Monday 29 January 2024

Winter’s Finally Here

 Winter arrived over the weekend

Beautiful thick sticky snow

Just in time for my birthday!

It will be quiet here because

 one Rust Pup has been hobbling for a few days.

She has torn a ligament on one of her rear legs

So today we take her to the vet

She will be operated on in the morning

Fingers crossed.

Sunday 17 September 2023

Hunkering Down for Tropical Storm Lee

Over the summer I've been creating my own cyclone in the studio.

So with the arrival of Tropical Storm Lee 
I took it as a hint to tidy up.
Of course that didn't last long.

Funny how picking up a piece of cloth
brings to a halt any clean-up.
So off I went creating very small 5" squares.
Tough going that small for me
and I have to make 9 of them.

So on Sunday at the tail end of the storm
The studio was still a mess
I have 9 pieces nearly done.
Still liable to change
of course.

Rusty Pups snuggled and snoozed to pass the storm away.

And even as the evening lights came on
They still slept.

Despite Lee making land quite close to us
and the eye of the storm even closer....
We were lucky 
No power cuts
No downed trees
Not too much flooding.


Wednesday 19 July 2023

Steven's Day of Memory

It has been so many years now that our family has been incomplete
Torn asunder 
You were taken from us when you were 21
My goodness would be 50 now
An old man!
For the rest of our days there will always be a hole in our family
An empty chair
But we hold you lovingly in our hearts.

There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are the messengers pf overwhelming grief, of deep contrition,
and of unspeakable love.

Washington Irving.

Sunday 4 June 2023

Walk Through of In the Middle of the World

 Judy Martin and I did a walk through and talked about our pieces 
hanging at The Muse Gallery in Kenora, Ontario.
Thank you Miranda Bouchard for recording the event with your Photographs.

'My Awakened Heart', 'Her Arms Wrapped Round' and 'My Heart'
Judy's three pieces in the foreground.
'Resting Between Night and Day', 'The Edge of the Woods', 'A Stream Runs Through it' and 'Woodpeckers Live Here'
My pieces on the wall.

As you walk into the gallery this is the beginning of what I think is an emotional experience.
Not to be sentimental but being surrounded by large stitchings have that effect on me!
 They create a welcoming and comforting environment.
Like old English houses where walls were hung with tapestries 
both to impress but also to help warm the place.
Like my grandmother's home where huge, heavy velvet curtains separated the living room from the dining room to keep us warm with a coal (yikes) fire burning.

Love this photo

'Beaver Moon Dreaming' My piece on the wall.
'Eternity', 'Flowers Bloomed' and 'The Forever' Judy's three pieces.

'Resting at Low Tide' My piece on the wall.
'The Forever' Side B Judy's piece in the foreground.

We are so different yet so alike!

Miranda, me, Dagmar Plenk and Judy

We had a surprise visitor, Dagmar who came up from the States to see the show.
We had met online but it is so much better getting to know someone in the flesh.
We had a lovely visit didn't we, Dagmar!

We all loved listening to Judy explaining each piece.

'The Forever' and 'Time Future' Judy's pieces in the foreground.
'Summer's Dance' my piece on the wall.

'Time Past' Judy's piece in the foreground.
'Woodland Berries' My piece on the wall.

'Woodland Berries' is a piece not only about the wild berries the float 
like waves through the woods in Autumn
 but it's also about the woodpeckers that lie in these woods
and the stoney ground that huge trees somehow manage to find nutrients in.

'Dancing in the Wind' and 'Follow the Moon' My pieces on the wall.
'Medicine Earth' Side B Judy's piece beyond the door.

My experience of someone's work is always enriched with their artist talk.
So I am always happy to share my thoughts and process with others.
Even if my throat goes dry and scratchy sometimes!

Some of my works had to be given a wall of their own.
Just too many of them!
Thank you to The Muse for giving them space.

We are delighted that
'In the Middle of the World'
A show of Judith E. Martin and Penny Berens's work
Curated by Miranda Bouchard
has been extended to hang in The Muse gallery,
Kenora, Ontario
Until July 4th, 2023.

Have a great day
We are enjoying a few days of rain here in Nova Scotia
 Hope it is enough to dampen all the wild fires.

