09 September 2018

Layered and Stitched... the Textile Artists Collective, October 5th-29th, Inverness, Cape Breton

Members of the Textile Artists Collective invite you to join them for the opening of Layered and Stitched, at the Inverness County Centre for the Arts in beautiful Inverness, Cape Breton, NS.

The exhibition will coincide with SAQA Atlantic Canada's juried regional show, Transitions, held in the same gallery, during Cape Breton's annual Celtic Colours festival. Three good reasons to make tracks for Cape Breton next month!

Participating artists:

Dawna deAdder, Cathy Drummond, Karen Henry,
Heather Kellerman, Susan Lilley, Heather Loney, 
Linda Mackie Finlay, Kate Madeloso, Regina Marzlin,
Fiona Oxford, Laureen van Lierop and Debbie Vermeulen

When:       October 6 - 29, 2018            
Opening:   6:00 - 8:00 pm, Friday October 5, 2018
Where:      Inverness County Centre for the Arts
                  16080 Highway 19, Inverness, Nova Scotia
Hours:       Tuesday to Sunday 11:00-5:00. Closed Mondays.
Phone:       902 258 2533
Email:        info@invernessarts.com

The Textile Artists Collective 

The Textile Artists Collective is a small group of independent Nova Scotia artists working in textiles and other fibres. Our creative explorations include a wide variety of surface design techniques such as painting, dyeing, printing, stitching, quilting, weaving, felting, collage, appliqué, stencil, applying resists and embellishing with beads or small objects.

06 September 2018

The Society of Fibre Artists of the Annapolis River invite you to visit two textile art shows in Annapolis Royal

SAQA members Penny Berens and Grace Butland both have work in two current exhibitions presented by SOFAAR (Society of Fibre Artists of the Annapolis River). 

Goddess Emerging by Grace Butland, w10" x h10".
(East Meets West piece showing in Vancouver, BC).
Acrylic paint, image transfer, beading, hand-stitching and couching on cotton.

EAST MEETS WEST is a collaborative exhibition with the Vancouver Island Surface Design Association (VISDA). The exhibit features 10" x 10" pieces produced by members of both groups. The opening in Annapolis Royal is scheduled to coincide with the opening of a parallel show in Vancouver, with a video live feed connecting the two.

What:           East Meets West exhibition of textile art
Where:         King's Theatre, Annapolis Royal NS
When:          Ongoing until the end of October. 
Reception:   2 pm, Saturday Sept 8, 2018

THE ART OF FIBRE, this year's SOFAAR members' exhibition, was curated by fibre artists Laurie Swim and Valerie Hearder. 

What:           THE ART OF FIBRE exhibition
Where:         Chapel Gallery at ARTsPLACE, Annapolis Royal NS
When:          Ongoing until the end of October. 
Reception:   Sunday Sept 9, 2018, 1-8pm

Our beautiful fall weather is perfect for a drive to Annapolis Royal to catch both exhibits.  

Stone Pathways by Penny Berens
SOFAAR Members' Exhibition
Hand stitching on natural dyed and rusted linen, silk and cotton

04 September 2018

SAQA Atlantic touring exhibition,Transitions, opening October 5th, in Inverness, Cape Breton

October 2018 will be a more exciting time than ever to visit Cape Breton Island!

This year, the Inverness County Centre for the Arts will feature two textile art exhibitions during the annual Celtic Colours Festival. SAQA Atlantic's travelling juried show, Transitions, will share the gallery with Layered and Stitched, an exhibition of textile art by the Textile Artists Collective.

Both shows open on Friday October 5th, coinciding with Celtic Colours, which runs from October 5th - 13th. While Celtic Colours is best known for its celebration of Celtic music, the festival program also includes a host of art and textile events including an Ecoprinting workshop to be held at the Inverness County Centre on Saturday October 6th. The complete Celtic Colours program can be seen here.

What:        Transitionsthe SAQA Atlantic travelling exhibition
When:       October 6 - 29, 2018            
Opening:   6:00 - 8:00 pm, Friday October 5, 2018
                  16080 Highway 19, Inverness, Nova Scotia
Hours:       Tuesday to Sunday 11:00-5:00. Closed Mondays.

