28 November 2012

Member Profile - Linda Strowbridge (Baltimore, MD)

There’s an old saying about analyzing art that goes, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

I stitch about architecture, which is probably an equally absurd, but intriguing, challenge.

My interest in the environments we build for ourselves has been fueled by growing up in Newfoundland and later moving to Nova Scotia, Ontario, Chicago and Baltimore. A few years ago, I started making art quilts that explore architectural themes - the striking graphics of built environments, the beauty of decaying buildings, the ways that building styles reflect the energy and attitudes of the people using them, and the ongoing tug between nature and architecture.

I have never attended art school, so this activity also involves an endlessly fascinating (and often frustrating) quest to better comprehend the interplay of colors, the fundamentals of good composition, the impact of adding texture to cloth, and how all of those elements combine and influence the effectiveness of a piece of textile art.

The Hapless Super's Tenement House
44 x 26 inches

13 November 2012

SAQA/SDA 2012 Conference - Philadelphia

by Laurie Swim

Shortly after moving to Nova Scotia from downtown Toronto to Blue Rocks in 2004, I felt the need to join SAQA to broaden my horizons and observe the rising tide of interest in fibre art in general and specifically quilt art which has been my creative pursuit with my art making since the early seventies.

I have only attended one other SAQA conference and it was in 2005 in Athens, Ohio shortly after joining. SAQA conferences took place then in Athens annually and still do to coincide with the opening of Quilt National at the Dairy Barn in which many SAQA members participate.

As well as seeing and meeting many of the well known quilters in the field, one of the most important things I came away with is when I sat in on a  round table discussion with Jane Sauer, then manager of Thirteen Moons Gallery, now owner of The Jane Sauer Gallery in Sante Fe. At that time, I had just attained representation by del Mano Fine Craft Gallery in Los Angeles and my husband and I were about to open our own establishment, The Art Quilt Gallery of the Atlantic here in Lunenburg, NS. I was wearing two hats and it was very interesting to me to hear Jane speak to why loyalty to your gallery is important not only to the gallery’s existence but also ethically to the reputation and promotion of the artist.

After the conference, I volunteered to represent SAQA in the Atlantic region and due to the fact that the one Canadian rep wanted to retire, I took over as the Canada wide rep, not exactly my comfort zone and I was able to split off that responsibility to the able hands of Karen Goetzinger in central Canada and Anna Hergart in the West. Since my retirement from that mantle, I have not only seen the Atlantic region membership grow but the rise of the interest of other individual artists in the art quilt in our area.

This past March, with the assistance of a professional development grant from the Dept. of Nova Scotia Communities, Culture and Heritage, I was able to attend the Studio Art Quilt Associates/ Surface Design Association Conference in Philadelphia, March 29 - April 1, 2012.

The conference was all and more than expected - a very satisfying and successful experience. From the very start, serendipity was on my side. First of all, the direct flight from Halifax to Philadelphia was a big plus. In today’s travel, catching connecter flights is a growing hassle. After arrival in the Philadelphia airport I located the info desk for the shuttle to the conference hotel and there was one other person waiting. It turned out to be Marianne R. Williamson from Florida.

Marianne comes from a painting background like I do and she approaches her work as if she is painting in fabric. This is not to be confused with painting on fabric because that is not what she does. I later got a chance to see her work during the conference in the prestigious Art Quilt Elements show and observe her textural stitch technique. I found it inspiring and have since explored it in my own work.  Coincidently, Marianne was the last person I spoke with on the last day of the conference as well.

Over the weekend, I met many of the 250 members of the two associations participating in attendance and to my pleasant surprise many of them knew of my art. Since the conference was scheduled at the same time as the Fiber Philadelphia Festival, participants attended the opening of Art Quilt Elements, an important showcase of textile art from around the world at the Wayne Art Center. An acquaintance, Mary Pal from Ottawa, was awarded an Honourable Mention for her work portraying Jane Goodall. Anyone interested in portraiture in fibre should Google her work. Mary is also now on the board of SAQA.

On Saturday, there were shuttles arranged to take us to the different fibre shows in downtown Philly. One of these was the Snyderman-Works Gallery, a very well known and long standing fibre art institution, one in which I wish I was represented but I fear my work is not ‘edgy’ enough for them. There were other galleries and shows featuring fibre works in the same district. At the Liao Collections, I was able to view the woven work of my old friend and fellow Nova Scotian, Sandra Brownlee. I also took in the show Outside/Inside the Box and studios at the Crane Arts Bldg.

