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. 

24 October 2013

Current Work - Anne Morrell Robinson - Big Interval, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Anne’s style is taking traditional quilts and giving them her own personal touch. Many are based on nature, or tell stories. As a professional quilter who sells her work out of her studio, she tries to keep inventory that appeals to the general public but is above and beyond what they expect to see. Birds are a subject matter that appeal to many people and also appeals to Anne’s need to use shapes, colour, and textures from the natural world.

This quilt features the most colourful birds found all over the world and is done with satin stitched machine appliqué. The theme is continued with the traditional compass blocks and fabrics that have globes or maps.

21 October 2013

2013 Portia White Prize Recipient - Laurie Swim, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

This Friday evening at the 2013 Creative Nova Scotia gala being held at Halifax's Museum of Natural History, Laurie Swim will be receiving Nova Scotia's most prestigious arts award, the Portia White Prize. 

Portia White Prize: The Portia White prize recognizes cultural and artistic excellence on the part of a Nova Scotian artist who has attained professional status, mastery and recognition in their discipline.
Laurie Swim: With a career that spans 40 years, Laurie Swim has participated in advancing the craft of quilting to the fine art audience and has carved a niche through fibre art that is comparable to any realist painter in Atlantic Canada. Laurie started her studies at the Fine Art Program at Mount Allison University and holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.  Laurie has been the recipient of a number of grants and awards, recently as the recipient of the Dorothy McMurdie Award from the Canadian Quilters Association and is recognized for her volunteering of her time and work to advance the cultural community and issues such as The Quilt: A Breast Cancer Support Project as well as serving on the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council.  Currently she has an exhibition at the Zwicker’s Gallery in Halifax, and is represented by Amicus Gallery in Chester and the Del Mano Gallery in Los Angeles.
Portia White Protégé award will be announced at the October 25 event.  
To buy a ticket to attend the gala, go to this website and click paypal


20 October 2013

Member Profile - Deb Plestid, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Submitted by Susan Lilley

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing SAQA Atlantic member Deb Plestid, from Balmoral, NS. This is just a little of what I learned.

“Live simply, so that others may simply live.” Guided by Gandhi's words, Deb Plestid’s life is governed by the seasons and the rhythms of nature. For six months of the year, much of her time is occupied with feeding herself and her family through gardening, foraging and preserving, as well as raising birds for meat and eggs. During the colder months, she feeds her spirit, creating beautiful quilted wall hangings that reflect the beauty surrounding her studio that overlooks the Northumberland Strait.
Fables - a wall quilt celebrating Tatamagouche's literary pub by the same name - where music, books and wine meet.

Deb took up traditional quilting in her late twenties, relying on patterns and quilt books for several years, until her partner eventually told her she had to “put the books away.” From that day on, Deb has been creating unique textile compositions inspired by nature, landscapes and the marks that humans have left on the land. Using an ever-widening variety of surface design and construction techniques, Deb’s work explores interrelationships and conveys multiple layers of meaning. 
Bums -Three bums goofing off during a honeymoon holiday at Fox River, Nova Scotia, with much gratitude to the groom for having been such a good sport  

Deb Plestid has won numerous awards for her art quilts. Her work appears in both art galleries and prestigious quilt shows such as Quilt Canada, the Grand National, Quilts=Art=Quilts in Auburn, New York and the AQS in Paducah, Kentucky.
                             A blessingway vessel made with threads and scraps of fabric.

        East River - The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea. Isak Dineson

 We are so fortunate to have Deb Plestid among our membership!

You can see more of Deb’s work at www.debplestid.ca

18 October 2013

What’s on your wall? Susan Lilley, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Susan tells us: "I am just starting the hand quilting and stitching on a small piece with the working title, 'No Exit'. The fabric is my own shibori dyed, repurposed cotton. This is a companion piece to a wall quilt that I made last month, entitled 'Fractured'. Both pieces are inspired by the fabric itself as well as current challenges in my personal life.
"No Exit” (14x20) by Susan Lilley, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
'’Fractured” (24x28) by Susan Lilley, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

14 October 2013

Dream Commission - Laurie Swim, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

This summer Laurie Swim had what she considers a dream commission.

