the ancestor series

Tactile memory, visual memory and a storied history linking familial history with ancient ancestors’ lives have occupied my artmaking for many years.  I have been interweaving the archaeological objects from the paleolithic era with objects from my maternal history using handmade paper. 

palaeolithic icons

Small carved stone objects with significance to ancient peoples were worn around the neck or kept as important objects for worship or sacred treasures.  The oils from the skin of the wearer were   ingrained in these object despite being buried for hundreds of years.
These objects became a bridge across generations for me in my artmaking.  I made etchings, drawings and screenprints of the original objects in the Royal Ontario Museum and other sources on my handmade paper. This enabled me to emboss the icons onto the handmade paper clothing I cast from my ancestors’ clothing.
intaglio prints:

drawings:

quilts

The Quilts were presented as quilt pieces stacked in sedimentary layers as though they were excavated from an archaeological dig.  The layers were made of handmade paper, imprinted or embedded with historical objects from my maternal history.  Each stack of quilt pieces held hidden mysteries which were unveiled when the quilt box (cast cotton and linen pulp) was opened and the quilt pieces were released.  All of the quilts were given titles relating to my maternal history and the area they settled in eastern Ontario, Gananoque, and Amherst Island.

trunks and boxes

Handmade paper vessels used to hold objects, clothes, precious to the owner- cast from linen or cotton pulp.  Some contained papers embossed with natural elements:  leaves, etc. and objects belonging to and/or made by my maternal ancestors. Others contained paper clothes cast from the original clothes owned by my maternal family, embossed with textiles made by my great grandmother, Isabella.

clothes

Clothes were cast from cotton and/or linen pulp from clothing belonging to my maternal ancestors with embossments and embedments of textile remnants from Isabella, my great grandmother. The clothing retained the image of the original owner when it was cast in paper pulp.  The clothing had retained remnants of the original owners’ skin oils and deportment which were transmitted from the clothing into the paper pulp to create a memory of the owner.   Intaglio images of ancient artefacts that were “held in the hand” or worn “close to the skin” were embedded in the cast clothing to bring a sense of community and tactile memory that stretches across generations.

digital images

digital images of clothing collaged with intaglio icons, landscape elements, textiles, and  photographic images

Bridge Cloths, tablecloths, etc

My grandmother had a number of bridge cloths and other bridge paraphernalia – table numbers, tally pencils, tally notepads, etc. that she used for her weekly bridge club.  I inherited them and used  the bridge cloths in conjunction with pulp, paleolithic icons and textile fragments from my maternal great grandmother to create pieces “Bridge Cloths and “Isabella’s Luncheon for Four”.

Cave drawings: