Tag Archives: Textiles

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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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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