21 December 2013

What’s on your wall? Susan Tilsley Manley, Westville, Nova Scotia

Susan says: 

"Here is a photo of my design wall. It is growing thicker as I get more rust pieces printed. It is nearly time to begin assembling the parts. I am beginning to dream in brown.”

17 December 2013

Current Work - Lois Bowden, Port Williams, Nova Scotia

Living in the country, Lois is always inspired by the light across the day and tries to capture the moment it has highlighted. She likes layering with fabric textures and different fibers to bring around that flash of emotion or awareness. Lois had started with a more representational approach, but finds she is increasingly drawn to a more abstract view. 

As well as printing her photographs on fabric and using them in her work, Lois also uses her own sunprinted and hand dyed fabric pieces. Here she shows us a selection which she reports have been really fun to create and often totally unpredictable in their results.

09 December 2013

Current Work - Anna Davison, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

Anna has created this beautiful, colorful quilt for her grand-daughter, three year old Ofa whom she says is, 'such a princess!’

Lucky Ofa!!

05 December 2013

What’s on your wall? Karen Miller, Liverpool, Nova Scotia

This is a piece Karen recently completed, as yet unnamed, but of Luna Moths. Although this piece is complete on its own, her intent is to create two more similar pieces.

02 December 2013

Current Work - Grace Butland, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

Last Leaves
Fall days find me picking up leaves, bringing them home and pressing them between sheets of wax paper to preserve the colour and postpone their inevitable disintegration. Some of the shapes eventually make their way into art quilts, as in these photos.
Last Leaves is an older piece made of pieced, hand painted black silk noil; the birch in the forefront is white silk noil with machine stitching; the appliqued leaves are cotton.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with different methods of painting fabrics with acrylics and have now amassed a number of small pieces (about 12 in. x 12 in.) created with no particular purpose in mind. I am now working on a series of small quilts using some of these fabrics. While walking a new route one day, I realized I was stepping on gingko leaves and had to pick up a few to add to my collection and thus the small piece, Gingko, was born. The base in a muslin painted with acrylics; the prominent appliqued leaves are cotton, the less prominent ones polyester organza. The piece is machine stitched with a bit of hand beading added.

Gingko detail

29 November 2013

Cover girl - Regina Marzlin, Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Regina Marzlin’s piece, “Autumn Colours” can be seen on the new fall 2013 edition of the Antigonish  Review. This is the first time Regina's art has been chosen as a cover for a magazine.
The Antigonish Review is a quarterly literary journal published by St. Francis Xavier University. The Review features poetry, fiction, reviews and critical articles from all parts of Canada, the US and overseas. A number of well-known authors such as Wayne Johnston, David Adams Richards, Carol Shields and Leo MacKay have contributed to this publication.  

The fall colours featured in the artwork are a great choice for the fall edition. Congratulations, Regina!

26 November 2013

Fibre Arts Bee opens first show (Nova Scotia)

Members of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Bee opened their first show last Friday night. Textile art pieces which interpret the theme 'Provocative' are hung in a new cafe/gallery just outside of Wolfville, NS. SAQA members in the show include Lois Bowden, Kate Madeloso, Susan Tilsley Manley, Regina Marzlin, Linda Mills, Chris Nielsen and Debbie Vermeulen. The show will be up until mid-January so if your travels take you to that area during the holiday season please stop in for a snack and some interesting viewing.

From left to right, work by Debbie Vermeulen, Susan Tilsley Manley, Lois Bowden and Linda Mills

24 November 2013

Current Work - Jennifer Scantlebury Vienneau, Moncton, New Brunswick

Approximately 45 x 72 

This is a collaborative piece made with my son, Gabriel. I enlarged Gabriel’s design using my overhead projector, traced the design onto Steam-a-Seam, adhered that to Kona cotton, cut the pieces out, laid them out on the background using a pounced pattern, fused them to the background of black double dip cotton (not easy because twice the dye makes adherence difficult), sewed each piece to the background and then quilted around each piece on my longarm. After quilting evenly spaced rows across the width, I buried all the threads individually. Gabriel is an Accounting Manager and this piece hangs in his home in Toronto.

18 November 2013

2013 Portia White and Portia White Protégé Awards - Laurie Swim and Hangama Amiri, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

On October 25th Laurie Swim received the prestigious Portia White Prize which recognizes cultural and artistic excellence. In conjunction with receiving this award, Laurie was honoured with selecting Hangama Amiri as the recipient of the 2013 Portia White Protégé Award. 
Hangama Amiri, Tony Ince and Laurie Swim
Hangama Amiri graduated from NSCAD in 2012 with a major in painting. She spent a year  in Lunenburg with the NSCAD residency program and has chosen to stay on in the community. The Swims were so impressed by her work that they gave her a solo show this past spring in their gallery and said awarding Hangama the Protégé portion ($7000) of the Portia White Prize seemed a natural selection. Hangama is an Afghani refugee as well as a feminine activist for women's rights in Afghan.

