Tag Archives: illustration

Text to Textiles

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I thought I’d be writing a lot more about the process for making this collection of illustrations/fibre artworks. It’s not that I haven’t been documenting the progress. But for now, I’m pleased to have the work hanging all together, and I look forward very much to hearing feedback. The next few months will be a time of closure and reflection on a project that’s taken up a lot of space for the last 3 years. 

Here’s the blurb about the exhibit. The best is last: the artwork is posted below the blurb.

Text to Textile is a exhibition of fibre art illustrations based on the novel, The Bones, by Laura Wythe.

Text to Textile runs from April 3rd to April 28th  in the Sifton Room at the Masonville Branch Library, 30 North Centre Road, London ON, Canada.

The show opens on Saturday April 7th from 1-4 PM with readings from the novel by author and artist Laura Wythe.

Each image in Text to Textile is translated from the text onto silk, table linens or canvas, and carries an aspect of a character in the novel.

The artist infuses various embroidery traditions with a new point of view, highlighting the fragility of cloth and life, borrowing from news stories of local and global flooding to show the precarious hold we have on the land.

The illustrations are mounted as a conservationist might; fragments are carefully stitched onto linen stretched onto acid-free boards. Each illustration is accompanied by a text from the story. The process of creating the illustrations is also highlighted.

Laura is a teacher, artist, writer and long-time environmental activist. Three times her plays about community and the environment were chosen for the Grand Theatre’s Playwright’s Cabaret. She has studied Fashion Design at Ryerson and has a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Guelph. She is a member of the Canadian Embroiderers Guild, and lives and works in London Ontario.

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Stitched Illustration

I’ve always sewn clothes, made pictures, sculptures–tactile, physical objects that I could share with others pretty easily.

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The lakeshore, formerly at 76.5 metres above sea level had risen by 15 metres and was lapping at Queen Street West. From The Bones, Chapter 2, by Laura Wythe

For a number of reasons, writing has become a great creative and personal outlet for me.  But how to show and share words? Contests, blogging, writing plays and joining writing groups have worked for short fiction.

Recently I finished a novel, inspired in part by a street in Wortley Village. Tecumseh Avenue is the only native name among so many traditional English names. It took a lot of research to find out the story behind the name, and I used the presence of this First Nation man in The Bones.

The main character is Catherine Blackwood, the textile curator at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. She grew up on a farm next to the battlefield north of Chatham where Tecumseh died in the War of 1812. She heads back to the farm, now in Flood Zone 4, obsessed with making one last search for Tecumseh’s bones. (I’ll blog more about the Tecumseh story.)

I’m used to showing and telling what I’ve been up to. The logical thing — for me — was to make a series of illustrations and launch a book with pictures! Catherine, the textile curator, came to mind as having the perfect point of view for the illustrations.

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gathering materials for The Bones Laura Wythe

For more than 2 years, I have collected textiles–table linens, threads, and other bits and embellishments. I have pored over maps and charted the travels of the characters through a flood ravaged land. I have joined London branch of the Canadian Embroiderer’s Guild to bone up on my stitching techniques.

I have 4 months left to finish the illustrations, and literally thousands of stitches to go.

 

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Indie Publishing

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A long time ago, in the town I grew up in, I had my first Indie publishing moment in Mr. Smith’s Canadian Lit class. I wrote the story, drew the pictures, hand printed the words, and bound the pages with red electrical tape. Pretty cool. An excellent teacher, Mr. Smith went through the pages with pencil and pointed out my not-too-numerous spelling and grammar mistakes. He whispered to me (I was a class-slacker) that I should get this book published. I thought it was.

Little did I know at the time “nurd” would be become a part of our vocabulary, and have a different spelling!

Now with online printing platforms, I can go beyond a short children’s story and print out a whole novel, and many copies! In my case, I used CreateSpace, and being a pencil and paper girl, I had a hard time until I just followed the instructions. Oh yes, and I enlisted a friend’s help!

Talking out design problems and getting the book just right was a great experience, and now it’s done. I have a BIG book.

Mind you, I also booked a venue to hold an art show in 2018 — can’t resist illustrating a novel. Deciding how to include illustrations is still to be decided. I’d like it to have some of the charm of an “old-school” book, maybe with colour plates pasted onto blank pages opposite the text, or scattered through more randomly. It won’t be hand printed, but the illustrations will be hand-made.

I’m proud to announce the release of The Bones, and will be among the small presses and indie authors at London Ontario’s Wordsfest — Southwesto Book Expo — held November 4 and 5th at Museum London. A cool start for a book.

Meet local author_landscape

 

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