Mending by Hazel Hall
Terry Ann Carter introduced Melhorn-Boe to the writing of 20th-century poet, Hazel Hall. From the age of 12, Hall was bound to a wheelchair and spent most of her life in an upstairs room in her family's home in Portland, Oregon. Alongside poetry, Hall was a talented seamstress and fabric artist. Hall found deep meaning in imamate objects, often perceiving them as an extension of herself. Reading Hall’s poems stirred Melhorn-Boe to expand this series beyond the work of Lorna Crozier. Melhorn-Boe reached out to women in the Organization of Kingston Women Artists (OKWA), requesting old clothing that needed mending, and received an enthusiastic response. The copy of Mending on display in this exhibition has, as covers, pants belonging to Sharon Wightman, a graduate of the Queen’s University art conservation program and former volunteer at the Queen’s University Archives. The notion evoked in Hall’s poem, of “strengthening old utility, pending the coming of the new,” is realized in form in Melhorn-Boe's re-working and re-purposing of discarded garments, and in how she has stitched together the lived experiences of several women.