Friday, January 3, 2014

Thank You

 earth ark  2011  90" x 90"

 mended world 2012 96" x 96"

 Precious Water 2013  86" x 86"

 layers of time, 2013  92" x 92"

The Four Panels of the Manitoulin Circle Project were completed in August 2013.

They went on exhibit in September 2013 in the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.  The exhibit soon opens at the Art Gallery of Sudbury on January18,  2014 (until March 2) .  It is also scheduled to exhibit in the Kennedy gallery in North Bay in 2014.

There is a catalogue available from either gallery with an essay written by Dr. Elizabeth Kalbfleisch about the making of the panels.

This project may be the highlight of my career so far.  It was a wonderful experience for me. Solitude informs my work in so many ways - but working with the community in this way opened me up and I learned so much.

Thank you so much to all participants - all 147 of you!
Thank you especially to the two dozen on the honour roll - thank you for your steady support.  I'd like to name names, but am afraid I will miss someone.  xxxoo to you special women

Thank you to my husband Ned, who was invaluable throughout the whole time of the project in just listening to me.  He also organized how to install the panels both in the various exhibitions and in the sanctuary.

Thank you to Faye Stevens, the minister of the United Church who had faith in the project from the start and supported me and all the participants so well.

Thank you to Julia McCutcheon and the Manitoulin Expositor - Julia for your faith and regular attendance, and Rick for publishing that little ad every single week for four years reminding people to attend.  Much appreciated, that kind of support.

Thank you to Sharon Godwin at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, who has encouraged me throughout my long and lonely career, by exhibiting my work solo three times in that public space.  Sharon, your belief in my work has strengthened me and helped a lot.

Thank you to Liz Harding, who advised me to 'shut the textbooks and look at my own past work for inspiration.

Thank you to Klaus Rossler for these beautiful photographs, taken during the Thunder Bay installation.

Thank you to the Art gallery of Sudbury for the encouragement throughout the project and the installation during winter of 2014 .

Four years of Judy's Journal blog posts about the project are here.

Now, with a tinge of sadness, on to the next thing. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Earth Ark

Earth Ark, 2011, installed in Little Current United Church Sanctuary, October 30, 2011.

This post is a review of the design and construction of Earth Ark, the first of four meditation panels in the Manitoulin Circle Project. It began in July, 2009 with a drawing. The drawing was scaled up on Judy's studio wall, using the 12 inch square ceiling tiles as a measuring grid. This large drawing was then transferred to quilt-backing cloth so that there was a pattern to work with. All four drawings were transferred at the same time. In late October, 2009, the community project began. Every Thursday the United Church hall in Little Current hosted a drop-in session for anyone who wanted to come and work on the panels. All levels of experience were welcome. French knots in grids, embroidered with perle cotton into silk squares. The grid of green and brown reminds one of the pastoral farm land of Manitoulin Island. One of the most important ideas underlying this project is the idea of re-cycling beautiful linens. Linda's gift of her collection of women's handkerchiefs inspired the 'heaven' in the Earth Ark panel. Laid on point, these handkerchiefs recall a more refined, slower time. The lower half of the panel is made in the broken dishes pattern, using cotton damask and a mix of silk and velvet. Hand piecing. machine piecing The lower half of the panel represents the water. This idea of an island (Manitoulin) surrounded by water and sky evolved as if it were meant to be. The upper half of the panel represents the sky. An original pattern of large foundation pieces looks like rays from the sun. These were hand and machine pieced with strips cut from re-purposed linen damask table cloths. Traditionally, the symbol of the circle within a square represents something dynamic (the circle -the spirit) being contained within something that is stable and limited. (the square - a building). Symbolically, circle within a square imagery is perfect for liturgical objects. This design also incorporates a white crescent shape, cut from a single piece. Eventually, after about 8 months of stitching, the pieces all came together. Myra helped to put Earth Ark into the quilt frame in May 2010. And hand quilting began. Hand quilting this 90 inch panel took 6 months. The rainbow was embroidered and quilted at the same time. In the green earth section, chain stitch embroidery was also the quilting stitch. In December 2010, the quilt came off the frame. The edges were bound by hand. There was still some hand quilting to do in the heaven area. Judy drew an Emily Carr sky into this area, and quilted it in the hoop during the summer of 2011. Cleaned in September 2011 Installed in October.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What is the Manitoulin Circle Project?

What is the circle project?

The circle project is the creation of four large meditation panels using hand stitching. They are designed to hang in the sanctuary of the Little Current United Church. They are liturgical pieces and use the gentle colours of Christian faith.

White for celebration and holiness. Green for ordinary days. The four large panels each have a large circle within a large square. They measure between 90 and 100 inches across. Besides the circle in the design, the circle also refers to the circle of women who are welcome to participate in the construction of these pieces every Thursday. The circle project is an attempt to honour domestic rituals. Those small slow things we grew up with, like family meals and conversation. Like mending. The circle project is about slowing down and learning a skill. It's about performing that skill with one's own hands.

It's hand work. It's touch. It's hope.

It's community. It's ritual. It's faith.

The project started when lead artist Judy Martin studied Liturgical embroidery in 2009 and approached Reverend Faye Stevens for advice and support. Part of the course of studies required that Judy design for a real building and go through a commission process and Rev Faye arranged for this to happen.

However, please note. It was JUST THEORETICAL!

The university did not expect the idea to really go ahead. But we were inspired on Manitoulin and so it began in October 2009. This project has nothing to do with Judy's degree work any more.

The Manitoulin Circle project is huge and is not finished yet after nearly two years. But it will be finished. Have faith.