Transitions Artists

Helene Blanchet - Julea Boswell - Grace Butland - Brigitte Dimock
Cathy Drummond - Kristi Farrier - Audrey Feltham 
Linda Finley - Heather Kellerman - Susan Lilley 
Heather Loney - Kate Madeloso - Regina Marzlin 
Holly McLean - Fiona Oxford - Deb Plestid 
Anne Morrell Robinson - Ann Schroeder - Kathy Tidswell

Read more about the SAQA Atlantic regional textile art show, Transitions, on our blog.

Halifax in Transition II: Citadel Hill Clock 
by Heather Loney  h23" x w26"

20 August 2018

See My Corner of the World – CANADA, in Eastern Ontario until September 22, 2018

POPLAR  POINT by artist Jaynie Himsl, Weyburn, SK

Consider a road trip to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte ON, to see the the peripatetic My Corner of the World - Canada exhibit, featuring the work of 40 SAQA artists, eight of whom are from Atlantic Canada.

The exhibition has toured widely since its opening in May 2015. The response from thousands of visitors around the world – both fibre artists and the general public has been exceptional, calling it “magical” and “breathtaking”. 

Artwork of Maggie Vanderweit, Gunnel Hag, Holly McLean
 and Judith Martin greet visitors at the entrance of the Museum

The weekend September 8-9th might be a good time to visit, when hundreds of fibre enthusiasts come into the village of Almonte for FIBREFEST 2018.

Where:               Mississippi Valley Textile Museum
Address:            3 Rosamond St E, Almonte ON K0A 1A0
Phone:               613-256-3754   
Summer Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10-4.   Closed Monday
Admission:         $7.00  Children under 12 free!

Left to right: Artwork by  Sandra Betts, NS; Millie Cumming, ON,
Terry Aske, BC and Lynne McCulloch, ON

Note: Photos and much of the content of this message are re-posted from Bethany Garner's post on the SAQA Central Canada blog, August 4, 2018.

07 August 2018

Kathy Tidswell Interview: Painter, Quilter, Teacher

Transitions II by Kathy Tidswell (2017) w22” x h34”
Kathy Tidswell is a New Brunswick fibre artist and teacher, well-known for her thread-painted pieces, quilted wall hangings and wearable art. Kathy’s work has been widely published within Canada and beyond. She has taught at five Quilt Canada conferences and is a recipient of the Canadian Quilters’ Association Teacher of the Year Award.

Kathy’s wearable art has earned an Award of Excellence and an Honourable Mention at CQA National Juried Shows. Her wall quilts have made it into The Grand National Juried Quilt Exhibitions, CQA National Juried Shows, SAQA regional juried shows and the Contemporary Canadian Art Quilts Exhibition. Her thread paintings have hung in solo and group exhibitions including Threadworks 2010 and 2013.

Kathy Tidswell sells her work from her home studio and gallery in Burtts Corner NB. 

How would you describe your work?

My work is usually realistic. Whether it’s a small thread painting or a larger wall quilt, you can generally see the influence of nature. 

Much of my work begins with my own painting on fabric which I then enhance with thread painting. Sometimes I work with commercial fabric to create wall quilts but even those often include some of my own painted fabric as well. 

Winter by Kathy Tidswell (2008) w 20.5” x h 24.5”

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

My mother and both grandmothers were embroiders, quilters, rug hookers and crocheters, and taught me all these skills as a child. As a young adult, I had a career in forest genetics with the Canadian Forestry Service. That experience and my scientific background may account for some of my attention to detail and my interest in depicting trees. 

Later, as a stay-at-home mom, I made two quilts for my daughter’s bunkbeds. Soon after, I joined the Fredericton Quilters’ Guild and attended a workshop taught by Anne Boyce, who taught me to use the sewing machine for appliqué and quilting. Around the same time I saw a booklet entitled Thread Painting, by Liz Hubbard. It had beautiful British gardens and cottages done with free-motion embroidery over a painted background. I was hooked!

I took drawing, watercolour and oil painting lessons to better my skills for painting the backgrounds. I worked on my free-motion embroidery skills. And since most of this stitched-over-painted-fabric work came from the UK, I combined a visit to see my daughter with a 4-day course with teacher Allison Holt in Wales. Gradually, I began to develop my own style and approach.

