"Art is part of life, not separate. My art contains my worries and hopes. It understands." Canadian Textile Artist, Judith Martin
On a recent family trip north to Espanola, Ontario, we drove to Little Current on Manitoulin Island. I was pleased to discover there was an Artists' tour taking place on the week-end and
even more pleased to have an opportunity to meet textile artist, Judith Martin who was
exhibiting her work. It was a timely meeting. I had just finished teaching the course, "Creative Responses in Death and Bereavement" at The University of Western Ontario. Many of Judith's fabric creations and textile artworks are modern fabric constructions that deal with themes around the passage of time.. birth, life and death, while reflecting and honouring life stories and poetically reconstructing personal memories.
Judith explains, "The fabric constructions I make combine fine art's conceptualism with traditional woman's craft. Photographs, drawings, paintings, and objects are mixed with fabrics, threads, and text in order to communicate poetically. Meditative handwork fills most of the pieces.Traditional quilt patterns and multi-cultural symbols concerning birth, death, and sexuality are the foundation for my artwork. When one considers the connection that these rites of passage have to the bed, then the quilt is an obvious and powerful medium."
We carefully unfolded the blanket pictured above as she shared special memories of her mother the late Pauline Johnson.
"She always encouraged me to find my own self. To follow my own interests. To save my own self and my own sanity. This advice from her during our weekly phone calls gave me the inner strength to go ahead and do what I wanted (and needed) to do in order to become the artist I was meant to be.... She had an active interest in politics and literature. She was passionate about these things." "My subject is the passage of time. The artwork I make documents and saves the daily life of our family and our surroundings here on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada.
I was born in Fort Frances and spent the next four decades of my life in North Western Ontario. I went to Lakehead University twice, once at age 19 for a teacher's diploma and again fifteen years later for a fine arts degree. After we were married in the mid 70's my husband and I made a fourteen month tour of Europe. I make mixed media textile art and have had thirteen solo exhibitions. On The Lake, a wall piece that I made from stitched photos and satin is in the Canada Council Art Bank. I must also mention that I am a mother of four because almost all of my art practice has to do with balancing that phenomenon. In 1993 we moved from Kenora to Manitoulin Island and the peace and quiet of this lovely place has had a profound effect on my work." (Quotes from Judith Martin's BLOG "Judy's Journal" )
If you will be travelling to Northern Ontario this summer, visit the Judith Martin exhibit "Red Thread" at the Gore Bay Museum Manitoulin Island until August 10, 2008. For more about Judith Martin's life and work:
see Judy's Journal and visit Judith Martin website
And, oh yes, also while in Espanola I discovered the walrus. But more about this great catch, later. CM