is a collection of ‘household linens’ printed with historically recognized garden plants that are now seen as weeds. Like family heirlooms that are too beautiful and precious to discard, but too fragile to use, Heirloom speaks of the responsibility and problem of collection.

Thicket (Setting) (Tablecloth for Eight)
Drypoint on Gampi, wheat paste, thread, oiled. 2014 178 W X 234 H cm (70”W X 92”H)

Thicket (Setting) is a tablecloth for eight referencing the lacy tangle of a sweet and thorny bramble patch and my immigrant mother’s desire for more. Drypoint printed on Japanese gampi, the strong pattern is contrasted with its skin-like support. For my mother a laden table was the salve for all conflict.


Bedding- Spread (Queen Anne’s Lace), Blanket (Briar Rose Counterpane) and Cover (Succory Ticking) as well as referring to the language of the bed, are also descriptive of the invasive tendencies of these plants. The pre-photographic nature printing technique was used to transfer information from individual blossoms to the stone matrix for printing. Printed units were then ‘patched’ together to create the bedding-sized images. This methodology echoes the time, utility and beauty of historic women’s work.


Spread (Queen Anne’s Lace) 2011, 96” X 126”

Blanket (Rose Counterpane) 2012, 94” X 106”

Cover (Succory Ticking) 2012, 94” X 122”



Here are some installation shots of the exhibition
Fruits of Labour: The Collected Field Works of Mary Catherine Newcomb and Liz Parkinson
Oct. 30-Dec. 23 2014 at The Latcham Gallery, Stouffville, Ontario.

The exhibition included a selection of work from Heirloom and Morphology.










Dents de Lion and Chicorée are images derived from photographs of pollen. Also problematic heirlooms, these small twin images are pictured as inherited baubles that are not necessarily admired, but kept for their links to one’s past.

Heirloom (Dents de Lion), litho acid tint. 10”X10” each

This work was conceived as part of Jumelages (twins by choice) an exchange between Ontario artists working at Open Studio and Quebec artists from Atelier Engramme, marking the fortieth anniversaries of both print facilities and culminating in exhibitions in both provinces in 2012. Six Ontario artists and six Quebec artists were selected by jury to work and live in each others provinces and produce six unique collaborative bodies of work in pairs. The project commenced in Toronto in October 2010 with Printopolis, followed by a week working at Open Studio before moving in November 2010 to Engramme. A catalogue will be produced. The six collaborative pairs are: Sally Ayre (OS) / Madeleine Samson (EG); Pamela Dodds (OS) / Diane Fournier (EG); Doug Guildford (OS) / Lisette Thibault (EG); Liz Menard (OS) / Jessie-Mélissa Bossé (EG); Liz Parkinson (OS) / Denise Blackburn (EG); Penelope Stewart (OS) / Lise Vézina. (Catalogue avaiable)

Both Denise Blackburn and I are interested in the collection and interpretation of plant material in time. We have conceived our project as an Herbarium (Herboriser) within the Jumelages Cabinet of Curiosity. Our work shares methodology in the exploration and collection of like forms, as well as the use of a similar historical technique of transferring natural forms to a litho stone for repetition in printing. Our images also invoke the care with which personal collections are preserved and presented, with Denise’s print fragments hung in specially prepared boxes and Liz’s larger ‘spread’ billowing out from a velvet lined case. In Dents de Lion twin macro views of Dandelion pollen preserve a sampling of the plant’s genetic information as ancestor portraits.


 Map of Canada

Map of Canada

In this work a fragile web of lacy pattern forms the map of Canada. The recognizable plant performs its name. And Queen Anne? Does she invade or unify? How should we consider our sovereignty?
Map of Canada was made from August through October 2004 and is 8 feet wide and 6 feet high. The repetitive methodology used to create the piece was similar to print process incorporating the distinct stepped activities of collecting, flattening to dry, waxing in discrete sections, and finally curating/ constructing the map. News of the world played distinctly through it all, making me think carefully about what it means to be Canadian.

Queen Anne's Lace

This piece builds from my study of those familiar plants considered weeds. Rather than draw and print specific oversized specimens as a method of reconsideration as in "Morphology" and the "Copperplate Appellation" suites, in this work I collected hundreds of specimens and used them to make one large thing: A Map of Canada.

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