Ennead #1

Late Friday evening I was informed that my work Ennead #1 had not been selected for the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s 2019 Dimensions juried exhibition.

This was not a big surprise.

The instructions to the jurors includes the phrase “traditional craft media”. If this is interpreted in a narrow way, much of my work is immediately disqualified as I tend to cross boundaries with my work, combining textile structures and techniques with paper. The historic pattern of my entries for this biennial exhibition is that the work is either rejected, or it is included and I win one of the awards.

I attended the critique section yesterday, and although I asked some general questions about the decision-making processes the jurors had used, I did not ask why my work was not selected. There didn’t seem to be much point in asking that, since the answer would have absolutely no effect on my future work and would likely have annoyed me.  ; ]

The work is created from sixty-three units. Each unit is assembled from a two-part locking unit (coloured paper with stitching on the front and interlocked white paper on the back), a folded square base, and two or more folded ginwashi connectors.

If you would like to learn more about how these units are constructed, you can read about my book with a multi-piece cover here.)

I don’t have any photos of Ennead #1 mounted. It was not hung for the selection process. (You may have to wait for my exhibition Square Dance to be hung in the Saskatchewan Craft Council Gallery in September of 2020 for proper images of the completed piece.) I do have some work-in-progress images though, so here they are.

Simple stitched panel on top of a pierced panel.

Heavily stitched panel on top of the foam core and book board I used while piercing.

Partially stitched panel shown from the back.

Each of the coloured panels was interlocked with a white folded piece. The units formed are not only the decorative elements of the work, they serve to lock the units together.

This panel below forms the bottom left corner of the work. The two-part locking unit holds two ginwashi connecting pieces. These connectors will be used to lock this unit to the one above it and the one to the right.

This image shows all the coloured panels laid out before assembly.

Here is Ennead #1 with two rows of panels still unattached.

Three panels left to attach. These contain the mounting system.

The mounting system is a grommet inserted in the reinforced back of the panel. This allows the work to hang from nails in the wall. Here are some sample mounting units (from a previous piece) shown from the back.

The repeating shapes and colours of paper and thread in Ennead #1 were chosen to signify key memories from a particular year in my childhood. They represent, among other things, the ubiquitous linoleum floors I walked and played on, and the clothing worn by my immediate family, my maternal grandmother, and myself (including a third- or fourth-hand very faded Brownie uniform and a cotton Sunday dress with a border print of large and extremely pink roses).

Most particularly, the piece records two highlights of that year in my memory. Near the beginning of the year I tasted watermelon for the first time. Close to the end of the year I discovered that the number 9 is magic. (I had already been told that cats have nine lives, and that a stitch in time saves nine.)

While learning the multiplication table by rote, I realised that I did not have to memorise the nine times table: I could multiply by ten and subtract the multiplicand, eg. 7 x 9 = 7 x 10 – 7 = 63. I then started seeing the pattern of nines. For instance, the digits of any number that is divisible by 9 will add up to 9, eg. 2,313 is divisible by 9 (9 goes into 2,313 257 times) 2 + 3 + 1 + 3 = 9.

My teacher was skeptical, and it wasn’t until I was much older that I found that there are mathematical proofs for my discoveries.


About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
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