Me: Diane Duncan 2016 – Mixing Old Traditions with the New
I am the third generation to appear in this series and what do I say about this piece and myself? For me the series has been about family traditions and memories and the richness to be gained by passing these on to subsequent generations.
In previous posts I have talked about Grandmothers and the legacy they left me, my parents and how they influenced my view of the world. This fifth piece is about the synthesis that occurs when that ingrained influence of the past is combined with the world of today.
Creating Me: Diane Duncan 2016
In ‘Me: Diane Duncan 2016’
, the quilted background was created using paper fabric from old pattern pieces, the braid on the left is from a heritage costume I created in 1980 for the centennial of the town in which I lived at that time. The colourful piece towards the centre is fused fabric confetti, a technique I’m sure my mother and grandmothers could not have envisions without the adhesives of today. Eco-printing with hand stitched embellishment would also not have been part of their world, nor would embossed plastics have appeared in their work. Drawing on personal memorabilia I chose sewing items collected on a trip to England in 1978 and found in London’s Liberty fabric store. Drawing from the more recent past, I chose bracelets, first attempts at beaded jewellry, created under the tutelage of the women at North Ranch Escapee RV Park at Congress, AZ while on our four year ‘Grand Tour’.
I have been fascinated with textiles and fibre all my life. Art training was not available in our rural schools and the closest ‘fit’ I could find when choosing a career came out of my high school home economics classes and 4-H projects during my teen years.
I became a Home Economics teacher. I also pursued every history course offered at the high school but it was only when I stumbled upon the Canadian Studies program at Carleton University in the early 1980’s that I realized the direction and depth of my interests. Courses in sociology, political science, anthropology, literature, and ‘history’, native studies, women studies – all within the Canadian context – help me today when I approach a new ‘discussion’ in my artwork.
For many years, the ‘real’ world demanded my time and energy. Earning a living, raising children, community volunteer work, farm, friends and all that results from being wife, mother, daughter, sister, teacher, museologist, community volunteer, neighbour, activist, consultant and all the other titles that I have worn at one time or another. Through all this I was always involved in craft and art groups and took every relevant course available in our community.
My interest in using personal history in my art has long been part of my practice. When I look back over the years, my best work is created when it has a personal story or connection for me. My second passion is researching and writing the story of the people in my life and those that have gone before. This series will continue beyond the TREX exhibition, future work will be more focused, technique may take second place to storyline. I have recently added a new category to my blog posts ‘Community & Family History’.