On August 11th to August 16th I exhibited a showing of my recent work at the Hidden Garden Gallery in New Denver, BC . My show was titled “Embrace” and included my “Old Age Security Blanket” project, drawings in graphite and ink, as well as a collection of eco-surface designed scarves.
“Old Age Security Blanket” – a slow work in progress (photo by Isaac Carter)
From my Artist Statement:
“The word “Embrace” presented itself to me as an appropriate description of the energy I try to engage on my life’s journey and it’s expression in my art. It suggests the concept of a joining or closeness to people or experiences we encounter, and how they can change us or shape our life’s path. It also suggests for me the possibility of change through the meeting of obstacles, especially when the organic moving things of life encounter the solid or rigid structures in our path. An example of this is the economic system we are all born into and how it contributes to our personal stories. I visualize our aliveness as a moving changing energy like tree roots, river systems and blood vessels. The systems or structures we negotiate with appear in my art as a type of grid. The way we choose to embrace our obstacles and continue on our path describes the kind of change that can occur at that juncture.”
Studies of roots and rocks help to inform the movement of the red lines on the blanket. (photo by Isaac Carter)
“Embrace” is a grouping of recent work which includes an“Old Age Security Blanket”, a work in progress about my personal journey of enquiry into ideas of security, economics and growth. I am making this ‘blanket’ using found natural dye colour, pennies collected and saved in cloth and contemplation through stitching, words and drawings. An accounting ledger accompanies this piece to preserve a written record of money saved and organic thoughts collected along the way. It was the meeting of the red stitch lines and the pennies on my blanket which inspired me to explore the interaction between organic growth and solid obstacles in the natural world. The drawings of roots and rocks are a study of this interaction and they help to inform the movement of the red lines on the blanket.”
My “Old Age Security Blanket” is a work in progress and I continued to work on it as it hung in the gallery. (photo by Isaac Carter)
Old Age Security Blanket in process (photo by Isaac Carter)
My Old Age Security Blanket is a work in progress which began in April 2013 around the time that Canadian pennies were phased out of circulation. I conceived of the idea to create this blanket when I first became aware of the coming ‘extinction’ of the humble penny. Something in this event sparked an interest for me in exploring ideas around the movement of money. The loss of the penny, the first and smallest unit for trade, presented to me a metaphor for the extinction of ‘small and slow’. It speaks to me also of the loss of handmade traditions all over our world. When the penny was deemed ‘worthless’ it awakened an interest for me in the concept of inflation – the idea that money is created from the void between the making and growing to the final point of sale. Our financial security in the form of pension plans, life insurance, savings and investments are built on the idea of never ending expansion.
Old Age Security Blanket in progress – red lines are hand stitched with tiny seed stitches (photo by Isaac Carter)
This blanket is constructed with squares of fabric; two pieces per square, with 16 pennies stitched by hand between the layers. There are 12 squares in each row and I am considering that the final length will be 28 rows (but it could grow longer).
“Embrace” exhibit at the Hidden Garden Gallery in New Denver – OAS Blanket in process (photo by Isaac Carter)
The “OAS blanket” is designed to cover a bed, though it’s length will be at least twice as long. Hanging it as I did for this exhibit will probably not occur again as this entirely hand stitched blanket grows longer and heavier with pennies. I have seven rows completed so far and the weight is around 10 pounds.
Cotton fabric with pennies, plant and metal dyes, thread (photo by Isaac Carter)
Each square of pennies has it’s very own dye adventure with plants from my garden, the neighbourhood or places I visit. In the winter I resort to using kitchen waste and any scavenged berries or leaves I may find in the snow. I also use found metal objects which add colour to the palette and and sometimes leave an imprint of it’s shape behind. The dye process is generally slow as the fabric is bundled in bottles, bags or containers in my greenhouse or near the fire where it’s warm, and left to the slow dye process for several weeks.
“Old Age Security Blanket” (photo by Isaac Carter)
The squares are then stitched together by hand in the order of their making. Colour placements are therefore random and I trust that by the end of the project what seems chaotic and random now may have found a natural balance all it’s own.
The stitch drawing down the centre of the blanket represents the living moving energy of my life and how it travels and grows through the grid like system of the coins. It is a moving river, red like our blood vessels and it encounters objects on it’s journey like roots growing around rocks.
Studies in ink of roots and rocks (photo by Isaac Carter)
I would like to thank Isaac Carter for the beautiful photos of my work. ICandyFilms is a young Canadian/Hungarian film making team who make small production films. One of their specialties is films about and for artists: ICandyFilms artist films