Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day

Nana on her wedding day

Valentine's Day, February 14, 2000 was Nana's funeral. I refused to look into the open casket wanting to hold onto my memories of her in her living room, cozy in her chair, knitting and watching TV. We grew up in a duplex with her living on one side of the house and while we lived on the other. The cellar stairs worked as our passage way over to her side, especially when mom said no the ice cream at the end of a meal. Nana always came through with some maple walnut.

The blanket Nana knit for me as a wedding present

I especially missed her on July 25, 2015 when I got married. She knit a white blanket for me and told me that I could have it when I got married. Since it took me quite some time to get married, not long after she passed, my mom offered me that blanket. I told her to hold onto it until I got married as Nana intended. She would joke with me that that day may never come while the blanket remained in the basement closet. That July, I took the blanket. It was one way to have Nana with us.

On our wedding day

Seventeen years later on Valentine's Day I find myself weaving pieces of her wedding gown together  with part of my own wedding gown into a new fabric. This has been my main project while here at the Mass MoCA artist residency. As I prepared the big loom for weaving, her dress was looming in the background...

It took me a few days to prepare the large floor loom here at the Maker's Mill and another day before I was ready to cut the dress. I started by removing the sleeves. After the first couple of cuts it got easier...

Nana's dress and my dress

Pieces ready for weaving

A detail of the woven fabric

Nana had always been supportive of my art making. She let me use her extra room upstairs as my studio. It was a place to play music, make things and store the work I had been doing in college. Although she was never fond of the figure studies. She would turn all the paintings and drawing of nude models around each time she went in the room. She was the person who supplied me with my first studio to work in. All these years later, she is still supporting me. Love you Nana.

In memory of Catherine Champy, born on September 20, 1911 and died on February 10, 2000.