Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Each Stitch is a Prayer

Rayon, machine pieced, hand quilted during the build up to the Iraq war.
I have written about it before (number 46)
Embroidered spirals and the word peace interupt the dense hand quilting
Hand dyed with procion dyes in 2002
This piece has been shown twice in public.
The first time at three person exhibition Family Matters in 2003 in WKP Kennedy Gallery in North Bay, the curator Dennis Geden put three artist-mothers together .  Lise Melhorn Boe (who makes artist books and assemblages) and Cheryl Paguerk, a photographer.

The second time it was shown was in a solo exhibition in Guelph at the Greenwood quiltery.  I had fan letters about this piece from the Guelph exhibition.  I also used it a lot during trunk shows in the early 2000's when I did a lot of those.

Now, Ned and I have it on our bed every night.  It is a large quilt - nearly 95 inches square, and is a perfect weight for summer, also a nice bedcover for winter.  It is very calming - a minimalist Amish design.

number 46  2002

Saturday, September 22, 2018


completed in 2017 for the solo exhibition at the David Kaye gallery in Toronto
I was so pleased to be asked to show at David's gallery.  He exhibits the most important of Canadian fine craft artists.  Dorothy Caldwell and Sandra Brownlee show in his gallery.  Barbara Klunder does too.
I made the murmuration of French knots without knowing how I would use it.
I saw blackbirds flying over me as I drove my gravel country road on Manitoulin.
They looked like moving cross stitches to me, in the sky.
The rest of the quilt came together from a reverse applique sampler I had made when my grandson was born in 2009, and some earth coloured linen, and some white space.

The white space is important in this piece.
It is emptiness.
I put loops and swirls of wind into the white space, but it is still emptiness.

number 106
this will show at world of threads in Oakville Ontario, October - November 2018  as part of my solo exhibition of white quilts "be emptier"

Monday, February 19, 2018

basic goodness

basic goodness  2017
procion dyed cotton,, silk and cotton threads
hand stitch with french knots
part of the Cloud In Me Exhibition
at David Kaye gallery in Toronto October 2017
sold  - now in UK

number 105

Friday, February 05, 2016

All My Life

This quilt's subject is that I have "lived in North Western Ontario" for all my life.  North Western Ontario is a very large area of land with beautiful rocks, trees, lakes and very few people. I made this quilt when I was 38 and studying print-making every other weekend through distance education from Lakehead University.  We used the high school art room.  The self portrait in the middle is ink etching on silk (sugar lift technique).

The white space represents the long winters of northern Ontario and the distance and thus isolation that I felt living far from urban centers.  It takes two days to drive to Toronto from Kenora, Winnipeg is much closer (2 hours away)  Embroidered in the snowy spaces are the names I had lived up until then.  Fort Frances.  Kenora.  Rainy River.  Thunder Bay.  We didn't move to Manitoulin island until 1993.
The black and white fabric in the border was chosen because to me it looked like a nest.  I felt safe in Northern Ontario, but also trapped.  The blue sky is quilted with Emily Carr lines.  The brilliantly coloured floral border refers to the beauty of nature.

80 inches square
number 9

Monday, December 07, 2015

don't worry

a small quilt, this is really just a picture
I made it because I needed a personal break.
12" h x 17' w
pieced and embroidered with stem stitch, then quilted


In 2017 I sewed it onto a velvet pillow for my grand daughter's big girl bed when she became a big sister - It became something soft for her to touch and something happy for her to look at.

quilt number 104

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

the white quilt

I was excited about the 'quilt as you go' technique when I made this quilt in 1987.  I made two other pieces using the same technique during that year.  (The same year our youngest child was born)
For this piece, I used scraps left over from sewing and a few of my own embroidered blouses.  I wanted a light palette with very few accents of dark.  The technique of creating one-step blocks (construction and quilting at the same time) with sewing machine stitch and flip was in vogue. Georgia Bonesteel's book Lap Quilting (1982) was influential.
I thought that this quilt was lost, but just yesterday I found it.  It is in one of our museums here on Manitoulin, the curator had purchased it at a farm auction in the late 90's.  If you look carefully, you can glimpse it folded up on the end of this museum bed.

Number 103

Friday, June 26, 2015

metaphysical thinking

Artist/curator  Lise Melhorn Boe invited me to participate in A Book Arts Mosaic, a collection of 38 Canadian book artists.  Each artist was to create an original edition of 25 books so that boxes of books could then go into libraries and collections across the country.  There were 25 such boxes, each containing 26 books.

I made 30 scrolls so that I could keep five for myself.  (I have now given all but one of those away.)

Transferred text asking questions such as 'who am I?', 'what is real?' or phrases such as 'the idea of self' , and 'think'...accompany images of thoughtful women gleaned from magazines that year.  The most important marks however are the hand stitches in the flannel fabric.

