OCAD University Open Research Repository

Four Corners, Four Angels, Ten Stones, Ten Veils

Gladstone, Julie (2022) Four Corners, Four Angels, Ten Stones, Ten Veils. Masters thesis, OCAD University.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Gladstone, Julie

In the form of a series of letters written to my daughter, my ancestors, rivers in Toronto and in my ancestral village, this work draws on the Jewish literary forms of Midrash and Talmudic discourse in which the mundane and the sacred intertwine. This text weaves together personal, domestic, and historical narratives with dreams, spirit journeys, creation stories, poetry, a story I wrote when I was 8 years old, metaphysical time travel, Jewish mysticism, and a series of interdisciplinary artworks.  
Using textiles, embroidery patterns and knitting as text, these pieces tell stories about birth, death, exile, diaspora, motherhood, and the creation of personal rituals to recover from ancestral trauma, colonial violence, patriarchal narratives, and disembodiment. 
The Sephardi women in the Ottoman empire from whom I descend on my matrilineal line, offer a model for resistance, innovation, and resilience in the face of adversity and oppression from within their own diasporic patriarchal communities. From within the confines of the domestic sphere and despite restrictions which barred them from learning to read, learning sacred language and accessing the public realms, these women invented rituals, original prayer compositions, developed folk healing methods and expressed themselves through singing Judeo-Spanish folk songs and the creation of textiles and embroidery.  
Inspired by their example, my research claims agency to re-interpret and adapt Jewish ritual, tapping into its hidden mystical, embodied, and shamanic roots, to address contemporary questions and personal narratives that need healing.  
The domestic and cyclical methodology and critical framework of my work emerged out of the restrictions I experienced as a new mother during the COVID 19 pandemic working primarily in fragments of time while my daughter was napping. The construction of embroidered and knit garments were inspired by a methodology called “Wandering Textiles,” a term coined by scholar Mikal Held, to describe the process used by Sephardi women in which they created ceremonial textiles by repurposing and stitching together remnants of domestic fabrics such as pillows, bedspreads, and clothing.  
This research makes use of the concept of Tikkun Olam, which translates from Hebrew as “to repair the world” as the basis for a research methodology rooted in healing ancestral trauma through creative practice. Through the interdisciplinary combination of knitting, embroidery, walking, relationship building with rivers, singing, dreaming, performance and video editing, this work images into being metaphysical time travel in which tikkun (healing) across multiple time frames and spaces is possible, while considering what kind of stories are worth transmitting to the next generation.

Date: March 2022
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sephardic Diaspora, Textiles, Jewish Mysticism, feminist, decolonize methodologies, dreamwork, healing, Tikkun Olam, Rituals
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design
Date Deposited: 04 May 2022 01:01
Last Modified: 04 May 2022 01:01
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/3610

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