Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art

Judy Martin's work is featured in Claire Wellesley-Smith's new book, Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art.

It is published by Batsford and distributed in USA and Canada by Sterling Publishing Company. This beautiful hard covered book can be purchased from your local bookshop or online.

The book explores a slow approach to stitching on cloth.  The pleasures to be had from slowing down processes are multiple, with connections to ideas of sustainability, simplicity, reflection and multicultural textile traditions.  (from the introduction by the author)
Judy's work is pictured on page 96 and 97 with the accompanying text.

Canadian textile artist Judy Martin uses the idea of daily practice in her monumental work Not To Know But To Go On (the name of the piece taken from the writings of artist Agnes Martin).  For three years she used her practice as one might use the daily ritual of writing a diary. The design of the piece refers to her Finnish cultural heritage of rag-rug making (although the piece is stitched not woven).  Every day one complete skein of stranded cotton embroidery thread was couched over strips of found fabric from her own collection on to a cotton canvas backing.  She says, "Stitching gets me up in the morning.  I look forward to spending that quiet time with myself.  It's emotional therapy, as I stitch, other things fall into place; the time it takes helps me to be quiet.  Inner time goes backwards and forwards. Time is recycled.
This private and  controlled endeavor as Judy describes it, speaks to me as a visible record of time, making it tangible.  it is a dense, material representation of thought and making. There is great craftsmanship visible in the repetition exhibited in the work.  As I look at the densely stitched loops and coils of this work, so great in length after three years of daily stitching, i wish I  could touch it and properly engage with the physicality of the object.  Judy says, "I'm interested in producing something very simple and quiet and marked repeatedly with the human hand.  Not because it's a metaphor for anything, but just because it's an object that says, unequivocally, I was here.  I spent time with this.  Feel my touch."
The Manitoulin Circle Project is pictured on pages 116 and 117 with the accompanying text.

Canadian artist Judy Martin worked with over 140 people during the four year Manitoulin Circle Project.  Four large 'meditation panels' were created during the project: Earth Ark, Precious Water, Layers of Time and Mended World.  Each panel carries the message of environmental appreciation and reparation.  The work was largely made from donated and charity-shop materials: damask tablecloths and other domestic textiles, including crocheted doilies, women's handkerchiefs and wool blankets.  A theme of re-creation and also of reparation through the remaking of these materials ran through the project.  Every week during the four years of the project participants gathered in a church hall to work on the pieces, building community and personal friendships as they slowly created their pieces of work.
The Mended World panel is constructed using a string-piecing technique.  Using a sewing machine, four or five long narrow strips of a variety of textured damasks (from recycled tablecloths) were sewn together along their long edges to create a new striped fabric.  This fabric is then re-cut several times and sewn back toether to make a wide piece of new fabric.
The project speaks of time and has produced beautiful, meaningful work.  as an artist who works with communities, i am always deeply moved when I think about the other work that goes into producing pieces like this.  The other work is the conversation, the communication, the slowing getting to know one's stitching neighbour, the memories and skills shared, and the hours of committed thought and organization of the facilitator/artist.  Somehow the tactile cloth holds all of this within its folds, layers and stitches.  This work is a reminder that people and places mixed together, and the exchanges they have, can produce satisfying results.

Other artists featured in the book include:
Abigail Doan
Kate Bowles
Alice Fox
Pat Fuller
Lotta Helleberg
Roz Hawker
Hannah Lamb
Christine Mauersberger
Mandy Patullo
Celia Pym
Roanna Wells
as well as the author herself, Claire Wellesley-Smith (her work in progress shown below)
Claire includes natural plant dyeing, working with community, walking as a practice, and world textiles such as Japanese boro and Indian Kantha cloth in her writing about the topic of Slow Stitch. The cloth cover of the book makes me want to hold it all the time.  Several projects and ideas are presented by the author such as how to develop your personal stitches, making your own stitch journal and telling narratives through stitch and cloth.

