Saturday, March 11, 2017

Art Quilts International: Abstract and Geometric (continued)

Hand Stitching is a Time For Reflection
Not To Know But To Go On   2010 - 2013  hand stitch, found cloth, artist canvas
My art is about relationships:  with family, with nature, and with my inner self.  My art is the only place where I feel I can express these things and communicate about them on a deep level.  Repetition of simple small stitch marks over a large area can be powerful.
not to know but to go on   detail  Judy Martin  couching
In 2010, I was startled by how old I was going to be on my next birthday and felt the necessity to mark each day of my sixtieth year.  Every day I used up an entire skein of embroidery floss and some of the fabrics that I'd been keeping safe.
not to know but to go on, hand stitch on canvas
I kept going, stitching everyday for three complete years, ending the work on my sixty-second birthday.  Part of me wanted to keep doing it for the rest of my life, the other part of me needed to stop spending so much of my valuable time on Not To Know But To Go On.
Not To Know But To Go On  2013  223 feet by 14 inches, hand stitching, Judy Martin
Three years gave me 220 feet.  That was enough.

Art is an Adventure
Beginning With Time: Day  2015  78 by 90 inches,  hand stitch, plant dyes, re-purposed blankets
In the spring and summer of 2014, I harvested and processed local plants here on Manitoulin in order to dye yards of reclaimed blanket-weight wool fabric.  Stitching the wool, transforming it from something meaningful in its own right to something that used all of those qualities but added the emotion and self-revelation that art brings, was more challenging than I expected.
Beginning With Time:  night  2015  hand stitch, re-purposed blanket, Judy Martin  78 x 90 inches 
 How does one keep the work simple and pared down when working with such luxurious materials?

There is no eye level focal point.  Instead, it evokes a feeling of being lost in the woods.  The comfort usually associated with wool blankets is altered and gravity is created: the heavy materials and dark colours have an emotional gravity as well as a physical one.
Beginning With Time  detail of Day  hand stitch, plant dyed blanket wool
Beginning With Time is filled with dense, ordered columns of seed stitch in wool yarns.  I hope that what my work communicates is the quiet joy of making and at the same time the feeling that we are each just a tiny speck.  As it progressed, the piece took on a stubborn silent quality.    It would not be defeated.
Beginning With Time installed in St John's Newfoundland in exhibition Wild Pure Aesthetic Wonder
The dots below the horizon are perhaps the safety net I think about or represent a depth we cannot fathom.

Power of Cloth
Fragile As A Leaf in Autumn  2004  98 x 73 inches  hand stitched hand dyed quilt

 I believe that my work in textiles reaches others on a more emotional level than drawing or painting ever can.  The reason for this is the very materiality of cloth and stitch.  Cloth has a most intimate connection to the human body.  Babes are wrapped in cloth within minutes of emerging from the womb.  Cloth is fragile and wears out with age, like the human body.  The hand stitch is a slow method of making a mark and seems to hold time and make it visible.  This time spent repeatedly touching a piece expresses a thoughtful caring and tenderness.
Fragile As a Leaf in Autumn, detail  hand stitch on layered dyed  and over-dyed fabrics  Judy Martin 2004
There is power in cloth that has been stitched by hand.
cover quilt by Pat Pauley

This post is continued from the one just previous.   Martha Sielman interviewed Judy Martin and crafted this article as Judy is speaking.  It can be found on page 80 - 83 in the book published by Schiffer in 2016

This article about Judy Martin is an abridged version of the excellent article Sielman wrote about Judy that appeared in the spring 2015 issue of the SAQA magazine.  click here to compare

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