bad breast cancer and nearly died from the treatments alone. Art, love,
and hope for a bright future got me through it. So did good medicine and alternative treatment in combination. And the people who organized to make it all happen. Lucky, lucky me!

Now I am in a position to decide whether or not to be an activist/organizer again. This is also a no brainer. Funding has been slashed for the arts in British Columbia to an extent that many favourite organisations are biting the dust. I have lots of skills to help.

But what I really, really just want to be able to do my art.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crazy Ancestors

Detail of Oregon Crazy Quilt
in collection of Patricia Chauncey
Photograph Tim Hurley 2010

I have some hoppin' crazy ancestors. This is an antique quilt that came from Oregon. It is a crazy quilt that lives with me now.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gulf War Story

Photos of some of my Gulf War series from a few years ago.
Worked in the studio playing with altered imagery from the caterpillar skin samples.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Playing with Caterpillars

Experiments using insect photographs.

I remember feeding my brother and his friend Leah a caterpillar when we were small. It went very well. They chewed, they gagged, they spit out and luckily I was not successful in my murderous five year old motivation.

I have been playing with caterpillar imagery in attempt to find my inner adult while playing with
inspiration from experimenting with the computer and altering my collection of photographs.

Have been doing photo transfers on silk and stitching.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Inner Adult

It occurs to me that while playfulness is essentail for my creative process, I am really inspired by people who appear to have found their inner adult. I like sophistication and clarity. I am drawn to subtle and natural palettes. I like thoughtfulness and careful consideration and effort. Intelligence helps.

I want to make work thar can be understood with eyes closed. Both Tim and I have lost sight this year. Mine came back because of surgery. His will not return in one eye.

I have barely been in the studio for two months. I had only just returned after surgery when Tim ended up so sick. We are both progressing well and feel well. Circumstances have prevented me from getting much done but finishing old projects.

Today was spent with concentrated time to reconsidering other ways of recording and image transfer.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Burial Cloth

I ran into this cloth near the river in Tulameen and was reminded of various clothing used for burial. This clothing has been morphing and natural dyeing in the earth.


There is a tiny museum in Princeton, B.C. Cananda where there is a butterfly collection that was pulled together over one summer a few years ago. All of the butterflies were found within the Princeton - Tulameen area. They are held in a box that was handbuilt from plywood and are humidified with a glass of water at the back.

Butterflies are challenged in the area which is very wild. They have to pass through an area that now is over grown with vineyards. Many grape growers are using pesticides in an area that didn't have agriculture a few years ago.

Shoe Tree

On the road into Tulameen we saw a tree covered in shoes. It seems that the locals like decorating the landscape.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Today looks like a good day for a meander so Chris B, Tim and I will leave early morning to explore the Tulameen area. Tulameen has lots of bears, cougars, rattlesnakes and is as ferocious as a place can be. If you ignore the cottages and farms.

Have packed a picnic and we will eat well. Have packed home brewed wine and we will drink well.
Menu includes roast potato and squash salad, fresh tomatoes, strawberries, spicy, goat cheese, wild lox, boiled eggs, french green beans, and lots of other organic lovelies.

The area is expected to be desert hot. Lots of water, sunscreen and hats.

Tim has been given the o-kay to continue with life again. All medications can be stopped and he can get back into his own head. He has been playing with the camera and is going to try to drive soon.

One project left to finish from commissions. All parts are lined up. Bones, rusty bits, driftwood, constructed paper, gut and an old harness. So far it looks like a pile of random stuff.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

White Work

Playing with white work embroidery on felt.

Shawl for Paula

I have finished Paula's shawl in the last few days.

Crocheted from scraps of every kind of wool including some I dyed and hand-spun.

It gets mailed to Dunster tomorrow.