Gail Tremblay Needs Your Help

If you know Gail, you know how generous and loving she is. You may know her as a nurturing teacher, a supportive colleague, or maybe you know her varied forms of work. And there is so much great work--her scholarly essays, her poetry, and her powerful art work.

If you know Gail, you also know that she is constantly battling health issues, and pain is a persistent companion.

She urgently needs your help in raising funds for an urgent medical procedure. Below is a description of her current medical situation. Following that are images and information on art works that she is selling in order to raise the needed funds.

Send your payments and/or donations to:

Gail Tremblay
1625 Division St SW,
Olympia, WA 98502

You can also consider donating airline mileage.

To contact Gail, you can e-mail her at


Medical Condition:

Gail Tremblay has Stage 2 Lipedema with secondary Lymphedema. Lipedema is a disease that causes a person to store fat from the waist down and, unlike simple obesity, it does not respond to simply dieting. A person with this disease will lose weight in their upper body, but will not lose weight in the parts of their body affected by this syndrome. As a person gets older, the disease is complicated by problems in the lymph system that causes the cells in the legs to retain large amounts of fluid. In Gail's case this process was made worse by the fact that she had cancer that required her to have a complete hysterectomy as well as removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes and dissection of her pelvic lymph nodes to make sure that the cancer hadn't spread.

Gail's health problems have caused her to become severely disabled and in constant pain, and she has been struggling for several years to get treatment. She has been referred to a plastic surgeon and the Lymphedema Clinic at Providence St. Peters Hospital, and she has been denied coverage for treatment by Group Health Cooperative, the HMO to which she belongs. She was told by the staff at the Lymphedema Clinic to contact the Foeldi Clinic in Hinterzarten, Germany because it was impossible to find insurance in the United States to pay for the four or more weeks of hospitalization required to do Compression and the Complete Drainage Therapy required to mobilize the lymphedema fluid and reduce the volume of her legs as far as possible before debulking surgery can be done. She was told that such treatment in the United States would cost more that $30,000 a week even without the cost of surgery, while in Germanythe cost would be between Euros 10,000 and 15,000, or between $12,400 and $18,6000 for four weeks of treatment depending on the rate of exchange.

Gail has managed to send the clinic 4,000 Euros so she can get on the treatment schedule, and they have scheduled her for treatment on October 5, 2010. Gail has to give them the rest of the money to pay for treatment when she enters the clinic. She also needs to pay for airfare to Zurich, the closest airport to Hinterzarten.

Because of her disability, Gail has had to pay caregivers so she can continue to function and work as a professor, an artist, and a writer. Over the past three years, that has completely depleted her savings, so she is trying to raise funds because she needs treatment immediately if she is to continue to function and do her work.

She has several valuable artworks that have shown nationally that she is trying to sell in order to raise money, and friends are trying to help her to raise funds. She has written to the Allen Family Foundation, The Gates Foundation, and the Pollock/Krasner Foundation to try to raise money and the Allen and Gates Foundations have written saying that they do not fund individual cases like hers. She has had all her medical records sent to the Foeldi Clinic, and Dr. E. Foeldi has written that she is able and willing to treat her if she can raise the funds and has outlined what needs to be done.

Works for Sale:


Exploding Star, 1990, metal on on wood, 54" x 54" x 5". $10,000

Exploding Star is one in a series of works that reflect the glitter of this industrial world -- how many materials we've ripped from the Earth who sustains our lives, so we can create a kind of glamour that allows us to hide from a simple fact -- Earth, the Stars, especially our elder brother, Sun, make life possible and are themselves living. Their coming into being and movement away from their current forms is a lesson about change, growth, death and making new life possible. There is an irony in the draining of the Earth of its dark slick oil, chemicals and metals in order to create these illusions of beauty as though we can use the resources of our mother to capture what is always changing and ephemeral. By making images to help us reflect on cosmic change which use such materials, I attempt to mirror 21st Century American culture, its glamour, decadence, draining of the Earth. I want to comment on it and remind people of the nature of the universe that informs our lives and makes this moment possible, to remind future generations that for a time many humans left this path of living in a way that supports life, the life of the Earth who sustains plants, animals, and humans.

This piece has is one of three pieces that I made for the Heard Museum Fifth Biennial of Contemporary Native American Art, and it has shown in the Women Only in their Studios touring exhibit that Eleanor Flomenhaft curated that had works by Jennifer Bartlett, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Camille Billops, Elizabeth Catlett, Linda Freeman, Ann Hamilton, Grace Hartigan, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Elizabeth Murray, Howardena Pindell, Laurie Simmons, Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Joan Snyder, Pat Steir, Gail Tremblay, Jackie Winsor, and Flo Oy Wong. It also showed at the Native American group show at the Chelsea Museum last February.


Artist Statement for the Woven Paper Pieces:

This suite of work is done in homage to indigenous weaving traditions in the Americas, but it also explores paper as a medium. Sections of these works are woven using strips of paper as warps and wefts , sections are woven through slits that are cut directly in the paper, and the weaving both uses and masks these small wounds in the paper that replace the use of warps and allow for areas of fancy stitches like those used in Iroquois and Wabanaki basketry so the weaving takes on different heights and dimensions.

In creating this series, I was inspired not just by the Haudenosaunee and MicMac techniques I grew up with, but the patterns used indigenous weaving traditions in the Americas as well as a variety of techniques for plaiting baskets that are used in various regions of the country. By taking and altering this work to make it work in paper, I have tried to meditate on the way American Indian artists have used abstract designs to express symbolic meaning as part of the fabric of our lives.

(The following prices include frames.)

Weaving the Night Sky, 2005, 3' x 4', Arches black and white cover stock and Strathmore Red and gold and silver Japanese. $4,000


Blanket Dance, 2005, 3' x 4', Arches black and white cover stock and Strathmore Red and gold and silver Japanese.
(Availalbe through the Stonington Gallery, Seattle.)

A Gift of Diamonds, 2005, 3' x 4', Arches black and white cover stock and Strathmore Red and gold and silver Japanese. $4,000

Setting Ourselves Right with the Universe, 2005, 30" x 22",
Arches black and white cover stock and Strathmore Red and gold and silver Japanese. $1,000

Heavenly Body, 2005, 2' x 3', Arches black and white cover stock and Strathmore Red and gold and silver Japanese.
(Availalbe through the Stonington Gallery, Seattle.)

Pieces from her well-known series of film baskets, such as:

Indian Princess in a White Dress, 2006, 9 x 7 x 7, 16 mm film, metallic braid.

This work is currently including in the exhibit, Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit, curated by Rickie Solinger, and traveling throughout the United States until April 2012.

are available at the Froelick Gallery.