I regret that I don't have better photos of this series.


number 102

Thursday, June 25, 2015


The Blessing of Mary upon this house
Ever upon it

velvet, found fabrics, wool, cotton threads, hand stitched
 detail of the blessing of Mary
The blessing of the SPIRIT upon this house, on man and woman
velvet, wool, found cloth, cotton threads, hand stitched

All the blessings measure about 8 inches wide, 22 inches long
All are in private collection

There are eight in the series.
They were made in 2004.
I had an exhibit  that year in Guelph Ontario at the Greenwood Quiltery where they were shown.  The gallery part of Greenwood changed into workshop space for the amazing fabric and yarn store donstairs.  The shop closed early 2017.

I will never forget the date of the exhibition because it was shortly after my father in law died.  Many family members were in Toronto for the funeral, and came with me to the opening of the exhibition the following day.

The text is from the Hogmany Blessing
A celtic new year's eve traditional prayer.

number 101

Saturday, April 11, 2015

snow quilt

The fabric for this piece was purchased in Thunder Bay and I remember working on it before we moved to Kenora in 1982.
 It's a whole cloth quilt - these figures and the circles snowing down on them were pre-printed.  I thought that the colour and design was magical and did not change anything.  This is the only time that I have ever worked from a pre-printed piece of cloth.   The embroidered signature and date say J Martin 1983.
This is the 100th quilt!!  But I have several more I am sure.  To see the pieces in chronological order, click on the date in the side bar.  Thank you for visiting. xx

number 100

Sunday, March 22, 2015

red hands

This is a small quilt that was made as a gift for Martha.
It\s sari silk piecwork and cotton embroidery.

Several of us made small pieces that were to be put into a book.  I wonder what that book looks like? Maybe I will see it some day hint hint.

I believe the date was around 1999.  I'll check and make an edit if this is incorrect.

number 99

Sunday, March 01, 2015


 Lake  2014   indigo dye, reclaimed linen damask table cloth, silk hemp fabric, paste resist, cotton threads, hand embroidery, hand quilting 66" h x 53" w
 entirely hand stitched, the seam that joins the two large pieces of fabric that make up the top, is a tuck.  It reads as a horizon line.
Lake, side b.  indigo dye, stitch resist, wool, hand stitched.
exhibited in quilts=art=quilts in 2015
number 98

Wednesday, February 04, 2015



One of many baby quilts I made in the 80's when my friends were having babies.

number 97

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Yin Yin

Yin Yin is a two sided quilt.
Not large - about 34 inches wide, 27 inches high
hand stitched completely
Made in 2013
Reverse applique dot technique - the back of the dots showing rough on the linen side, the front of the dots neatly finished on the white wool side.
Both sides are the right side.  Both sides are the wrong side because the piece was quilted with the linen side facing up - the back of the quilting is the white side.
Yin Yin is the title because there is no Yang in this piece.
plant dyed linen, procion dyed velvet, white silk-wool gauze, red button thread and red silk embroidery floss around the edges.

Yin Yin was juried into Visions in San Diego 2014.  It won the Friends of Fiber art award.  A  catalogue was published.

Number 96

Friday, May 16, 2014

Cross My Heart

 Cross My Heart   2010
Cross My Heart, detail

The central square is layered painted and overdyed silk on dyed cotton velvet.  The surrounding borders are silk, embroidered and quilted at the same time with silk threads.

Measures 33" h x 35" wide.
Exhibited as part of Quilt National 2011 at the Dairy Barn in Athens Ohio.  Cross My Heart was part of the touring exhibition of Quilt National and was shown across the USA and also went to France to be part of the Carrefour in 2013.

 Purchased on opening day of Quilt National, this quilt is now in private collection. 

Number 95

Friday, January 03, 2014

Layers of Time

Layers of Time
Re-purposed vintage wool blankets, vintage lace doilies, linen damask table linens, and new silk.  Completely worked by hand with hand embroidery, layering methods, and hand quilted.  2013, 92" x 92"

The final meditation panel of the Manitoulin Circle Project.  These four large panels were made by hand by Judy Martin with assistance from the wider community of Manitoulin Island. These are slow art that involved over 140 different pairs of hands, with about two dozen regular participants every week for four years. 

The titles of the four panels refer to the nurturing of our environment and memory.  The vintage fabrics in all of the panels refer to domestic ritual.

The panels are intended to be hung in the sanctuary of the Little Current United Church in 2014.  They are united by the circle in square imagery and by the use of white, a celebratory liturgical colour.

Photos of the four panels were taken by Klaus Rossler while the exhibition entitled Mended World was installed in the Thunder Bay Art Gallery september 13 - october 27, 2012.

number 94