During the conference, I met Marcia Young, Editor in Chief of Fiber Art Now Magazine based in East Freetown, MA. I gave her the catalog from my 2010 show at the Mary E Black Gallery and invited her to visit Nova Scotia to see the varied artists working in fibre here.

Both the Opening and Closing Keynote speakers were very informative, Bruce Pepich, Exec. Director and Curator of Collections at the Racine Art Museum spoke about museums and contemporary fiber art collections; Bruce Hoffman, an independent curator and writer spoke about the Venice Biennale and that there appears to be more focus on fibre art than there has been in the past. This is very good news for both us as artists and confirming to collectors of our art form.

My last afternoon at the conference was spent sitting in on a critique session with Sandra Sider, art history professor, studio quilt artist, curator, critic and the present President of SAQA. She had critiqued a piece of my own work in 2009 on line and it was of interest to me to see her in action with others. Earlier the same day, she had pulled me up along with three others from the audience to role play for her lecture on how to respond to situations when asked, “And what do you do?” My role was as an artist at an exhibit of my work being asked why a piece of the same size as another in the show was priced higher.  I responded that my husband did the pricing and she would have to speak to him about it. That brought the house down.

Next year’s conference is in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a place I long to see, as it is where many galleries, particularly those of the Fine Craft nature are located. I am looking at the possibility of attending. Anyone interested in accompanying me? It promises to be an exhilarating experience!

02 November 2012

Atlantic Canadians in Portfolio 19

Work by two members of the Atlantic region appears in SAQA's Portfolio 19. Regina Marzlin's abstract 'Stepping Stones' and Teri Springer's ROOTED landscape 'Bitter Harvest' are among the 246 art quilt pieces featured in this collection which documents the art quilt movement. SAQA Portfolios give Professional Artist Members the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience of collectors and designers.

01 November 2012

News - Laurie Swim (Lunenburg, NS)

from Laurie

Alas, I was not awarded the Portia White prize on Friday at the Creative Nova Scotia Gala in the Brewery Market in Halifax. The winner, Thom Fitzgerald, is an award winning film maker with work shown at Sundance. Pretty stiff competition for a quilt artist. It is still an honour to be on the short list for such a prestigious prize and there is always next year. Thanks to those who were supportive and sent me notes of encouragement.

For those who are in Halifax this week, please drop by Zwickers Gallery on Doyle Street near the old Library on Spring Garden to see an exhibit of my work, some old, some new. This is the first time my work has been displayed in a traditional Fine Art establishment. Ian and Kim did a wonderful job of putting it all together. The show comes down on Saturday, November 3.  Also, you can see and purchase the newly released soft cover version of my book, Rags to Riches. Great price at $16.95.

25 October 2012

Anna Quilts

Anna Davison writes a regular column for an on-line magazine aimed at seniors.  Her subject is always quilts and quilting.  In the latest issue she introduces her readers to some new-to-her techniques with great accompanying photos.  Check out the archives of her contributions to see other references to art quilting.

Articles like this are a great way to get out the word about less traditional ways to think about fabric and sewing.  

24 October 2012

Why Join SAQA?

by Heather Loney

For years I have been (and still am) a traditional quilter – bed quilts & wall quilts for weddings, births, graduations, anniversaries and for charity. Years ago I went to a Quilt Canada show in Ottawa and, as much as I enjoyed the traditional quilts, it was the art quilts that really caught my eye. I tried a few ideas and bought a few magazines but never really embraced the concepts as much as I would have liked.

In the fall of 2011, I saw a SAQA mini trunk show at a Mayflower Quilt Guild retreat - saw some ideas I would really like to try and a few others that weren’t quite my style. And I thought... there is a local Maritime group; why not give it a try. I met a wonderful group of women of all experience levels who allowed me to look at their work up close and explained how they achieved certain techniques.I also had the opportunity to show (and sell) an art quilt in a local show later in the year.

At the time of my one year renewal for SAQA, I considered whether or not I should rejoin. What I got from SAQA was a few journals and many emails about upcoming shows (the majority in the US) in which I was unlikely to participate. I was able to view their website and see awesome works of art without being a member. I tend to use another quilting arts magazine more than I use the SAQA journal. So, why rejoin?

I belong to an informal quilting bee, and even though I can make all my quilts at home on my own, I realized that I would not want to give up this group. I enjoy the social atmosphere; I like the tips and hints that fellow quilters give; I like the fact that we teach each other and share our quilting ideas; I like the fact, that in spite of quilting for more than 30 years, there is still something new to learn.