Wearable art by Kathy Tidswell (2017) 

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

My inspiration generally comes from nature. I get ideas for the painted backgrounds from photographs. If I’m working on a wall quilt for a competition I often muse over the theme for a long time and draw up several different ideas before I begin. 

Working from my photograph, I make a detailed drawing on paper and then trace it onto white cotton fabric. Next, I paint the background using Pebeo Setacolor. The painting may take two or three sittings to complete. 

When I’m happy with the painting, I add texture and bring it to life with free-motion embroidery. I enhance perspective by leaving a painted area in the distance unstitched. Moving into the foreground, the stitching becomes progressively brighter, larger and more detailed. I sometimes create a 3-D effect by attaching appliqués of birds or flowers that I make entirely from thread, using free-motion zigzag stitching.

Great Blue Heron by Kathy Tidswell (2016) w15” x h17”

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

My studio is a second-storey porch addition built by my husband. It’s lovely and bright with windows on three sides, but it’s small, so my work has spread throughout the house. My threads and smaller pieces of fabric are stored in a chest in the hallway just outside the studio. I’ve taken over a bedroom for cutting; the kitchen table is where I tend to do the painting. I also have a teaching studio and gallery on the ground floor. The only thing missing is a permanent design wall.

What are you currently working on and why?

Just now, I’m working on a black and white portrait of my grandmother. I’ve been wanting to make it ever since I found a photo of her a couple of years ago. I’m hoping to use the portrait as my entry for the upcoming Grand National exhibition, themed Still.

Do you teach or have a business of your artwork?

I split my time between teaching, creating wall quilts for competitions and producing thread paintings, which I sell at craft shows. Teaching has been a big part of my life for over 20 years. I have a small teaching studio in my home and offer classes in a variety of techniques, including thread painting, machine appliqué, using paints on fabric, creating 3-D thread appliques and using Inktense pencils to create appliqués.

One of the most exciting moments in my career was when I first got word that I’d been accepted to teach at the Quilt Canada conference, which was in Toronto in 2000. That was outdone only when I received the Canadian Quilters’ Association Teacher of the Year award five years later.

I’ve taught and delivered slide/trunk presentations at five Quilt Canada conferences and for guilds and shops in almost every province. I’ve taught twice in Luxembourg and have three presentations scheduled for this fall in the UK. 

My teaching experiences in Luxembourg began with enquiries I made at a quilting and craft shop I came across while visiting that country. Lynne Edwards, a teacher and friend from the UK, once told me that whenever she travels she notifies groups in the vicinity that she will be available for teaching. I’ve since adopted her philosophy. 

When planning an upcoming visit with my daughter, I obtained a list of quilting and embroidery groups from British organizers and contacted several around Portsmouth (England), telling them when I expected to be in the area. This resulted in the three slide/trunk shows I have scheduled there this fall.

Splendour of the Caribbean by Kathy Tidswell (2013) w18.5” x  h14.5”

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

Currently, (August 3- October 9, 2018) my work can be seen in a solo exhibition entitled Nature’s Thread 2018 at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre in Fredericton NB.

A selection of my work will be for sale at a Christmas market with the Fibre Arts Network group (FAN) on November 10, 2018 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Fredericton.

And my thread paintings can be seen by chance or appointment at my home studio and gallery in Burtts Corner NB.

Recently, while serving a one-week artist residency in Fredericton’s historic Garrison District, I was interviewed by Mark Kilfoil of CHSR radio. The interview can be heard as a podcast until early September at CHSR-FM 97.9 | The Lunchbox Interview/ Kathy Tidswell (Fibre Artist).

What are your goals for the coming year?

My goal is to enjoy the process more, without worrying so much about perfection. I often get too intense over a piece, especially if it’s for a competition. I hope to develop a more relaxed way of working and to just wait and see how the piece turns out.  


You can read more about Kathy Tidswell and her artwork on her website Kathy Tidswell Fibre Artist.