Sunday 21 May 2023

A special Road trip through Northern Ontario

'In the Middle of the World' is hanging in the Muse Gallery in Kenora.
 Judy Martin, Miranda Bouchard and I had an appointment to spend time at the gallery on Mothers' Day weekend.

Judy and Miranda are Northern Ontario girls and they wanted to show me their part of the world.  Plus we wanted to spend as much time as we could together. So I flew into Sault Saint Marie and from there we drove two days to get to Kenora.

We had a lot of catching up to do. Covid wrecked any plans of getting together but we managed to continu meeting virtually.  It was always good to see them on screen but there is nothing like actually being together. The eleven hour drive to Thunder Bay and then another six hour day to Kenora were perfect for all the catching up and discussing our work and art and creativity. 
Throughout the years of this project Miranda has asked thought provoking questions and this trip was no exception.  They often reveal our differences but mostly our deep connections. 
So much fun.
Such a special trip.

I have always been drawn to the edges of things....particularly treelines.

The trees here are birch, sumac and black spruce. I was fascinated by the black spruce that seemed to have topknots with a smattering of branches beneath and perhaps thicker branches towards their base.

 I didn't get very good images of those topknots so as we drove a did a tiny little sketch to remind me.

Islands beyond the treeline ......a different kind of edge.

We stopped at Wawa. I needed a photo with their goose to send one of my boys. Many years ago he had a summer job somewhere even further north but Wawa was where he got off the train before the long drive north. Just to give you an idea of how big Ontario is the train took 36 hours from southern Ontario Wawa. Oh, yes, and I learnt that Wawa means snow goose in Ojibwe.

Of course we had to stop for stones….so the girls found Deadman’s cove and we had a wander!

It was special….all the stones so different to my Nova Scotian ones. That day it was stones covered in dots that caught my eye. Oh joy! And of course a few came home with me.

As we neared Thunder Bay we stopped at the Terry Fox memorial which I found deeply moving. I remember him running up Davis drive near our home in Newmarket, Ontario.
An inspiring, courageous and memorable young man.

A special time with Judy

And of course with Miranda too. 

And me too!
I don’t often include images of people but this time I really want to record and remember these two beloved women who are so important to me.
Hugs to you both.

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Rusty Pups are Four Years Old Today....Already!


The day we brought them home they started chewing sticks

Today they prefer to chew or move much larger bits of fallen trees all over the garden!

Rusty Pup Brandy loves rolling all over her chosen stick of the day.
Normal dogs prefer to roll in interesting dead things or animal droppings.
Not our Brandy

Rusty Pup Ginger is the explorer, our protector 
especially when I'm alone with them.
They bark at anything new like a fallen tree
or a recycling bin on the curb
or a lawn mower parked in a new spot.
But they are enthusiastic greeters of any human beings!

They would really like to be lap dogs but my old bones can't take their weight!

They have a friend called Michael who brings them toys
Needless to say....they adore him.

These are the first Rusty Pups we've adopted that are gentle with their toys
Previous Rusty Pups have eaten any toys offered them.

It is a great joy to have them in our lives

Happy Birthday girls!

Monday 17 April 2023

Just Play or Perhaps Beginnings?

In my year of silence not knowing if I had anything worth saying
I filled my cup with play
mostly unsuccessful
but that's not the point is it.
Touching cloth keeps my tanks full!

Challenging myself to exploring colours I normally shy away from.
My hands often picked up greens.

It is easy to return to old favourites....

....easier still to come up with dismal choices!

All who know me know I cannot work with blue
Well, I probably can but I resist anything blue
And now I have to make a piece for a show called Blue!
Trouble is whatever I come up with must be nearly 100% blue.
Not be easy for me.
A couple of clever friends have suggested that I use my normal colour pallet and then dip the finished piece in an indigo vat.
Could be an interesting experiment
Using lots of different fabrics and threads
They would all take the dye differently.


Pink...not my colour either

Back to the comfort of greys and browns

Working with new new colours hasn't been my only play.
Taking apart old work
Is a slow unpicking process
A meditation
 Wondering if they have a new story to tell.