by woodshed

Robin Johnston.
i met her while i was at Penland this past summer.
when i stepped into her studio, i was embarrassingly overcome and all i could do was cry.
her work is unbelievably moving to me.


her work is a poetry of systems.

the piece above, Interruptions, came from her charting every time she was woken up by her baby during her pregnancy.
she would write down the time, and developed a way of weaving those times together.
what a beautiful way to chronicle the ethereal connection between mother and gestating child.
what a relic of remembrance, for that child to have an artifact from it’s precognitive self. from the child before the child.

Calling all, this is our last cry before our eternal silence

Robin also often uses morse code, such a direct and secret language staring at you through her fabric.

Calling all, this is our last cry before our eternal silence, is the last morse code message sent by the French Navy in 1997 as they abandoned the language for the now standard Global Maritime Distress Safety System.
In my small experience with her and her work, I see her chronical the fleeting and the almost over, her systems commemorate what is barely palpable…
the last morse code message.
her nine months of carrying around a wakefulness.
peoples heartbeats (Heart Rate Series).
the sunrise and sunset, laid next to the rising tides outside her window (Two Weeks in July, Point Bonita- below).

Two Weeks in July, Point Bonita

what i love most about Robin’s work, is i actually get a message, an understanding, before i know the system she’s working with or the language she’s speaking.
and the work itself doesn’t come with an explanation- it exists of it’s own accord.
it a lesson in trust for me.
trusting the steadfast assurity of a message.

oh, i could go on and on.
the final thing i want to share:
the weaving techniques she employs are so beautifully simple.
mostly tabbys and twills, there’s not a lot of frills.
neutral color pallets.
it really is like poetry.
so sparse, and so deeply considered, that her stories sing of themselves.

Heart Rate Series, Light