As Day Ebbs by Kathy Tidswell (2014) w20” x h31”

28 July 2018

AGNS Yarmouth Branch will host Transitions, Aug 2 - Sept 28, 2018

Remnants by Susan Lilley (2016) 36"x36"


Helene Blanchet - Julea Boswell Grace Butland Brigitte Dimock
Cathy Drummond Kristi Farrier Audrey Feltham 
Linda Finley Heather Kellerman Susan Lilley 
Heather Loney Kate Madeloso Regina Marzlin 
Holly McLean Fiona Oxford Deb Plestid 
Anne Morrell Robinson Ann Schroeder Kathy Tidswell

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Yarmouth Branch
341 Main Street
August 2 to September 28, 2018
Opening Aug 2, 5:00 - 7:00 pm

Hours: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm; closed Mondays & Tuesdays.
Free Access Thursday Nights, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m

Read more about the SAQA Atlantic regional textile art show, Transitions, 

20 July 2018

Lois Wilby Hooper contribution to SAQA Benefit Auction

Lois Wilby Hooper, of Moores Mills NB, contributed Beside the Seaside to the SAQA Benefit Auction. The piece represents the foamy edge of the waves on a sandy shore. 

Acrylic paints on cotton, glass beads to form the bubbles, with a bit of debris.

See more of Lois Wilby Hooper's work in our recent feature interview

28 June 2018

Plan a summer road trip to Halifax's Mary E Black Gallery!

You are cordially invited to join Penny Berens and Judy Martin for the opening of their show, Cloth of Time, at 6pm on Thursday July 12, 2018.

Both Penny and Judith are award-winning textile artists whose works have been shown across Canada and internationally.

Judith Martin lives and works on Manitoulin Island, Ontario. She creates large-scale, hand-stitched artwork from found and re-purposed cloth. Judy Martin maintains a popular blog, Judy’s Journal. You can read about Judy in her World of Threads interview.

Penny Berens lives in Granville Ferry NS. Nestled in the woods between the shores of the Bay of Fundy and the Annapolis Basin, Penny works by hand with needle and thread on cloth she has dyed naturally from local flora. Her inspiration comes from daily observations of simple marks, shapes or patterns found in her surroundings. Penny Berens' work can be seen on her blog Tanglewood Threads. You can read about Penny in a SAQA Atlantic interview, Marking Time and Tides in Stitch.

The Mary E Black Gallery is Nova Scotia’s only public gallery with a fine craft mandate. The Gallery hosts local, regional, national and international fine craft exhibitions year round.

1061 Marginal Road, Halifax NS. 
Tel: 492-2522 

26 June 2018

Four SAQA artists juried into Cape Breton fine art show

Congratulations to Helene Blanchet, Kate MadelosoRegina Marzlin and Anne Morrell Robinson, all of whom will be showing their work in the Juried Small Works Show in Inverness, Cape Breton (NS) June 30 – July 29, 2018.
Kate Madeloso, Forest Discovery (2018)

Small Treasures are works of art in all media, that are no larger than 12″ in any dimension. This is a juried show, which means artists submitted images of their work, and the juror, Ray Cronin, made selections without knowing the names of the artists. He has selected work from Canada, 27 US states and four other countries.

Where: Inverness County Centre for the Arts
          16080 Highway 19, Inverness, NS
When: June 30 – July 29, 2018
Opening: Saturday, June 30, from six to eight pm.

18 June 2018

Nearly 450 pieces to choose from! The 2018 SAQA Benefit Auction, online from September 14th - October 8th

Red Giant by Regina Marzlin (2018) 12" x 12"

Regina Marzlin, of Antigonish NS submitted the 12"x12" piece, Red Giant to the 2018 auction. The annual benefit auction supports SAQA's exhibition program. You can see all of this year's record-breaking 444 quilts on SAQA's Benefit Auction page.  

The 2018 auction, online from September 14th to October 7th, kicks-off at 3pm Atlantic Time on September 14th with Diamond Day bidding - an early bird opportunity to purchase ANY quilt for $1000.  


The 12" x 12" auction quilts have been grouped into three sections for bidding purposes. Each week, a different group of quilts will be available for bidding. 

The online bidding form will be live on September 14 at 3pm Atlantic Time for Diamond Day bidding.

Then, starting September 18th at 3pm Atlantic, bidding will begin on the first group of quilts. The starting price of $750 will be reduced progressively throughout the week. The first bid on each piece wins. This same process is repeated for Section 2 and Section 3. 

Throughout the auction, any piece in any section can be purchased at the Buy It Now price of $1000. 

More information on the bidding process is available here.

