25 February 2016

Regina Marzlin interview: Textile collages, pieced, layered and stitched

African Sun, by Regina Marzlin, 2014, 12" x 12"

Nova Scotia artist Regina Marzlin creates colourful, often abstract, textile collages using hand-dyed fabrics that she alters using a variety of surface design techniques. The various textures, the interplay of colours, the build-up of layers and the addition of stitch are important design components in her work.

Regina discovered quilting soon after she immigrated to Canada from Germany in 2003. She was fascinated by the craft and quickly moved from making traditional quilts to designing her own quilted art pieces. In 2009 Regina earned a Level 2 Certificate in Design and Craft from City and Guilds of London, with a focus on Patchwork and Quilting. For the past ten years she has worked on developing, showing and marketing her artwork, as well as promoting textile arts in a variety of ways. She is about to assume the role of regional representative for SAQA Atlantic Canada. 

As a fulltime artist, mother and active SAQA volunteer, Regina graciously gave us some of her precious time to participate in SAQA Atlantic’s new artist interview series.

Becoming An Artist

Describe your journey to becoming an artist who works with textiles.

When I saw my first quilts in a Calgary quilt shop, I was immediately captivated. Though I had never learned to sew, I soon taught myself to make a quilt using books from the public library. Creating with textiles appealed to me as a wonderful form of artistic expression and after making a few traditional quilts, I began making my own designs. 

In 2005, I began to study with Linda and Laura Kemshall of Design Matters (UK), towards City and Guilds certification. The program was a tremendous learning experience and has had a major influence on my work. I had my first sales in a gallery in 2007, just four years after I started working in textiles.

Do you engage in other artistic endeavours?

I’ve worked with ceramics and paper, mostly making cards, with stamping, painting, layering. I also occasionally do drawing exercises as a way of improving my drawing skills. 

What specific artists, either historic or contemporary, have influenced your work?  

Currently, I'm interested in the abstract paintings of the Canadian artist Melanie Authier. She creates deep visual spaces that are non-representational and invite your imagination to roam. Among other contemporary artists, I love the works of Debbie Lyddon, Gerhard Richter and Leya Evelyn. I also admire the work of historic artists Paul Klee, Franz Marc, Wassili Kandinski and Sonia Delaunay.

What fibre artists are you currently interested in? 

Linda Colsh,  Michael James (both because of their masterful use of photographic imagery on fabric), Mirjam Pet-Jacobs ( I love her simple but powerful compositions), Dorothy Caldwell (for her impressive use of marks on a very large scale), Charlotte Yde, Deirdre Adams.

Lost Words, by Regina Marzlin, 2015, 10" x 10"

Working Directly and Intuitively with Textiles

Tell us about your process for creating. Where do you find your inspiration and how do you get from that to a final product?

I find my inspiration in nature, architecture, geometry, history and science. I often start with a photograph, sometimes altering it digitally and printing onto fabric, but more often just using it for inspiration. I rarely start a project with sketches or a set plan. Instead, I work directly and intuitively with textiles, Often, my starting point is textile surface design, making stamps and masks, painting on fabric, etc. I then play with repetition and varied scale of motifs. Hand and machine stitching complete the artwork.

Autumn Colours, by Regina Marzlin, 2010, cover artwork for the literary magazine "The Antigonish Review" Autumn 2013

Do you have a studio, or do you work wherever you can?

My studio is a very small room (about 90 sq ft) on the main floor of our house, with two windows that make it bright and provide a view. It has French doors that allow me to feel connected to the family, even when the doors are closed.

Though the room is smaller than I wish for, I make it work. It’s nice to have a space where the sewing machine can be permanently set up. There’s a small cutting table above my grandmother's chest of drawers, where I keep much of my fabric. There’s also a bookshelf and many small storage containers. I set up a moveable design wall in the living room when I need it, and I use other rooms in the house for additional storage. It’s a bit of a challenge to remember where everything’s kept!

What are you currently working on and why?

I just finished a piece that will be part of a local art exhibition about drawing. Using my favourite monoprint technique, I did an expressive drawing of a bird directly onto fabric and the results are quite exciting! I’m looking forward to delving deeper into that technique.  

A Rare Bird, by Regina Marzlin, 2016, 12" x 12"

The Business of Art

What are your goals for the coming year?

I’ll soon be taking over the role of SAQA representative for Atlantic Canada, so I’ll become more engaged in the business of promoting textile art and working for our local SAQA chapter. I’ll also continue creating a cohesive body of my own artwork. At the same time, I will no doubt create some new work in response to specific calls for entry. When the theme speaks to me, I enjoy the challenge of working towards a deadline on a given theme for a group exhibition. 