And so it is with SAQA Atlantic Canada – here is a group of people who share a common interest, who are willing to show and explain their work and artistic talents and who use a variety of methods and material to create some awesome art quilts. I love the fact that the meetings are held in various art quilters’ homes and that you have a chance to see what inspires the hostess and see how her work has evolved when looking at the works of art hung throughout the house. I like the “show and share” times where you are given recognition for what you have completed and helpful hints if you have questions or difficulties. I have picked up ideas that I have repurposed for my style. I have taken ideas and gone off on a tangent with them. Most of all, I have enjoyed the friendly social group atmosphere of art quilters, from the beginners to the remarkably experienced.

There may be other opportunities out there, but for now, this fits my needs. I am continuing to be a member of SAQA Atlantic Canada.

18 October 2012

News - Laurie Swim (Lunenburg, NS)

from Laurie

Just in - I have been shortlisted for the Portia White Prize. The final choice will be made at the Creative Nova Scotia Gala in Halifax on Friday, October 26. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Also, check out the interview I did on Haligonia.ca for the upcoming show at Zwickers Gallery. Hope to see everyone there this Friday (October 19).

added by Chris
Congratulations, Laurie! For those of you unfamiliar with the Portia White Prize you can read more here.  And here is a list of past recipients.

Call for Entry - Regional Trunk Show

At our last regional meeting we had a long discussion about ways to promote SAQA and to attract new members. Many of us were able to see a selection from SAQA's This is a Quilt trunk show in the summer/fall of 2011. We thought that something similar with work entirely by Atlantic Canadians would be a fantastic tool for us to use when we speak to groups about SAQA. Anna Davison and Susan Tilsley Manley volunteered to shepherd this concept. Here is a note from Susan with more details. I hope you will all get to work on your piece for the collection.

from Susan Tilsley Manley

SAQA Atlantic's Own Trunk Show

We’re putting together our own traveling trunk show. The idea is that we showcase our different styles and techniques in a way that is accessible to many people for a reasonable amount of money.  There is nothing like seeing the real thing. So we’re proposing that each member of SAQA Atlantic Canada create an 8 ½” x 8 ½” square art quilt sandwich that is representative of your work, unbound, that we’ll sandwich between foam core and a square mat. Each piece will have the artist’s statement on the back and the whole thing will be packaged in a clear plastic bag for easy handling and safety of the work. The collection will be available for any member to use as a promotional tool for SAQA Atlantic. Hopefully the trunk show will travel all around the Maritimes to guilds, workshops, shows or tea with friends.

Submissions need to be8 ½” x 8 ½” art quilt sandwich (unbound), accompanied by an artist’s statement (telling in ONE page; name, address, title of piece, date, materials, techniques and a description of you and/or your work.)

Send to:

Susan Tilsley Manley
Westville, NS
B0K 2A0

DeadlineFebruary, 28, 2013

Please include $5.00 in cash or by cheque made out to Anna Davison. This will pay for the supplies required to display and protect your work.

Also, email a copy of your artist’s statement to Susan at artfarm@seasidehighspeed.com.

I look forward to seeing all your beautiful creations.

First meeting of the Fiber Arts Bee (FAB)

from Karen Henry

The first meeting of the Fiber Art Bee (FAB) was held on Monday, October 15 at Atlantic Fabrics in Dartmouth, NS. The group is a mix of SAQA members and a few friends that are intermediate and advanced quilters who would like to share their knowledge with one another. These monthly gatherings will evolve into a forum for discussion of how effects are achieved through various techniques, critique sessions and show and share. On October 15, Susan Tilsley Manley of Durham, NS demonstrated how to make a small silkscreen, of everyday materials, that is portable and easily stowed away. Several members brought items to share with us, a few brought items they felt needed some creative collaboration, and others brought their own project to work on. Twelve fiber artists participated in this initial meeting and we hope to have a few more at the next session! Look for an update in November.

FAB silk screens
Susan Tilsley Manley workshop demo pieces

14 October 2012

Thoughts on the New Blog

By Hélène Blanchet

My husband and I left our home province of Nova Scotia almost a year ago now to seek our retirement income in Calgary. We’ll be back of course, but as CFAs (Come-From-Away’s) to Alberta we’re eager to explore all that this big Western landscape has to offer while we’re here.  For me, that means seeking out all things fibre-related.

When I first arrived in Calgary, I googled all of the fibre arts sites I could think of and eventually landed on the Fibre Arts Network (FAN) website. The first thing that caught my eye was the very impressive artwork. I was familiar with some of the artists’ work and very keen to get to know the others. I thought I’d like to be part of such a group. So I joined. That, of course, gave me access to the more personal community, the members, and their wonderful online newsletter. It was through this online newsletter that I was able to take part in the on-going “From Away” show that was showcased at this year’s NJS, as well as the current traveling exhibit “Waterworks”. I’ve been working full-time so haven’t had a chance to meet many of the FAN members, but to my great delight I did meet several of these fine ladies when I attended workshops during this year’s NJS. And what a hoot that was!

