A New Beginning

Judy Matthews


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hand-spun, hand-dyed long wool fleece processed from its raw state; handspun raw bamboo fibre, hand dyed strips of sari silk | 29 x 15 | framed

In the summer of 2020, my life was upended by unexpected and unwelcome twists and turns. For a time, I was forced to close my fibre arts business and knew that my creative life would need to take a back seat while I spent my time piecing together a new life and direction for myself. 

My studio was the first thing I set up in this new reality, even though my looms sat empty for months on end, quietly waiting for me to be inspired to create again. I knew in my heart that they would come back to life in time, if I was patient. In the fall of 2022, I started weaving and dyeing again, feeling a little clumsy at the loom, unsure of what direction to take. A few close friends kept telling me that my new voice would emerge and encouraged me to keep showing up at the loom and to listen to my heart. 

 On January 1st, 2023, Tracy Burton, an former neighbour, posted a picture of the sunrise on the road I had walked for 12 years near my old home, and it took my breath away. I knew immediately that I wanted to recreate that photo in fibre on my loom.  This was a new direction for me and I felt so energized by the planning and weaving of this piece.  

 After I took it off the loom, the ideas for new work started flowing faster than I could dye, spin and weave them and I felt something come to life inside me, a creative excitement that I once thought I might never access again! 

 This piece - of a new year, a new life and new inspiration - marks a beginning in the next step of my journey of dyeing, spinning and weaving and I am so grateful to be invited by Bluerock Gallery to share it in this special show. 

This textile has been handwoven with over 20 different yarns to create a gradient sunrise piece. Many of the yarns have been hand dyed and hand spun by me, on a traditional spinning wheel. after processing the raw fleece from long wool sheep. I have also included handspun raw bamboo fibre as well as hand dyed strips of Sari Silk to create the dark and moody sky.