The youngest daughter of one of the fishermen Laurie had memorialized in 2000 in her Lost at Sea project came into Laurie’s gallery in her hometown of Lunenburg this past May. The woman and her husband were building a house in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario and wanted to feature a landscape of Nova Scotia created by Laurie in their new home.

Laurie’s husband and business partner, Larry, remembered that Laurie had enlarged an outline drawing of Lockeport Crescent Beach on her design board. After both parties agreed on the design, Laurie finished the 30” x 60” piece by the end of July. To make her piece, Family Outing even more personal, she added a few sea shells in the foreground near the little girl.

As Laurie says, she got to complete a work she was already planning! And the clients allowed Laurie to hang it in her gallery until their new home was ready for the installation in September.
Family Outing by Laurie Swim

06 October 2013

Fibre Arts 2015 Teaching Opportunity - Gros Morne, Newfoundland

Fiber art teaching opportunity in Newfoundland

As part of the Craft Year 2015 celebrations, the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador is preparing to host a fiber arts conference in October 2015 in gorgeous Gros Morne National Park.

The council is currently looking for proposals from fiber artists who would like to teach at the conference. It also looks like there will be opportunities for artists to participate in panel discussions and other events. 

You can link to the Fiber Arts Newfoundland and Labrador website at http://www.craftcouncil.nl.ca/events/fibre-conference.

Below is the announcement from the Craft Council and links to relevant documents for interested instructors.

Fiber Arts 2015 
Celebrating Craft in Newfoundland and Labrador and Craft Year 2015, Fibre Arts Newfoundland and Labrador will take place from October 15 - 18, 2015 in beautiful Gros Morne National Park.
This four day conference will consist of workshops, lectures, exhibitions, seminars, panel discussions and tours and is bound to satisfy your fibre yearnings.
The Instructor Committee is now calling for proposals from interested designers, makers, and teachers.  We invite you to be creative, and develop sessions that will inspire our Conference participants to reach beyond the boundaries of their current studio practices, and think in new ways, explore new ideas and develop new products.  The Committee welcomes innovation in techniques and materials.
We look forward to submissions directed at both entry level and established professional fibre artists.  Workshops in the areas of dye, felt, knit, spin, weave,crochet, surface design and rug hooking will be accepted and considered, as well as fibre techniques used in other media.
Please click on the links below for information on submitting proposals, and watch this space for more Conference news as it becomes available.
Questions?  Contact events@craftcouncil.nl.ca for answers.
Thanks to Linda Strowbridge for sharing this information.

Festival Vendor - Regina Marzlin, Antigonish, Nova Scotai

Five years ago as newcomer Regina Marzlin walked the beautiful beaches in Nova Scotia, she began collecting sea glass. Gradually her whole family joined her in this obsession! As they collected, she began to see ways to combine her fibre art with the glass they found. Some of Regina’s best selling articles are fabric postcards and small wearable art and after some trial pieces, she successfully developed a way to meld fabric and glass and began to sell her new designs locally.

2013 was the 5th anniversary of the Mermaid’s Tears Sea glass Festival in Souris, PEI, a charming little coastal town with great beaches. This three day event is held on the fourth weekend in July at the Souris Lighthouse with vendors, lectures, shard contests and demonstrations. This was Regina’s first year as a vendor and knowing that most artists use sea glass in jewelry or decorative art pieces, and knowing that what she was doing was new and different, she made a number of larger pieces, some framed fabric collages and lots of postcards and pins.

The festival takes place in a large tent so Regina hung some of her larger pieces from the tent structure near her display table. She found festival goers were quite interested in her work and she received a lot of great feedback. Over and over she heard, “I have never seen anything like that!”

Regina really enjoyed talking with the other vendors, getting to see the amazing sea glass finds and chatting with all the visitors who were interested in her work. Solid media coverage (including a piece by CTV for the local news) and strong attendance helped make the show financially successful for Regina. She will definitely be returning to next year’s festival with many new designs she is inspired to create!