I have been thinking of a way into this interview, determined to try and give voice to my feelings about Margie and her work. Obviously there is Margie’s inspirational blog, Resurrection Fern, the extraordinary and devastatingly beautiful work, the plain fact that Margie is one of the most remarkable, intelligent, compassionate and beautiful people you could ever hope to meet, funny too, the instigator of many a Cheshire Cat grin! For me, Margie is also a spellbinding storyteller, the natural objects that she works with and documents are imbued with such a powerful ‘living’ force that they have a back story, a present and a future narrative, a sort of continuum I suppose. Margie helps these objects project their magic to us, to tell their story and remind us that we have a duty of care and stewardship towards them, we cannot ‘own’ them but we can listen to their stories and take notice of the ways in which we are all a part of a much larger narrative.
Margie puts so much out into the world, she is the keeper of the spider web that holds so many people together. We are all a part of an extended narrative, a dialogue, that I find so wonderfully enriching, enervating and supportive. You may remember Project Rain (hello Rane & kiddos!) and Geninne’s wonderful card that depicted the lovely women involved as drops; Margie was the biggest drop. Margie is the biggest droplet but also the skin that holds the larger droplet together in so many ways. Inside a water drop, the water molecules are strongly attracted to each other. This attraction is called cohesion. Cohesion tugs at the molecules on the surface, pulling them in from the sides and downward. This surface tension, caused by intermolecular attractive forces, serves as a skin to hold the drop intact. I may have my infant physics a little muddled and I’m sure Margie can correct me! Really I should just let Margie’s own words and pictures continue the story now.
Tell us a little about yourself, the media you work with and your creative process.
“I am a family doctor in a small town with a population of about 4 thousand people almost all of whom are my patients. I care for people from birth to the very elderly. My oldest patient is over one hundred years of age. I do house calls and palliative care. I am a rare breed of doctor in Canada. Before I went into medicine I did a degree in Biochemistry and a doctorate in Synthetic Organic Chemistry of natural products. I think my love of botany started there.”
” I am a mostly self-taught craftsperson. I taught myself to knit, crochet, sew, embroider and I am in the process of learning to silkscreen and print.”
” I have been making things ever since I can remember but only in the past year have been sharing with people on Flickr and I started my blog just over a year ago with the encouragement and help of my friend Elsita Mora. I lack computer skills but have learned so much since starting my blog. When I run into trouble I always ask my youngest daughter for help.”
“I work Monday to Friday but manage a little creative time in the evenings after supper and also in the wee hours of the morning when nothing is stirring except my three kitties. I usually do this outside on the porch in the warmer months and near the woodstove in the kitchen in the winter. My favorite room in the house is the kitchen so many of my indoor pictures are taken there. All my children are very creative and I have tried to teach them everything I know about making things so when I am creating one of them is usually there as well, making along with me or working on their own projects. That way we get to spend time together and talk about different things. It is like an extension of dinner conversation.”
“Lately it seems that the technique of crochet has really been my focus. I love the freedom it gives the artist or craftsperson. I never follow a pattern. I always make it up as I go along and sometimes remember to write down what I did so that I can share it with others. I love how you can stop and start where ever you want. I love the sculptural aspect of it as you can tell from my work.”
“The one thing I don’t really like about it is that I have to look at what I am working on. The other little pet peeve is that because I am working with fine fiber and a tiny hook I need to wear reading glasses when I work. It is probably pretty obvious that I love working with natural fibers and things like stones and wood. Almost all my crochet hooks come from the thrift stores as well as most of my fiber. Some of it is very old, quite apparent when you see the price of the spool if it is still attached. The colors are softer and sometimes a little yellowed with age. I love that. ”
From where do you draw your inspiration: music, books, people, nature etc?
“I love the natural world, find my inspiration from it and love to spend as much time as possible enjoying it. I am so thankful that I live in a place in the world where I am able to do this. One of my favorite quotes is Frank Lloyd Wright: Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
“I am a collector of things natural and vintage. Only recently have I thought about where this all started and it actually was something I learned from my father. My father, a mathematician and electrical engineer, instilled in me a very curious mind and the love of collecting natural objects such as stones, as well as vintage treasures.”
“My husband Ray loves the natural world more than anyone I know and our canoe trips and hikes are a huge source of inspiration. He has a great gift in looking at a landscape or natural area and being able to see the history behind or beneath it. It is one of the things I love most about him.”
If you could talk briefly about the background to one of your pieces which would you choose and why? Tell us the story behind the piece.
” I think I will choose the patchwork stone that found its way to a page in the magazine Country Living, not because it is my most famous stone but because it is a symbol for what I hoped to accomplish through my art. I wanted to make patchwork stone coverings using fabric, crochet and hand stitching. I decided to use almost exclusively Liberty Tana lawn fabric cut into small circles. I love Liberty!!! I was going to use vintage fabrics but I wanted the cover to be very snug and I didn’t think it would stand up to the tension.”
“My thought behind the design was to leave some areas blank, thus the title Missing Pieces, because I know that I will continue to make new friends and connections through my blog, handwork and photography and I always want to leave some space in my life and work for them. Since I made this stone, you Lisa and Lou Lou & Oscar, have filled up one of the spaces in such an amazing way as have so many other wonderful friends that I have met through this creative community.”
What does spring mean to you creatively?.
“In the words of my favorite poet E.E. Cummings
i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
“That is what spring means to me. It opens the eyes of my insight and the ears of my inspiration to the natural world and the source of almost all my inspiration. The forest in the spring is my favorite place in the entire world to sit and dream.”
You can visit Margie in these places:
Thank you so very much Margie for giving me the most wonderful birthday present in this interview and for being there as the most extraordinary friend. You enrich our lives and I’m sure everyone would love to join me in giving you a huge, squeezy bear hug. Can you feel our gentle paws?