Barn Boards, by Regina Marzlin, 2014, w 32" x h 18", 1st prize in the Focus on Fibre Art exhibition "Prairies", 2014

Do you teach, lecture, curate or have a business of your artwork?

I consider myself a full time artist. Over the past two years, I’ve gained valuable experience as curator of the SAQA Atlantic regional exhibition, Structures. The show is travelling to five galleries across three provinces, requiring a lot of coordination. I’ve also written a few exhibition reviews for magazines such as the SAQA Journal and Arts Nova Scotia. I occasionally give trunk shows for quilt guilds across the province.

How do you show and sell your quilts? Where can your work be seen?

Most of my sales are from seasonal galleries and nearby arts and crafts fairs. I exhibit my work in group exhibitions around Nova Scotia and occasionally in national and international shows. My work is in private collections in Canada, Europe and the United States. One of my commission pieces (My Favourite Book) hangs in the children’s room of the Antigonish Town and County library. 

My Favourite Book, by Regina Marzlin, 2011, collaboration with young artists 

My scheduled showings for 2016: 

February 2 - 27
ASAP Drawings, Antigonish Town and County Library, Antigonish, NS

January 15 – March 4
Structures, The Frazee Gallery of the Saint John Art Centre, Saint John NB (juried)

March 15-April 30
Structures, Art Gallery of NS Yarmouth Branch (juried)

To learn more about Regina and her artwork, please visit her website at reginamarzlin.com.

23 February 2016

Best Before February 29th

Back in 2010, the online subscription program The Quilt Show honoured Yvonne Porcella as their annual Quilt Legend. This one-hour episode begins with a delightful, up-close and personal look at Ms Porcella's studio and her amazing art quilts and wearables. Then she puts on her "teacher" hat to demonstrate her techniques for creating fantasy faces and for taming various types of silk.

For those who would like to learn more about this amazing woman, The Quilt Show has made their 2010 Quilt Legend episode, honouring Yvonne, available for free viewing, but only until February 29th. 

To access the episode, click here, then scroll down to episode #713.

17 February 2016

Celebrating Yvonne Porcella

Yvonne Porcella, founder of SAQA, died on February 12, 2016.

Ms Porcella was a pioneer and legend in the art quilt world, an inspiration to many. She had a vision, to create a network of quilt artists who would pool their resources in order to support and expand the reach of quilt art. She turned her vision into reality when in 1989, 50 U.S. artists united to form Studio Art Quilt Associates. SAQA has since grown to include over 3500 members from around the world.

If you aren't familiar with Yvonne Porcella's vibrant artwork, take 10 minutes to view Bold Strokes, a retrospective of her creations.

Ms Porcella was keynote speaker at the 25th Anniversary SAQA conference. Her 45-minute address, History of the Development of the Art Quilt Movement: Early Exhibits and Studio Art Quilt Associates, will be of interest to all artists who work in textiles.  

To honour her legacy and to continue her vision, SAQA has established the Yvonne Porcella Memorial Fund for Regional Development.

Yvonne Porcella's vision and energy will be missed by many but will live on in the work of SAQA and its members.

11 February 2016

Spotlight Auction 8

Laurie Swim's Spotlight Auction piece came in just under the wire! That's a total of eight tiny (6"x8") art quilts by Atlantic Canada artists, raising money for SAQA's exhibition programs. Well done and thank you to all who participated. 

Once Upon a Tidal Pool by Laurie Swim, 2016

Once Upon a Tidal Pool... by Laurie Swim of Lunenburg NS

Living next to the ocean is a privilege I took for granted as I was growing up in Nova Scotia. Returning after many years away, I came to realize it underpins who I am and what my art is, a reflection of my surroundings.

Visit Laurie Swim's website to learn more about her work.

So that brings to an end our series of posts about the SAQA Spotlight Auction. If you're thinking you might want to get involved next time around, the deadline for the annual SAQA Benefit Auction is June 1, 2016. 

10 February 2016

Spotlight Auction 7

Welcome to our seventh SAQA Spotlight Auction (Atlantic Canada) report. This tiny art quilt was generously donated by New Brunswick artist and teacher Kathy Tidswell.

Weeds n Things by Kathy Tidswell, 2016

Weeds n Things, by Kathy Tidswell, Burtts Corner NB

I played with using weeds and objects such as lace doilies to have fun and step outside my box. I used some of the prints in a recent quilt and quilted this little piece with Invisifil threads so as not to overpower the beauty of the print.

