Friday, March 3, 2017

my grandmother box

from february 2, 2008

When I only have one photograph of someone, like my grandmother, I use it over and over and over.

I made this box shortly after we moved from Kenora to Manitoulin in 1993.  I had done the photo transfer of my grandmother earlier, using 'picture this' acrylic medium.  I transferred the photo-copied image several times onto white cotton, and then added details with ink and paint.  I sewed 2 images together to make a piece of fabric large enough for the box lid.

I'll post photos of the entire box at some later date.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

cross my heart


From June 3 2009  Magic

magic was very important
the chalk circle you drew around yourself  to protect yourself from elements and the like
it's gone out of fashion now which is a shame
why will it work?
It works because the personal space is always the same, it's a force field around ourselves
as long as our imaging powers are weak, it's useful to have something to remind us

Jeanette Winterson - from oranges are not the only fruit


Cross My Heart is one of my most 'famous' quilts - as the central detail of the stitched crosses has been picked up by pinterest and the quilt itself was accepted into Quilt National 2011.

I started the piece during a rough time in my life - the month of my mother's death.  I actually worked at the stitching at her death bed...the beauty that came forth from the stitched crosses shocked me and I didn't know how to proceed.  I ended up saving the piece of two sided cloth - (the squares are stitched to dyed cotton velvet and the reverse of the stitching seemed so open and trusting I didn't want to cover it up with a backing cloth)...for years.

Finally in 2009 I put it together with some large pieces of striped silk I had bought from a tailor's shop in Toronto - and began to stitch a beautiful large quilt very intenseley with spirals.  I took it to Alaska for my baby Jack's birth-time in October of that year....but in 2010, the scale of the piece over whelmed me and I cut it back drastically and entered it into Quilt National and was surprised by its acceptance.  I miss the largeness of it.

That's the story.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Something More Magical Than It Ever Was




Values such as 'making-do' and 'necessity' have been projected onto 19th century quiltmakers, but this demeaning idea has got to be re-evaluated. Nineteenth century women had access to a wide array of inexpensive materials as well as exhibition space in the form of huge well-attended fairs for their quilt art. It is my thesis that 19th century quiltmakers were artists and knew themselves to be. It's true that formal art education was not easily available to all women but I would suggest that it's also true that many of those women preferred (as I do) to work with cloth and thread. 

"If trends in visual and cultural studies and the so-called 'new art history' truly aim to revolutionize an understanding of the past, the aspirations and cultural productions of those women who worked in media heretofore outside the purview of mainstream art history - cloth and thread - must be taken into account." Janet Catherine Berlo
detail from reverse of Something more Magical Than It Ever was




God is alive

Magic is afoot

God is alive
Magic is afoot
God is afoot
Magic is alive
Alive is afoot
Magic never dies
Magic never fled
Magic always led



Leonard Cohen



And from February 13 2017
Michelle has given us this link.   

Four minutes of Leonard Cohen reciting the original.
Thank you Michelle for your friendship through the years of Judy's Journal. x

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Self Portrait

self portrait with three of my four children made 1985 Judy Martin (from maternity clothes and painted fabric)
From September 29 2011

For years and years my artwork and my life were wrapped up with my own motherhood. My husband and I have four children, and this piece was made the year the third one was born. It is not my first quilt. 

Notice that the fourth side has no border, just a binding. I see it as a premonition of the fourth baby yet to come.
I cut up the maternity clothes I wore and re-arranged them. 
The mother is nursing her babe and drawing herself doing it.  At the same time.  That's how I was. How I still am.   An artist and as good a mother as I can be...at the same time. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The House With The Golden Windows

made in 1993, first exhibited at Thunder Bay Art Gallery that year

east wall exterior
Glossy Magazine papers stitched to artitst canvas, procion h dye painted roof, metallic hand quilted window, 1993,   approximately 6 feet high excluding fringe
From January 31  2007

To discover the conscious mind in a world where intellect is held to be valuable requires solitude - quite a lot of solitude.   We have been very strenuously conditioned against solitude.  To be alone is considered to be a grievous and dangerous condition.  Most people have never been alone enough.
I suggest that people who like to be alone, who walk alone, will perhaps be serious workers in the art field.                                                                                                                

 Agnes Martin
south wall exterior
Glossy Magazine papers stitched to artitst canvas, procion h dye painted roof, metallic hand quilted window, 1993,   approximately 6 feet high excluding fringe

west wall exterior
Glossy Magazine papers stitched to artitst canvas, procion h dye painted roof, metallic hand quilted window, 1993,   approximately 6 feet high excluding fringe

north wall exterior
Glossy Magazine papers stitched to artitst canvas, procion h dye painted roof, metallic hand quilted window, 1993,   approximately 6 feet high excluding fringe

From January 12 2007

This blog gives me an opportunity to explain how quilts in general and my quilts in particular fit into the critical discourse of contemporary art.  Quilts are usually made by women and almost always refer to life in some way.  Quilts are considered craft by art galleries, and because of that they are often dismissed as a decorative triviality, and not given exhibition opportunities.  Quilts, because of their connection to the bed, provide a vehicle that is rich with metaphor about major life passages.  Quilts need to be understood and they need to be critically defended.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The House With the Golden Windows


The House With The Golden Windows North Wall exterior

The House With The Golden Windows North Wall interior
From November 2 2006

Although the primary function of embroidery seems to be decorative, it is rooted in belief and superstition.  Embroidery is closer to tattooing than to weaving or knitting.
From November 3 2006

Quilts are down to earth.  They are manifestations of a simpler time.  The hands on effort required to make them is one of the things that makes them strong and true.


There are four panels to this house installation - east, south, west and north.
This post shows details of the north wall only.

Monday, April 25, 2016

wedding dress series

I looked in the Mirror and said: "you're fine".  
 From November 2006

It is almost impossible to find an illustration of a Canadian artist's work in an art history book.

I managed to find eleven women artists' names in the index of Norbert Lynton's The Story of Modern Art and many more than that in H H Arnason's History of Modern Art. However, Arnason only listed two Canadians,(Jack Bush and Agnes Martin) while Lynton only listed one (Agnes Martin).

Agnes Martin (no relation) moved to the states when she was twenty but she was born in Saskatchewan and grew up in Vancouver so Canada claims her.
bridal arrmour  rubbing

silver wedding  rubbing
From December 2006

In November, I complained that it was near to impossible to find any images of Canadian artists in art history books. This comment was in reference to Linda Nochlin's famous question "Why have there been no great women artists?" Let it be known that there are Canadian artists, and one of the great ones is Joyce Wieland.  

Joyce Wieland (1931-1998) continues to inspire me because the subject matter and choice of media in her artwork celebrates being female. She has a quilt in the national gallery of Canada. 
seed pod  ink


wedding dress series: seed pod ink on paper, red thread was couched on in 2008

vulnerable  ink and wax
From January 2007

Women artists are not outside of history or culture.
Women artists just occupy and speak from a different position.
This position is essential to the meaning of western culture
more vulnerable  ink and wax