The Bones Illustrated 7

The Bones illustrated from Text to Textile show (2018) Sprinkler System by Laura Wythe

“So, where did the water go?” she asked.

“It rose fifty feet and was wicked above the tower lines to Sandusky.”

“Then it followed the Mississippi.”

“It ran along that corridor like a series of beads. Bring up the video feed and show her.”

Pi did, and in the corner of her screen he used the cursor to show her the sequence. “Then it reached Oklahoma and we shunted it west.”

“We’re still waiting for it to drop.”

“Still aiming for Uncle Walter’s pool in Phoenix?” Clem asked.

“Ha! He’ll wonder where that came from.”

“Actually, Pi, he’ll never know.” TinTin said this with relief. “He’s visiting my folks in Jericho. He heard they’re getting rains and he likes the idea of a green desert. We’ve tapped into his home security cameras. This small quantity of water should evaporate in less than two hours. Such is the arid state of Arizona.”

The Bones: Wooing, Chapter 18 by Laura Wythe (available on Amazon)

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The last of 2020

I’m done with disasters for now. And yet, there is still work to done, both personally and as part of the collective that lives on a shared planet. If there’s one thing that has remained true in 2020, it’s the connection to earth and the precious air we share. How visible that space is now! I work through electronic media, I visit and take courses in the same way. People I see in person are masked, with all that evokes. The trees, rivers, lawns, gardens, birds, critters, bugs, sky and weather remain immediate and true to form. One of my favourite “earth” connections this year is the food that a CSA farm delivers to my doorstep.

My novel, The Bones and the art show that followed its publication needs to wrap up one last thing before I move on to the next large project. I would like to finish sharing with everyone the rest of the work from Text to Textiles, the display of illustrations I made for The Bones. Some are sold, others are nested safely for another day.

Text to Textiles was based on the idea that the main driver of the plot in The Bones, Catherine, is the head textile curator at the Royal Ontario Musuem. She goes back to her family farm which is inundated with flood waters to gather textile artifacts and also to search out for the bones of Tecumseh. One is a great motive, the other rather obsessive, patriarchal, colonial, etc., etc..

There seemed no better way to illustrate The Bones than through stressing common Ontario Loyalist textiles after they are embroidered with traditional stitches. Less traditional materials are used to highlight Catherine’s daughter’s views. And then there are emboideries on silk with somewhat Gothic representations that link to another character and the silk memorial embroideries that would have been popular with Loyalists after the War of 1812.

I will make individual posts with the text below to carry on where I left off, but for now, enjoy the slide show!

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brick by brick

Brick weights/LauraWythe

My friend had a friend lay square bricks in a circle at the far end of her beautiful back garden. It looks like it’s always been there.

There were left-over bricks, and I don’t usually work with bricks, but “borrowed” a few to use as weights for a bookmaking class I’m taking though CEG London. The rough surface needed covered, so I pulled out the thickest felt on hand and made some of those geometry nets like we did in school. I attached the edges by blanket stitching first, then weaving a thick thread though to join the seams and seal the brick up inside. The joining is based on a technique I saw at a Textile Museum of Canada exhibit featuring Central American weaving and clothing.

Brick by brick, I’m approaching the new techniques required for book making, trying to understand. And this finished book cover looks good after a day of rest beneath the felted brick.

In Praise of Ironing (Pablo Neruda)
2019 Laura Wythe
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Missed Call

detail of Missed Call, paper coming though silver mesh fencing; a bar "Call the Office" in the background

We whisper a message and it gets passed along. It’s never the same in the end.

This piece started in a paper stitching class, with picture hanging wire coiled to run through a press to emboss a square of paper. It looks like an old-fashioned telephone cord. Later, I treat green cotton rag paper with konjac paste, and fold and crumple the paper. It is quite sculptural. The feel is of old paper, like matchbooks, kept and folded until they become more than paper. Like memories. once fragile, but oddly more permanent through repeatedly turning them over. I take the coiled wire from the embossing and pierce this paper. A telephone connection is made. I list telephone ideas and choose 2 for a conversation that didn’t quite happen. As I stitch, I ask why not? Why didn’t they connect?

Embroidering on cotton paper treated with konjac
Laura Wythe

I remember this colour of green: Call the Office. The paint trim around the tired old windows of this London establishment matches the paper perfectly. Like the paper, it is crumpled but stands up well despite much abuse. It’s where you might meet someone and promise to call.

The fencing is a chance encounter in a craft store, looking for something else. Shiny aluminium mesh to go with the picture wire. Jagged edges.

