Sunday, 5 December 2021

When Beavers Live Close By

 


It amuses me that the beaver sticks have gathered in their own little corner of the show.


"Chasing the Moon"
Memories of daily walks down to the marshlands
Watching as the landscape changed when beavers moved in.


When they moved in and built oh so many dams
what was a meandering stream became a lake
covering all the grass you see here.

They would greet me and the Rusty Pups
with noses just above water
and sharp black eyes watching....
....then with a noisy slap of the tail on the water's surface
they would casually get on with their business.
I imagined that slap to be a greeting 
but of course it must have been a claim to territory where we were not welcome


My work is a bringing together of snippets of memory
Trees stripped of bark and marked by strong beaver teeth
Cold dark waters of winter
Marshland grasses that flourished so well in that watery environment
But turned golden yellow in the long wintery months.

On winter mornings after a good snowfall
the beaver tracks were easy to find 
 revealing nighttime activity and favourite pathways
 leading from water's edge towards the woods and back again


The black velvet water so uninviting on a cold winter's day
yet a refuge, a place of safety where beavers can thrive.


And of course a moon on a windy, winter's night
whilst I am warm and safe in my bed
the beaver were busy as beavers tend to be
fixing leaky dams
and storing edible trees underwater.
Such fascinating creatures who can change a landscape with two strong front teeth!

 I hope you too find joy in observing nature at work.

So many thanks to Susan Purney Mark and Miranda Bouchard for their photos of the show.

Monday, 22 November 2021

When friends come together "In the Middle of the World"

 

Judy Martin's exciting larger than life pieces
Reflections on a lifetime living in beautiful rural Northern Ontario

My heavily stitched smaller pieces
Reflections on years of living close to nature in beautiful Nova Scotia

An aged record of time past

In a way all three connected to the passage of time


Every year as the seasons move towards Winter
the undergrowth in our woods dies down to soft greys
All that remains are the deep ever greens and waves of red berries
Life giving berries for the creatures and birds of these parts.
Our winters are harsh here.



In the depth of winter swarms of robins with their white eye markings
descend on the wild holly bushes and eat to their hearts content.
The berries are all gone before winter's end.
 

The older trees whose bark is weaker and less resistant to insect invasions
soon become scarred by pecking woodpeckers searching for supper.
Did you know their tongues wrap around the back of their brains
protecting them from concussion as they hammer away at those holes?
This is the sort of information that comes out of my Handy Hubby.
The practical thinker in the family
Thank goodness one of us is!


I would wrap both arms around Judy's bundles and hold them close.
In the background is "Winter's Edge" my response to Autumn fading into winter.
The season when warm hugs are needed.

We both used warm autumnal colours
I can imagine Judy's repetitive motion while wrapping her wool strips around and around each bundle. 
I remember well my repetitive tearing of strips and couching them down over and over each other.
They are connected as we are in friendship.


My thoughts were to fade the colours into the sky
ending with a barely visible weakening sun
that is really only visible when you stand close to the actual piece.


Right from the days of childhood embroidery
Repetition and rhythm have been my favourite creative principle
Repetition of simple stitches
Rhythm in the physical movements that create the stitches
And I try to create flow and rhythm in my pieces.

Always exploring and still learning.


And this is the mess of all beginnings!

And finally one more friend who is such an important part of this project
A young curator who's dedication to this project is unbounded
A wise, thoughtful person working very hard in the background on our behalf.

I am full of gratitude for these two amazing women

We are sharing quite a journey.

And thank you to Judy who sent me her photos of the show for me to use since I could not travel.
More to come!



Sunday, 14 November 2021

Getting Back into the Rhythm of Stitch




What a glorious Summer we had here in Nova Scotia
A Summer to remember
Everything grew and grew and grew
Wild apple trees drooped under the weight of apples the size of grapefruits.
Rusty Pups discovered they were delicious!

Bright, bold Dahlias grew as big as dinner plates 
Dancing through my flowerbed
They took my breath away
And were still going strong until Jack Frost put them to rest. this week.

Wanting to remember and celebrate this Summer
For me that is through stitch.

It will be a piece of joyful memories

Giant balls of colour and stitch.....


.... will dance across my piece with companions of every size.


And of course they will come to rest on the soil
which they will enrich in preparation for next years Summer.

The cycle of life.

I am content
I am joyful
I am dancing along with the dahlias in memory of this Summer past
and settling down to new stitchings with anticipation.

It is what I do.


When the Rusty Pups come and plonk themselves in front of me as I stitch....
,,,,and even shove their noses into my cloth as I stitch....
....informing me they feel neglected
So we stop for a cuddle
Or a walk
Or a meal.
They are very patient but there comes a time when they feel the need to interject!

I hope your companions of every kind allow you the time to create today!



Thursday, 11 November 2021

Lest We Forget



Lost at Ypres in 1915 WW1
My great uncle Hugo Freeland


WWI Veteran
My grandfather "Shanks" Cecil Freeland
I was lucky to know my grandad who I adored


WWI veteran
My grandfather Dr. Frank Robertson
who served as a doctor
but come home early from the trenches suffering from TB.
I was a baby when he died and I so regret not getting to know him. 




Lost at Katyn WWII
Handy Hubby's uncle Zdzislaw Berens


WWII Veteran
My lovely Handy Hubby's father Tadeusz Berens


and my beloved father
WWII veteran
Desmond Hugo Freeland

Remembering on this day of Memory









 

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Bits and Pieces from "In the Middle of the World"


I have been stuck for words
Not knowing what say about sharing this beautiful space
with my dear friend Judy Martin 


We are both inspired by the landscapes we live in
Hers on the shores of Manitoulin Island
Mine in the tangled woods around the Annapolis Basin in Nova Scotia.


My process has been for many years influences by these words from 
Peter London's book 'Drawing Closer to Nature'.
"Find a portion of the world that is close at hand and adopt it. Become acquainted with it. Draw closer to it by staying with it over a long course of time. In all seasons, all times of the day, all weathers, all circumstances of your own life. The more often you return to this chosen portion of Nature, the more finally you will be able to perceive its more delicate features, as well the slow-to-emerge patterns and rhythms."


Each piece is about how the natural world around me has touched me.


Every piece has a story connected to simple daily observations
of life in the woods and marshes and shorelines
around me. 


I understand the immensity of Judy's pieces
I have driven with her through the mighty rock cuts of northern Ontario
I have sat with her looking out over the endless horizons of Lake Huron.



Love this photo of pieces waiting their turn to be hung!
So many thanks to our young curator, Miranda Bouchard, who works so diligently on our behalf
and writes so beautifully about our work.
(You can see her curatorial statement in the MVTM link below)
So many thanks to Melanie and Michael at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum
who have provided the best environment for our show
which will remain there until December 17th, 2021.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, 17 September 2021

In the Middle of the World is Getting Closer and Closer



All rolled up and ready to go off to the 
The Middle of the World.
I was overwhelmed
had to sit down and wipe away the tears.


I am reluctant to let them go.



The pieces are the colours of Nova Scotia
from dye baths of local plants and trees.

There is a piece of me in every stitch.
Each stitch a reflection of my thoughts and feelings
 in that meditative rhythm of needle passing through cloth.



I feel I can say more with needle and thread than with words

Words are so black and white...they freak me out!

Stitching is where I can be truly me.



These pieces have been close to my heart for months
years even
and I want to keep them safe at home with me.
But then I remember part of the joy of creating
is sharing the work with others.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Birthday Celebration that Should Have Been

 


Happy Birthday Steven
On this day when you should have turned 49
My goodness me, that is nearly an old man!
You are loved
And missed so very much.