Tony Ince, the newly appointed Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage for Nova Scotia had only been in office for four days when this event, the 2103 Creative Nova Scotia Gala took place.

13 November 2013

Member Profile - Fiona Oxford, Waverley, Nova Scotia

Fiona began quilting in 1995. She started with baby quilts and practiced appliqué. She began taking workshops and classes and attended three Mayflower Quilter's Retreats at the Pictou Lodge in Pictou, Nova Scotia. There she received much direction and encouragement from Valerie Hearder who inspired her love of landscapes, Joan Wolfrom who provided her with a method for looking at colours and how to use them, and Elaine Quail under whom she started free motion quilting. Fiona has found that in the fibre art community, the teachers and students are so very generous, it makes her learning a very positive experience.

Fiona is Past President and ten year member of the Nova Scotia Mayflower Guild. A member of SAQA for the last year, she is renewing for another two years and has just returned from the International Quilt Fair in Houston where she volunteered at the SAQA booth.

This year Fiona’s version of a kaleidoscope called “Lime Jewel” was accepted for the current ART HITS THE WALL. This show has enjoyed a summer of travelling around the province of Nova Scotia and is presently on display at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Yarmouth.
A quilt made for Fiona’s home

A child’s quilt, pillow case and stuffed toy made for an auction

Detail of “Lime Jewel” currently showing in Art Hits the Wall

11 November 2013

Current Stitching - Penny Berens, Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia

For the last two years, Penny Berens has been stitching journals. She records her days with thread and cloth, often referring to these marks as her "scratchings". She has created a wonderful roll of memories for 2012 as she adds bits of fabric as needed and then uses various threads to stitch her life’s events and moments. 

SAQA Atlantic Retreat attendees have been included as part of last week’s stitching on Penny’s 2013 fabric journal.

Penny explains: This is “basically my journey driving up there, all of us in a row with a couple doing yoga at each end, and my interpretation of our agenda of looking backwards at our creative lives so far and planning for the future."

08 November 2013

Quilt Hanger (Deb Plestid)

When we made our visit to Deb Plestid's studio during the retreat a number of people admired the quilt hanger in one room. Her husband made it for her and when he appeared on the scene he was asked how much it would cost to make duplicates for sale. I think he was surprised by the interest and wisely asked for time to do some calculations. I received the following note and photo yesterday. If you are interested in having a hanger made for you please contact Deb directly or email me (link in sidebar) and I will pass the message along.

Quilt Hanger

As requested by some members - David can fashion a quilt hanger for anyone who is interested. The materials plus labour would bring the cost to $150.00. So for anyone who wants one, simply contact me. Thanks, deb.

07 November 2013

Show: Articulated Materials: Bridging Waters - ReBecca Paterson, Searsville, New Brunswick


St John Arts Centre
 20 Peel Street
 Saint John, NB
November 8, 2013 – January 10, 2014

Everyone is invited to attend the official opening 
Friday, November 8 from 5 to 7 pm

SJAC is open Tuesday through Saturday 9 am to 5 pm
Free admission

Articulation, a Canadian fibre arts group has teamed up with Material Girls, a London, UK, based fibre arts group, to produce bodies of work based on the studies of and responses to their countries' iconic bodies of water: Bay of Fundy and River Thames. After a successful 2012 gallery tour in London, the exhibition is in Canada for a cross country tour. 

Articulation, a Canadian exhibiting art group working with textiles and fibre as a fine art medium, takes traditional fiber art techniques in new and contemporary directions. Since 2004 they have organised annual study sessions to unique places in Canada, which serve to unify the resulting individual bodies of work when shown in their group exhibitions across Canada.

A recent study of the Bay of Fundy coastline has generated a new path for Articulation leading to exhibiting internationally with another contemporary fiber arts group, Material Girls, based in London, England, who were inspired by their iconic River Thames. The resulting combined body of work, ARTICULATED MATERIALS: BRIDGING WATERS, consists of one 2D artwork each from ten Material Girls members and ten Articulation members. In addition, each group will have available more works to include in the exhibition while it is touring their respective country.

Material Girls is an exhibiting group of textile artists based on the borders of Essex and East London. The artists produce work using a diverse variety of textile disciplines from quilting and embroidery to felt making and mixed media. Formed in 2001, the group has exhibited regularly in the UK and is just beginning to venture into 'international waters'. website- www.the-materialgirls.co.uk

After a successful three-exhibition tour of London, UK, the work arrived back in Canada and  began its cross country tour. Starting in Winnipeg it was hung in time for the National Embroiderers’ Association of Canada’s annual May seminar.  The next stop was a gallery on Vancouver Island that looks out over another historically important body of water, the Salish Sea. The work has now travelled to the Bay of Fundy where it is exhibited in the Saint John Arts Centre, Saint John.