Missed Call is phone tag, is the whispers game, but on a visual level. Thanks for starting this round of the game — Jan Taylor and Canadian Embroiderers Guild, London

Missed call, complete photo of multimedia relief, fabric, aluminium mesh, wire and paper on linen
Missed Call by Laura Wythe
12″ x 12″
fabric, wire, aluminium mesh, paper and threads on linen
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The Bones Illustrated 6

Caskets on the Loose by Laura Wythe

Dolsen suggested viewing the river from the bridge that remained on Highway 2. They might see a solution by looking downstream. 
“When we got there,” Thomas told Catherine, “there was already a crowd and they were looking upstream. A mass of crate-like objects was bobbing in the water and coming our way.
“‘Munitions on the loose!’ Crudge said.
“‘Caskets,’ a bystander whispered. ‘A sign of the Rapture.’”
“I warned you that they believed in it,” Catherine said. “They keep calling me for advice.”
“Do you believe?”
“Only that if they keep pressing their wool suits, the glare from the shine will blind St. Peter. They must remember to use a cloth between the fabric and the iron.”
“They really have their best clothes out, ready to go?”
“Enough of them.”
“If I stay here much longer, I might hope for the same escape.”
“As long as you brought your best suit.”
“In any case, it was true. The coffins were in amazingly good shape, swollen with the rain, quite buoyant on the river. Frank Dolsen pointed out the masses of drowned earthworms, like small islands, and the air was thick with gulls.”

The Bones, Wooing, Chapter 10
Laura Wythe
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The Bones Illustrated 5

Rebecca, the Last Galloway by Laura Wythe

Her back would ache from holding the oar steady as a rudder in the rough waters. Tears streamed down her face and she did not care to wipe them. With her shoulders thrown back, Rebecca opened her soul to the river, shouting out the song that had rolled over her all the long winter.
Over the tree-tops I float thee a song!
Over the rising and sinking waves—over the myriad fields, and the prairies wide;
Over the dense-pack’d cities all, and the teeming wharves
 and ways,
I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee, O Death!
 
She was the last one living the frontier life, and it was her duty to carry the past forward as her parents, and theirs, and theirs had.

The Bones, Wooing, Chapter 2
by Laura Wythe
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The Bones Illustrated 4

Witness to Purity by Laura Wythe

The land settled out into the flat seabed, about 200 metres above sea level and gradually sloping away. The highway sat just enough above the water to make it seem like she was floating. Houses and barns looked like islands in the distance. A thin umbilical line to follow home, a lifeline between water and sky. The grey orb of the sun, pale and far to the west, was searching for an opening in the clouds, electrifying the edges with light. Would the sun touch the earth again?
It did break through. Catherine gasped at the beauty, and as though embarrassed by her reaction, the sun quickly pulled back. It had not been expecting a witness to such purity. She was the only traveller on the road.

The Bones, Lovers, Chapter 6
By Laura Wythe

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The Bones Illustrated 3

Safety Net: the Annex Trial by Laura Wythe

By his graduating year, TinTin knew he needed more than theory, more than a backyard experiment to convince people that he had a solution for peace. He set up an impressive demonstration. NASA and NORAD were the first agencies to notice the net around his neighbourhood, Toronto’s Annex. Only North American-made cars could pass through. The traffic tie-up was comical. Cars and trucks literally either passed through or stopped in their tracks. At high speeds, it could have been dangerous, but TinTin anticipated the problem, adding a thickness to the net, making it viscous so that vehicles slowed gradually and came to a standstill. Inertia and drag. The whole thing lasted only for a minute, then he pulled the net.

The Bones, Lovers, Chapter 5
by Laura Wythe
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The Bones Illustrated 2

Tecumseh Fell Here by Laura Wythe

Let all the land be flooded, let everything be drowned, but not this one hope that in her lifetime she would find the hero who’d died in the field beside her farm. Ever since she could remember, the rumours of the whereabouts of his bones floated up and down the settlements along the Thames watershed. She had to be the one to find them.

The Bones, Lovers, Chapter 2
by Laura Wythe
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The Bones Illustrated 1

Stricken City
Stricken City by Laura Wythe

T

On New Year’s Eve, a deluge dropped into the subway line at Union Station, rupturing it along the waterfront. The electric power surged and the deaths were swift. Party goers floated to the surface. Lake Ontario had breached the base of Toronto and muscled its way into the underground maze of concourses that linked high rising towers in the business district. Engineers tried to pump the water out but the lake shoreline, formerly at 76.5 metres above sea level, rose by 15 metres and currently lapped along the length Queen Street West. The city’s core stability was lost. Towers rocked like old frigates abandoned at sea. They crumbled. The city was disrupted beyond repair; the true exodus of power began. Bay Street would rebuild in Winnipeg, of all places, leaving the lower concourses to run like sewers.

The Bones, Lovers, Chapter 2
by Laura Wythe


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