Congratulations Claire Wellesley-Smith on a beautiful addition to the growing library of inspiring books about hand-stitching.  I am so pleased to be included and so are the women of the Manitoulin Circle Project.  Thank you.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

craft on tap

Craft on Tap is a fund raiser for Craft Ontario.
It is being held at the Mill Street Brew Pub
21 Tank House Lane
in the Distillery district of
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 3C4

Wednesday September 9
7:30 to 11:00 pm

There will be a silent auction.
Judith e Martin's stitched collage, Time, Dream, Memory: Mother (shown above) is included in this auction.

For tickets:  click here

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hard Twist 10: Memory at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto

Hard Twist 10:  Memory
August 27-December 27 2015
Gladstone Hotel

opening reception will be September 10, 2015  7 pm
Judy Martin will be exhibiting Red Moons in this exhibit about memory.
The jurors (Melanie Egan, Sarah Quinton, Elizabeth Eliott) chose this piece made from the borders of a 90 year old wool blanket because of the beautiful wear-marks in the cloth that came from use.  Human sleep is when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, not only to cold but also to the unknown dream world.

This cloth holds evidence of years of human touch and protection.
It holds memory.
Judy and her husband will be in attendance at the opening in Toronto, September 10, 2015.
Hope to see you there!!!

Hard Twist is curated by Chris Mitchell and Helena Frei.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Light of the Moon .....sold at Perivale Gallery

Light of the Moon sold during July at the Perivale Gallery on Manitoulin Island.
It is one of three pieces that Judy Martin has on display at this gallery for the brief summer season.
(The gallery closes just after labour day)

Friday, August 07, 2015

Pop Folk T3XT1L3S is reviewed by Now Toronto.

feel better ..judy martin
Despite its techy spelling of the word textiles, this show from Sudbury's Galerie du Nouvel Ontario curated by Sophie leBlanc and co-presented by Toronto Francophone arts group Le Labo, is not about smart fabrics that answer your iphone or drapes that change colour with your mood.  Instead, four women from the province's north put their own contemporary spins on traditional needlework techniques.
Feel Better, Judy Martin's wall installation of small white cloth packages wrapped in red thread, plays on infant swaddling, bandaging and aboriginal medicine bundles.  it seems unprepossessing at first, but as I worked at Martin's small sewing station making my own bundle with twigs, cloth and string, I came to appreciate the healing power in the act of wrapping, which helped the artist after her mother's death.  Such sharing, DIY activities are an essential part of textile craft.

Mariana Lafrance's small quilt using the diamond pattern called tumbling blocks looks ordinary as well, but the gentle progression of earth colours she's achieved by tinting found textiles with plant dyes results in a subtle, unique harmony.
mariana lafrance
Danielle Gignac\s cozy teepee offers a resting place.  Using saplings as tent poles, she's woven a covering around them from sewn-together socks donated by residents of Sudbury.  Aptly called Walking Home, it draws a connection between garments and nomadic shelter.
sophie leblanc and danielle gignac
The show's techiest work by Greta Grip, translates QR codes into knitting.  Unlike Douglas Coupland, who makes QR graphics into colourful op-arty paintings, Grip sticks to the natural tones of undyed fleece in her small knitted squares, which link to videos of Dot, Sammy, April and Sara, the sheep who contributed the wool.
greta grip
A wall of people's quotes about textiles seems a bit too much like a public service announcement, but this is still a lovely small show by artists not often seen in Toronto, and setting it in a heritage house adds another layer of history. 
Review by Fran Schechter of Now Toronto.  (NNN)
Photos by Marc Lemyre of le Labo
Pop Folk T3XT1L3S is at Campbell House Museum (160 Queen West) until August 9.  
416 597 0227 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

David Kaye Gallery displays Yin Yin this summer

 Yin Yin is currently on display at the David Kaye Gallery in Toronto.
Above, installation shot of the collection display area of the gallery.  Yin Yin is upper right.
Yin Yin is a two sided piece.
The second side has a rougher texture.  Detail shown below.
David Kaye represents some of the most important textile artists in Canada.  Judy Martin is proud to be in the same gallery as Dorothy Caldwell, Sandra Brownlee, Kai Chan Sylvia PtakSusan Warner Keene,  Chung-Im Kim, Tracey LawkoValerie Knapp , and Barbara Klunder among others.

