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.

Monday, September 27, 2010


The single most poignant imagery I have seen in awhile is a beautiful phone captured video of my dear friend Vivian's mother and grandmother making pies. Floured surfaces, rolling pins, crust all handled deftly by a woman who had been making pies for more than eighty years.
The women together in perfect harmony at a loving and repeated task. A rhythm travelling through generations.

I sat and watched my mother, grandmothers and aunts all do this. I do this.

Vivian and I share a prairie farm childhood. I find this is the time of year when I miss it most. Harvest time. Canning time. Putting things by time. I get some satisfaction picking my garden and fruit. But it isn't the same. The effort is minuscule in contrast. The camaraderie from shared effort and reward is only a memory for me.

I make chutney and saskatoon jam, I freeze berries, rhubarb and peas. Potatoes grow and get eaten. I make my Granny's gooseberry pie. I just don't use the lard. So it never tastes the same. Never like hers. The last gooseberry pie she made me was 25 years ago. I ate it on a mountain side and gave a tiny bite to my baby son who Granny Blanche called Mickey Drippings. I didn't know it would be the last one. My grandmother was only able to use one arm but could still whap the dough around, roll the crust and put it in the pan in one quick swoop. Never dropping or tearing the dough. Making her own rhythym.

I don't have a daughter or a sister. No grand daughter yet. I am alienated from my mother. I have tried to pass some of this knowledge to my sons and nieces. Hopefully some of it remains after I don't.

There is something to be said about mitochondrial DNA and experience.

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