So likewise, I am very excited about the new SAQA Atlantic blog. As a temporarily deposed Maritimer, I can see that this blog will be a valuable resource for me - allowing me to stay in the loop with all things fibre in Atlantic Canada, to meet new and old members in a cyber-kind-of-way, and to keep up-to-date with opportunities in the East. But the blog can really be more than that. To me, I see it as having the potential to be the face of SAQA Atlantic; reaching members across the country and beyond, some of whom we may only get to know through this forum, and it too may serve a vital part of this community of fibre artists. Also, those of us who are members-from-away may be able to provide extended venues for exhibiting our work in parts outside of the Maritimes. An extended link if you will.

I have yet to meet many of you face to face; but, already I feel part of something special. Simply by reading a blog. Kudos to you, Chris, and all of the contributing members. To me this blog is the public face of our group and the impression I am left with is one of a vibrant, intelligent, dynamic bunch of fibre artists who are as excited about their peers’ work as their own, generous with their knowledge, their time and energy, and truly excited about getting the word out about this form of art. This is the face we put forward with this little blog. Clearly, many of us believe it’s well worth the effort. Well done!


News - Hélène Blanchet (Calgary, AB)

Hélène Blanchet’s On Oyster Pond was awarded a 2nd place ribbon at the Pacific West Quilt Show this summer and went on to be juried into the La Conner Quilt Festival in October. It was also juried into the NJS show in Halifax this spring.

On Oyster Pond

13 October 2012

Member Profile - Sandra Betts (Saint John, NB)

Sandra attended Nova Scotia College Art & Design (NSCAD) as a young student, enjoyed a career as a registered nurse, then married and relocated to Saint John, NB. After retiring in 1998 her life-long interest in the possibilities of working with fiber became a full-time occupation.

Sandra creates one-of-a-kind items from original designs. She specializes in hand-dyed fabrics embellished with embroidery and free motion thread painting. She creates stitched fiber art works that are composed of mainly fabric, threads, beads and yarns but also include many non-textile media. Her work includes landscapes, seascapes, abstracts and portraits. She teaches within and outside her province and in the United States.

My Fundy Shores

Member Profile - Susan Tilsley Manley (Durham, NS)detail

My bio is dry, oh I'm starting to fret.
My bio's not juicy, it's not even wet.
My bio's like toast, the desert or sand.
My bio needs help from some other's hand.
I've said the same stuff now for near 20 years.
My bio's so dry, oh it bores ME to tears.
A daughter, a mother, a wife, an artiste.
I'l travelled around, but come home to the East.
My life in under one hundred words,...
This precis process is good for the birds.
So, look at my work, and I'm sure you'll agree,
My bio's inside it. Yeah, that's the real me.

detail from work in progress
Self Portrait for Map of the World

12 October 2012

News - Laurie Swim (Lunenburg, NS)

Laurie Swim will have a solo show of her work at Zwickers Gallery in Halifax, NS from October 19 -27, 2012.  The opening reception is on Friday, October 19 from 5 - 7 pm.  She will use this event to launch the paperback edition of her lovely book Rags to Riches, The Quilt as Art.

Check out Laurie's website for additional details.

Member Profile - Karen Henry (Dartmouth, NS)

My body of work is largely representational pieces of family, friends, animals (not to be confused with friends or family) and scenery from home and travel. I love to try different techniques with each project, keeping everything fresh, interesting and new to me. I love bold bright colors, although my work is not necessarily dominated by them. Currently my pieces are beginning to evolve into more abstract concepts layered with more common images.

My quilts have been accepted into many quilt shows including the Quilt National in Waterloo, and National Juried Shows at Quilt Canada. I have won several prizes for my quilts and my Trend Tex Challenges, and became the Canadian Quilter's Association teacher of the year in 2008.

Bound - Karen Henry
2012, 35.5 x 12 inches

News - Nancy Elaschuk (Moncton, NB)

Nancy Elaschuk's Fundy Mermaid was awarded 1st place in Modern Wallhangings at the Quispamsis, NB show.  It was also juried into the AQS Lancaster show this spring after winning Best of Show and 1st place art quilt at the Greater Moncton Quilt Guild show last fall.

Fundy Mermaid - Nancy Elaschuk

On the Wall - Chris Nielsen (St. Margaret's Bay, NS)

I thought that it would be fun if we each gave some insight into what's happening in our studio right now.  Here's my contribution.