The mixed media paintings of Nova Scotia artist, Donna Boyko are featured in solo exhibition this month until July 26.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

P0P F0LK T3XTIL3S at Campbell House Museum in Toronto June 26-August 9 2015

Feel Better installation by Judy Martin, part of POP FOLK T3XTILES  exhibition 
With Feel Better, Judy Martin explores the act of wrapping, and its healing, feel-good effects. For her, the process of fabrication in textile arts is something that is strongly tied to familial relations, and there are many traces of this in her installation, which includes, for example, wrapped bundles, each with four twigs at their core- corresponding to her four children. Having started to explore wrapping in her art after the passing of her mother, Judy makes the reference of caringly wrapping a baby in a warm blanket, or wrap­ping a bandage for someone who is injured - in both cases, the act of wrapping becomes something that is helpful to another, and that we can associate with compassion, care, and feeling better.                                                                           Sophie LeBlanc  curator of P0P F0LK T3XTIL3S 
POP FOLK T3XTIL3S opens June 26 6 pm reception
Campbell House Museum
160 Queen Street West  (corner of Queen and University)
Toronto  M5H 3H3 and it continues until August 9

The exhibition is in partnership with Le Labo gallery, curated by Sophie LeBlanc.  There is a catalog with curatorial statement and essay on pop and folk art by Sophie LeBlanc.
The artists in the exhibition are:
Judy Martin
Mariana Lafrance
Danielle Gignac
Greta Grip

The goal for P0P F0LK: T3XT1L3S was to find artists who were interested in, or that practiced the use of textiles as an art medium, and to put together a showcase that would consider the relationship between textile practice and popular art.

By using a '133t' language, of vowels replaced by numbers, for the title of the exhibit, I also made reference to numerical coding, and of informational technologies that are integrated in our everyday lives, as much nowadays as artisanal traditions such as the fabrication of textiles would have been in the past.  These digital technologies allow the evolution of craft practices and give new ways of communicating them.  That said, the whole of the project also considers the techniques of textile practices, themselves technologies, as well as the effects of contemporary technology on these traditions, notably in terms of their presence in contemporary art.

The question of popular art, or pop art, also took an interesting turn in the ensemble of the projects.  We find in each work some element of daily life, whether it is a quilt that would cover the bed in which we sleep, or old socks that we have walked distances in.  Presented in the context of fine arts/contemporary arts, this element (of daily life) takes on a new shape: it no longer simply fills a need for warmth or protection for example, but offers a critical spectacle to those who observe it.
The projects chosen showcase an eclectic and interdisciplinary mix of artworks and mediums, all relating to textiles and making reference (either directly or indirectly) to the origins of textile fabrication practices as popular art.  For the artist Mariana Lafrance, the fabrication of textiles is motivated by a return to nature and to our ancestor's practices.  Using natural materials for dyeing, a quiltmaking technique and a three dimensional presentation, she transforms recycled sheets into an optical masterpiece.  For the artist Judy Martin, the fabrication of textiles becomes a ritual, even a spiritual practice that relates to familial life.  Her presentation of wrapped twigs resonates a reflection on mourning and healing processes.  Knitting artist Greta Grip is interested in the integration of new technologies with textile practices, by knitting igital QR codes that link to video documentations of the original resources that allow these fabrications (sheep), by informational diffusion.  Finally, artist-architect Danielle Gignac then explores the role of textiles as shelter, and as an active player in our experience of home.  She creates a tent structure made from recycled socks.

Sophie LeBlanc curator, P0P F0LK T3XTIL3S