16 June 2018

News from Kathy Tidswell about two upcoming textile art events in Fredericton

Curry Mountain by Kathy Tidswell

Residency in the Casemates

The Fredericton Arts Alliance has selected Kathy Tidswell for a one-week residency in the Casemates at the Garrison District, 426 Queen Street, Fredericton NB. The theme for this year’s residencies is the Wolastoq (Saint John river), a National Historic site. 

Beginning with her own photograph, Kathy will draw the scene, transfer it to fabric, paint the fabric and then stitch using free motion embroidery to add texture and dimension. The public is invited to visit the Casemates and watch her at work. She will be in residence July 2-8, 2018. The Casemates are open daily 10 am-5 pm. 

Natures Thread 2018

Kathy Tidswell’s thread paintings and wall quilts will be on display at the Charlotte Glencross Gallery, Charlotte Street Arts Centre, 732 Charlotte Street, Fredericton. 
August 3-October 9, 2018.   9:30 am-9:30 pm


Check out Kathy's website: Kathy Tidswell, Fibre Artist.

15 June 2018

Cloth of Time exhibit at Mary E Black Gallery, Halifax

SAQA members Penny Berens of Granville Beach NS and Judith Martin of Manitoulin Island ON are bringing their stitched journals together in a show they call Cloth of Time. These large hand-stitched pieces will be on display at the Mary E Black Gallery, 1061 Marginal Road, Halifax, from July 13 to August 26 2018. An opening reception will be held at 6pm on Thursday, July 12.

Cloth of Time is an exhibition that presents two distinct ways of observing and recording time with the intimate and familiar gestures and marks of hand stitch. 

Daily Scratchings by Penny Berens, stitched every day from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2015.

Not To Know But To Go On by Judy Martin was stitched on a daily basis from 2010 to 2015.

You can see more of Judy’s artwork on her blog, Judy's Journal.

Penny Berens' work can be seen on her blog Tanglewood Threads.

12 June 2018

Anne Morrell Robinson interview: Fibre in her Genes

Picasso's Ladies Visit Hundertwasser's Garden
by Anne Morell Robinson (2017) w23.5” x 24h”

Anne Morrell Robinson, who lives in rural Margaree Valley NS, has been creating art since she was a small child. She studied art in high school and art education in college. With the revival of quilt making in the 1970s and the Whitney Museum of American Art’s landmark exhibition, Anne began exploring the possibilities of quilts as a medium for her art. 

With over 600 quilts to her credit, Anne is highly regarded as a prolific artist whose work bridges the divide between art quilts and traditional bed quilts. In her “spare time” Anne also creates hooked rugs, art dolls, felted pieces and wearable art such as jackets and jewelry. 

Anne Morrrell Ronbinson’s work has received numerous awards in such prestigious quilt shows as Canada's National Juried Show, Quilts=Art=Quilts, The World Quilt Competition and the National Quilters Association (US). Her work has been commissioned for events such as Expo '86 and the 70th anniversary of Stora Forest Industries, as well as for hospitality, health care and religious facilities. Anne’s business, KingRoss Quilts and Fibre Art, is based in her century-old farm house in rural Cape Breton. 

How would you describe your work?

My work is very eclectic, sometimes rooted in tradition and at other times inspired by some silly thought or an image that appeals to me. Much of my work I would call cross-over quilts, not really art quilts more original interpretations of a traditional design. I'm one of those quilters who bridge the categories. I love lots of detail, textures, deep rich colours and imagery from nature. Underwater World (below) shows my love of combining traditional designs with unexpected imagery. 

Underwater World by Anne Morell Robinson (2016) w101” x h101”

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

I started making quilts as a relaxing way to spend the evening after working on a horse farm all day. After moving to a farm in Cape Breton I used my art to tell the story of the lives of rural women, mostly with pictorial quilts. Local businesses soon took an interest. Shops asked to sell my work while others bought pieces to decorate their premises. This led to publications featuring my work, invitations to teach and many commissions. I joined art and craft organizations and participated in their exhibitions. Staying in the public eye is something to work at if you want to be taken seriously as an artist. Exhibiting in national shows and accepting commissions for art in public places did that for me. Now I concentrate more on making quilts that I want to make and that will appeal to buyers who walk into my studio.

How has your life/upbringing influenced your work?