What do you think?  Is it still art when it took an assembly line to make 66 similar pieces?

For the last fifteen years my mother has written a poem and sent it to her friends as a gift around the time of the winter solstice.  For the last few years I have been involved with the design and production of the card which contains the poem.  My knowledge of Photoshop and my patience with fiddly sewing, along with other skills, have come in handy.  Last year I did monoprints on paper, then cropped and copied a section to create a background onto which I placed a stylized image from a photo I had taken and, as the last step, embellished each card with three teensy drops of gold paint.  At a party for my mother's 80th birthday her friends told her that they had kept all of the cards and that some were on permanent display in their homes.

Each year she waits for a cold snap which brings her muse.  In late July I received an email with the poem for this year.

In A Box Labeled "Things To Save"

A dandelion.  The first violet.
A January thaw, sun through
the kitchen window in March,
watercolor hillside in bud.

Things homely and tattered,
young beans spreading their wings,
soft beeches of summer and
the cloud mountains of August.

Layers: leaf and flower, a stone,
fireflies, a scribble of bark.
A rainbow.  Rich rugged browns
of November, a percussion
of wind and dry leaf.

Days pressed between pages of books,
empty pots, the fragrance of clematis.
A calendar covered with yes and with no.
A capella voices, joys, old hymns.
The old woman singing fair, fair,
fair is the morning.

All this -- spilled ink and scraps
of paper, promises written in the language
of birds, things saved for a day like this,
for December.

I unpack the box, find a green crayon
and draw a horizon, green meadow, green trees,
reach as high as I can and hang the dandelion,
hang it high overhead in the sky.

 Nancy L. Nielsen, 2012

My mind instantly saw a window card which framed a small piece of fibre art.  After a month of fitful experimentation I settled on a design that made me happy and which was amenable to mass production.  I am in the throes of that production right now and will be finished in a week or so.  Then a friend and I will head off to my mother's place in Maine where we will hand sew the poem (printed on 7 pages) into each card.  I'll share a photo of the finished product when we return.

05 October 2012

Call for Entry Summary

There's no good way to present all of the information contained in the many calls for entry that I post.  Even extracts of the information become unwieldy and difficult to locate on the new Calls for Entry page.

Every so often I will summarize the information and post the most important details here in table format.  Please make sure to consult the Calls for Entry page and to check the links to read all of the 'fine print' and to confirm eligibility and deadlines.

Show dates
Radical Elements
SAQA members
Oct. 31, 2012
2013 - 2016
SAQA members (with exceptions)
Nov. 30, 2012
June - Sept. 2013
Ad Maiora Canada
Dec. 7, 2012
March 3 - 26, 2013
Art Hits the Wall
Maritime Canadians
December 2012
see link
Metaphors on Aging
SAQA members
Jan. 31, 2013
August 2013 through 2015
Text Messages
SAQA members
Feb. 28, 2013
Oct. 2013 - July 2014

04 October 2012

Member Profile - Kate Madeloso (Wolfville, NS)

Kate is a native Calgarian who lived in Europe for five years before settling in Nova Scotia in 2007. A retired graphic designer with a postgraduate certificate in Surface Design, she works now in mixed media experimenting with a variety of styles that are full of texture and color.

Her unique textile art has won several awards in exhibitions across Canada. Contemporary hand embroidery is a signature style she incorporates in most of her work. Among her many creative passions are felt making, learned in England, mosaics and stone carving learned in Cyprus, and rug hooking learned in Nova Scotia.

Mobius Waltz - 37" x 37"
hand painted and printed, commercial cotton fabrics, applique. hand and machine embroidery, various threads, fibres
Won 2nd Place, Excellence in Abstract Wallquilt, National Juried Show, Quilt Canada, Ontario 2011

Fresh Start

We are making a fresh start with the SAQA- Atlantic Canada blog. We hope that it can become a useful tool for information exchange and communication within the region and with interested people around the world. Anything related to your activities as an art quilter are fodder for the blog. Please send announcements, photos and brags for me to publish. In addition, feel free to write longer pieces - tutorials, book reviews, reports on classes you have taken and personal reflections. The Submit button at the top of this page will open an email to me - just cut and paste your material and hit Send. I will look after the rest.

Kate Madeloso made a great suggestion that we publish a short bio and a picture of each member's work. I'd love to feature each of those as a separate post and then collect all of them on a tab at the top of this page. I am sure that visitors to the blog would enjoy scrolling through that info if it was all in one place. Who wants to start by sending me a 100 word bio/artist statement and one photo of her work? Please include the title, date of creation and size (h x w) of the artwork.