Visit Kathy Tidswell's website to learn more about her work.

09 February 2016

Spotlight Auction 6

Deb Plestid is another of the eight Atlantic Canada contributors to the SAQA Spotlight Auction. She tells us about her piece, below.

Katrine & Tara by Deb Plestid, 2016

Katrine & Tara by Deb Plestid of Tatamagouche NS

Bryan Sykes, author of The Seven Daughters of Eve, presents the theory of human mitochondrial genetics and analyses ancient DNA to genetically link modern humans to prehistoric ancestors. He created a graphic DNA model to represent seven separate mitochondrial haplogroups or ‘clan mothers”. This piece is a partial representation of his graphic model for two of the clan mothers, which he has named Katrine and Tara. (DNA sequence illustration used with permission from Professor Sykes.)

Have a look at Deb Plestid's website to learn more about her work.

08 February 2016

Spotlight Auction 5

Christine Nielsen, our tireless SAQA representative, is an avid promoter of that organization's many initiatives. Have a look at her contribution to the Spotlight Auction!

Medina by Christine Neilsen, 2016

Medina, by Christine Nielsen, Head of St Margarets Bay NS

I have twice cycled the route of the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany, NY. This area of the world suits my soul and makes me incredibly happy. Although the scenery and associated history are wonderful, I am most attracted to the textures. When my brain is relaxed those images spring up and out. (The fabrics were all dyed by Debbie Vermeulen)

Follow Christine Neilsen's new blog, Inspired by CFT.

07 February 2016

Spotlight Auction 4

Have a look at Holly McLean's contribution to the 2016 SAQA Spotlight Auction! With other tiny quilts from around the world, Holly's quilt will be auctioned off at this year's SAQA Conference, raising funds for SAQA's exhibition programs.

Leaves Under Ice by Holly McLean, 2016

Leaves Under Ice, by Holly McLean, Bathurst NB  

Last fall, when leaves were plentiful on the ground, I gathered a few and used them in a printing session. When looking through my collection of prints for a piece to submit, I noticed a turquoise one that reminded me of cool winter colours reflected in ice and snow. I thought the leaves looked like they floated down to the water and were caught in the winter freeze.

You can follow Holly McLean's blog to learn more about her work.

06 February 2016

Spotlight Auction 3

And here's the third spotlight auction contribution from Atlantic Canada. These tiny quilts will be auctioned off at the annual SAQA conference, proceeds going to support the SAQA exhibition program.

A Balancing Act by Regina Marzlin, 2016

A Balancing Act, by Regina Marzlin, Antigonish NS

This small piece is the result of playing with my favourite monoprint technique. The loose, gestural lines and marks are quickly drawn. Colouring the resulting shapes is a fun process. At that point, the piece tells me what it wants to be. Scattered hand stitching and echo machine quilting complete the design. It's all about balance!

Visit Regina Marzlin's website to learn more about her work.

05 February 2016

Spotlight Auction 2

Welcome to today's sneak peek at a SAQA Spotlight Auction contribution.Thank you, Lois, for contributing to the SAQA exhibition program, from which we all benefit!

Shades of Winter by Lois Hooper, 2016

Shades of Winter, by Lois Hooper, Moores Mills NB 

Though winter can cause much stress and destruction, there is an undeniable beauty to the season. Glistening landscapes of blue and silver on white, leave a lasting impression. Metallic painted applique over iridescent velour. Silver gauze over cotton background and hand beaded.

04 February 2016

SAQA Spotlight Auction

Inspire - Connect - Engage (ICE) is the theme for the 2016 SAQA Spotlight Auction. This annual event is an opportunity for SAQA members to have their work showcased at the SAQA Conference

Members are encouraged to donate small art quilts (6"x8"), which are sold through a silent auction at the conference banquet. All proceeds are used to benefit SAQA's exhibition programs.

Several Atlantic Canada members have generously contributed to the auction. Over the next week, we will be featuring their work. 

I Admire the Diggers, by Susan Tilsley Manley

I Admire The Diggers, by Susan Tilsley Manley of Westville NS

I have developed a technique for reproducing photographs on fabric using rust. This image was taken in the 1940's at Caribou Gold Mines in Nova Scotia. My father was born there and this is his Aunt Ollie. She always appears laughing and happy, even when doing manual labour. I admire the diggers, especially since my own ability with a shovel is poor. 

Visit Susan TM's website to learn more about her work. 

If you haven't yet made a quilt for the Spotlight auction, there may still be time. Stay tuned for more auction pieces in the coming days.