30 June 2015

SAQA Mentorsip Program

If you haven't already done so, check out the link on the SAQA website concerning the new mentorship program. This was initiated by Sue Bleiweiss, a regional rep in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She did a pilot project in her region and it was so successful that the Board decided to extend it to the entire membership.

I think we could all benefit from the advice of another party - not a friend, not an acquaintance but an established artist who will hold you to account as you move toward your goals. Even the application process may be helpful as you define what you need and why.

If the SAQA program doesn't appeal to you, I hope it motivates you to seek out a mentor on your own terms. I have done just that and am looking forward to several years of learning and improving.

Chris Nielsen

25 June 2015

Favorite Tool - Holly McLean, Bathurst, New Brunswick

Finger cots 

Put one on the index or needle pulling finger and it glides like butter. May be purchased by the boxful in the first aid area of the drug store.

22 June 2015

Welcome to My Studio - Susan Lilley, Hebbville, Nova Scotia

A few months ago, I decided to (finally!) take the time to research and think through how best to improve my sewing space. The room is 12'x13', a nice room with a high ceiling and a large walk-in closet to keep my fabrics and materials out of harm's way. It has a northern exposure with a forest view.

Shortly after we moved in, a year or so earlier, I added a second window and good overhead lighting. I unpacked my gear and started creating. I loved the space, but the set-up wasn't working as well as I knew it could. So, early this spring, I began to plan my makeover. I used Lois Hallock's book Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space to help me with the layout and to calculate dimensions for the various work stations. 

Cabinetmaker Bob Mertens, of Pinehurst, NS built me a beautiful made-to-measure sewing table.

The table has a drop leaf on the back. Butted up against my old adjustable-height Ikea table, it provides good support for large quilts.
I had a big, heavy, office credenza I used for a cutting table. It has a nice large surface and great storage space, but was too low for comfort. Bob built a frame to set it on, bringing it to just the right height. My rulers hang from sheet metal screws on one end, reducing the clutter on the surface. So retro and oh so functional! 
I made an ironing station from an old kitchen cabinet topped with a canvas-covered board, following instructions in Sharon Schamber's Perfect Pressing Board. Unlike an ironing board, the canvas top grips the fabric nicely and the shelving provides storage for various notions and supplies. Nice! But what I most love is the handy on/off switch, inspired by Laurie Swim. The iron plugs into a power bar I've mounted at waist height beneath the window. The flick of a switch powers the iron on and off, and the red light on the power bar lets me know from a distance whether the iron has been left on. Laurie has a lamp plugged into the power bar as an additional indicator. When the lamp is on, she knows she's left the iron on.
So that's the story of my makeover. I love the results! The space works well and for now, at least, I have more than enough storage space. Next project: organize the space in the walk-in closet. Stay tuned!

Susan Lilley

14 June 2015

Member Profile - Holly McLean, Bathurst, New Brunswick

My work 

My fiber art conveys a love of nature. It is based on flora and fauna that I am inspired by on my walks or bike rides along the NB Trail and sometimes by the little things that I notice in my own backyard. These lichen that I found on a piece of wood in my yard fascinate me. They are so tiny as to be hardly noticed. They seem to be searching for sunlight.

I often carry my camera with me. Once home, I like to do watercolour or colored pencil sketches from my photos, or most of the time from the little bits that I pick up. This is why the subjects of my work usually follow the seasons.

For example, right now I’m working on two pieces, my son surfing and a bright happy piece with tulips. 

The tulips are from my garden and the dragonfly which appears quite a bit in my work was a road casualty found on the grill of our car after a trip. Of course I had to save it and sketch it.

Sometimes I use my hand dyed fabric but most often I will paint or print a background using fabric paints. I came up with something that I call Shibori trees for making tree stands and I have done several pieces and taught a workshop using this method. This is the sample for demoing at the workshop.

Do I have a style?

I often wondered if I had a style but I have lately been told by many that they recognize my work. I’m not exactly sure what defines it. My style would have to include an obvious love of nature, a lot of thread painting, stamped or painted fabric, trees, especially birches and birds are often featured. My artwork is usually representational with lots of texture.
My favourite color palette

I do like very many color combinations, especially analogous ones: pink and orange, blue and green, purple and red. Often I will notice color combinations and fall in love with them for a while. Sometimes they come from nature or from fabric and styles at the time.
One of my favourites for a while now is the black/gray/tan/white from the chickadee or the gray/white/black/gold of a birch tree stand on a gray fall day.

My materials

I often begin with 100%white cotton on which I stamp, paint print or screen print. I most often use Setacolor fabric paints. Occasionally, I will dye fabric using Procion dyes.
I’ve had screens made from my own designs. I like to carve stamps and make my own stencils. I also do sun printing. Appliqué is usually fusible using Light Steam a Seam 2.
I use a lot of commercial batiks as well, either as part of the central piece or in the borders.

Once my background is established I will thread paint with various types of threads. I love embellishing with all kinds of fibers. In the tulip piece I used Angelina fiber fused to netting for the dragonfly wings. Next I will stitch the webbing using a gray silk.


I haven’t entered many shows. I have won a few ribbons from the KVQG shows in the modern quilt category. I have also written several articles for Quilting Arts Magazine and Quilting Arts Gifts and recently my Birches and Rosehips piece shown above was published in a new on line magazine called Through Our Hands.

04 June 2015

"Structures" - Official Opening, Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Friday, June 5th is the official opening of the textile show "Structures" by Studio Art Quilt Associates Atlantic Canada. 

The exhibition, consisting of 25 pieces of amazing fabric art by 19 Atlantic artists, opens at the St. Francis Xavier University Art Gallery, Antigonish, NS. 

Opening reception is at 5:30 pm.

03 June 2015

An Artist Update - Kathy Tidswell, Burtts Corner, New Brunswick

I haven’t been very productive this winter and spring because I have spent a lot of time travelling. My husband and I went to Antigua in Late January and February for 2 weeks, we went to Victoria for 10 days in March where he was working and I went to the UK for 2 weeks in May where I travelled with our daughter, Lisa, to London, Jersey and Brugge Belgium.
Antigua in February

Victoria, BC in March

Kathy's daughter, Lisa in Jersey

Just before leaving for Antigua I started a thread painting for my son, Tristan and his partner, Erin. It was inspired by a photo he had taken in Algonquin Park. I finished it shortly after I returned and got it shipped off to their home in Waterloo. 

I did receive word in  February that a wall hanging  showing my husband on the Antiguan beach at sunset had been accepted into the Canadian Quilters Association National Juried Show which is being held in Lethbridge Alberta. I am heading to Lethbridge on June 2nd where I am teaching for 3 days.

After several years, my teaching studio and gallery is finished.  I have to get myself organized as to classes and schedules but hope to begin teaching there this summer. I will send a photo of the space in my next post. Presently I do not have the gallery organized.