A map of Canada tells a story.
It is a story about a geography that divides and a climate that challenges.
It is a story about a people who are varied and often don't speak the same language.
It is a story about a country that is rugged, unrefined and harsh; with small bands of sophistication and concrete slicing into her greenness and natural beauty.
It is a story about a country that remains young and naive and filled with a barely harnessed energy of land and people.
It is a story about a country that just shouldn’t work, but that always will.
It is a story about my Canada; my home.
This is my interpretation of that Canada, inspired by Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case of You’, which tells her story of a love that shouldn’t work but always will.
It is made with cotton, silk, linen, silk linen, hand sun yarn from natural and commercial fibres. All fabrics are hand-dyed or hand-painted. It is hand and machine pieced, hand and machine quilted, machine and hand embroidered.
I was an odd child and certainly not what my father had expected. We weren't close. There were no obvious signs of affection between us; from either of us. It was like we had both given up the other, for the good of the family. It was a feeling, I imagine, similar to what Joni Mitchell described in her song “Little Green”.
At the age of 47, I came out to my father. By then, he was widowed, blind, and living alone in a retirement home. He had already heard the news, but I travelled to Edmonton to tell him face to face.
That visit was life altering for both of us. We talked for hours about the moments that we hadn't shared; the little things that mattered; our secret dreams. For the first time in my life, I understood, what I had sensed others were feeling, when they spoke of their fathers. During the remaining four years of his life, I visited whenever I could, and we spoke almost daily. We were father and son.
I will never forget saying good bye to my father after that visit. It is a memory forever etched in my heart. He hugged me, told me that he loved me and then sobbed ... “If I had only known. If I had only known. Think how different our lives might have been.”
This quilt is my attempt to tell that story using cotton, wool, linen, and silk blends. I hand dyed all of the fabrics using 'found' items (plants, rusted objects, etc.). It is machine pieced, hand pieced, machine quilted, hand quilted, hand stitch with my handspun wool, and some colour enhancement with paints and pencils.