This exhibition offers unique perspectives on both bodies of water encapsulating the local geological, environmental and social histories. In both groups there are members who have grown up living beside their waterway, while other members have responded as first time visitors to the shoreline.  Articulation’s work reflects the experiences of  seeing rapidly eroding fossil bearing cliffs, walking on the ocean floor, and viewing the history of European settlement through distinctive architecture. Material Girls’ work explores memories of watching rowers competing, locks operating and days spent on the river’s beaches. It will remain for the viewer to make trans-Atlantic connections between places and people with long, interwoven histories.

ReBecca Paterson, a member of Articulation, has three talks booked at the Frazee Gallery: Thursday, November 14 at 12 pm, Thursday, November 28th at 12 pm and Thursday, December 12th at 12 pm.
Hand dyed, felted, stitched and beaded - ReBecca Paterson

05 November 2013

Blueberry Brie

This past weekend was the first annual SAQA Atlantic Retreat held in Debert, Nova Scotia. Seventeen members came together to share, brain storm and formulate plans, but mainly to get to know one another a little bit more. Geography keeps members of the Atlantic group somewhat isolated, so this kind of opportunity will certainly help meld our group going forward.

Our fearless leaders organized ice breakers and opportunities to share our stories, a studio tour, a presentation, visioning sessions to stretch our minds, and yoga-ish exercises to stretch our bodies. We talked, laughed, drank and ate.

Normally I take lots of photographs. This time I relied on my internal camera to record a fascinating weekend full of energy and creativity. There is one photo I did take though..
Since the plate appears to be almost licked clean, this is obviously a recipe meant to be shared. Enjoy!

Blueberry Brie

1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 T sugar (or maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar)
1/2 T cornstarch
2 T vinegar (balsamic, white, red wine or red vinegar)

Stir together and cook in microwave for two minutes. Stir and taste.

Warm brie in oven or microwave till gooey.
Chop toasted almonds or hazelnuts and sprinkle half on cheese.
Pour blueberry sauce on cheese,
Top with remaining chopped nuts.

31 October 2013

Sue Anonymous Series - Lois Wilby Hooper, Moore’s Mills, New Brunswick

Lois Wilby-Hooper is the artist and creator of Sue Anonymous Series which tells the story of woman abuse through a four panel quilt display. Lois remarked that although it has been some time since she created this series, sadly it is still very relevant.

Depicting violence and abuse against women, this series has been on semi-permanent loan to the Muriel McQueen Ferguson Foundation for research in the prevention of domestic violence, both as a display and as a teaching tool in Fredericton, NBThe quilts have had considerable impact on viewers and have provided the opportunity for expressing emotions about family violence. It has opened new channels of communication amongst members of communities and assisted in reaching and empowering people.

Sunbonnet Sue is a quilt pattern instantly recognizable to everyone and she became the symbol for "Everywoman" when Lois started wondering why her face was never shown. 

Don't Make Waves
From her studies in historic costume,  Lois came to realize that women had the odds weighted against them from time immemorial. Hampered by clothing that stressed their subservience, economics and customs which restrained their freedom, and attitudes which actively suppressed any expression of independence, women have had a long struggle which could be summarized as "sit down, shut up, and don't make waves". Sue struggles through the waves with no sight of land, holding up an arm in a mute plea for help.

Down and Down
Everyone has dreamed of falling endlessly into a void, that stomach-churning sensation of vertigo. The environment of mental abuse leaves no visible blemish, but the psychological scars have a life-long effect. From an indistinct grey area, Sue tumbles headfirst into a downward spiral, which becomes darker and darker as she falls. The quilted spiral shape reinforces her rapid descent and suggests the tornado of emotions she experiences. The subtle greys imply the insidious effect of mental abuse, from barely recognizable beginnings to the devastating realization of entrapment. The endless taunts and slurs have as cumulative an effect as tiny endless drops of water eventually become an ocean.

Sue Anonymous
Lois was struck by the fact, that of the hundreds of "Sue" patterns, her face is never seen. That seemed somehow symbolic. She began to wonder what the demure little bonnet concealed - was it bruises and blood? Sue became in her mind, a symbol of "Everywoman". The dainty figure stands against a violent background of purple, red, yellow and green - the colours of half-healed bruises.

At the top left corner, two entwined hearts are quilted. The heart pattern continues down across the hanging, but as they go, the hearts droop and sag out of shape. Gradually they enclose drops of blood and at the bottom, blood flows and drips off the edges. The use of a blood-red rose fabric was deliberate. Abusers often shower their victims with flowers and assurances that "it will never happen again!" As the cycle of violence continues, physical abuse becomes entangled with mental abuse.

Now You Don’t Have Me

"At first you had me in the palm of your hand. Then you had me in your pocket. Then you had me under your feet. Now you don't have me."

Those were the compelling words of a woman who endured ten years of beatings and abuse, whose story was detailed in a newspaper article that I read. I had been searching for an idea to finish the series of wall hangings depicting violence and abuse directed against women. That quotation seemed to summarize perfectly the mental journey of a victim who had been able to work through fear and anguish to a new self-confidence.

Against the glow of sunrise, a seemingly dead tree, whose branches form a silhouette of Sue's bonnet, tentatively puts out new growth of green leaves.