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.