I’m fortunate that in my adult life I’ve always been able to work from home by keeping a simple lifestyle. At first the imagery in my work was all about the animals on our farm or women's work. I attended an art therapy workshop during a hard period in my life when I was trying to survive as a young widow with two children and a working farm. We were asked to draw what it would take to have more time to make art so I drew the cattle truck taking all the livestock away. That's exactly what I ended up doing. Living in an area heavy with tourists gave me an opportunity to sell my work and having them connect with the artist and the area was a plus.

Hills of Cape Breton by Anne Morell Robinson (2018) w96” x 32h”

Tell us about your studio. What features do you most like and dislike about it?

I’m fortunate to have a wonderful, large studio attached to the house. I would be lost without my 9' x 9' design wall and all the storage space behind it and under my cutting tables. Living far from fabric shops means that I have a lot of stuff. My two 4' x 8' cutting tables are on wheels so I can roll them out of the way if I want to use the design wall for photographing a large quilt. 

When the tourists are around, part of my studio is dedicated to sales. I don’t have enough wall space for displaying all the large quilts I have for sale, so they get piled onto one of the cutting tables during the tourist season. To show them, I peel them back like oriental rugs. 

What are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m working on my pile of unfinished quilts. I set a goal to get them all done by the end of the year. I’m often distracted by challenges and pieces for upcoming shows, so I keep slipping new work between older projects. But the older ones are slowly being finished. I’ve also begun quilting on a longarm machine and I’m enjoying the learning process there.

What are your goals for the coming year?

My goal is to get better at machine quilting and produce new work that is national-show worthy. Also, as I age I’m leaning toward pieces that are less labour intensive but more spectacular. My very labour-intensive pieces aren’t always appreciated financially by the public, and sales are an important consideration. 

Monkeys in the Middle by Anne Morell Robinson (2011) w90” x h90”

Tell us about your most memorable experience as an artist. 

I think my most memorable experience was the day on which I won awards at two different national quilt shows and had my work on a magazine cover. The curator of "Quilts=Art=Quilts at the Schweinfurth Museum in NY commented that of all the beautiful quilts in the exhibit, both art and traditional, mine was the one she would choose to take home with her. In the other show, I was thrilled to learn that my whimsical quilt beat some of the beautifully executed Baltimore Album appliquéd quilts. It's very gratifying when people find pleasure in what you do.   
But there are many other memorable days, meeting up with old friends and making new friends at an exhibit or while teaching.

Do you treat art like a job, going to the studio each day at a particular time?

My art is my job. I go into the studio first thing in the morning and, except for garden and household chores, some daily exercise, and meals, I'm there until early evening. Then I join my husband in the living room where I continue doing hand work. I’m very disciplined at keeping track of the hours I work on each piece. I bounce around from project to project during the day to prevent injury from repetitive hand work. A typical day involves quilting on the long arm, some design and construction work, a bit of hand quilting, some rug hooking and finishing the day with hand appliqué or binding. 

Architectural Field Notes by Anne Morell Robinson
 (2015) w30” x h40”

How do you show and sell your quilts? 

Most of my sales are right from my studio. I place rack cards in the visitor centres, I’m on the art and craft trail map and I have a strong online presence. I often enter shows at the Inverness County Centre for the Arts and, of course, the regional SAQA shows. Very occasionally I will put a few pieces in other galleries, but I’ve learned that the sales are better when the customer can meet me face to face and see my working environment.

Do you teach and travel with your art?

I enjoy teaching. A group of keen quilters comes to my studio once a week for guidance and to learn new skills. I travel to teach for guilds and retreats. My trunk shows are also popular. I’ve taught from Newfoundland to Virginia and as far west as British Columbia. Of course, teaching from my own space is best since everything anyone could need is here, but I do enjoy meeting kindred spirits from all over and have formed many lasting friendships by teaching. 
The Bead Seller by Anne Morell Robinson

See more of Anne Morrell Robinson spectacular fibre art on her website, KingRoss Quilts and Fibre Art.

05 June 2018

Amanda McCavour exhibition and two-day workshop in Annapolis Royal NS

ARTsPLACE in Annapolis Royal will host an exhibition of the work of fibre artist Amanda McCavourfrom July 8 through August 26, 2018. Amanda McCavour is a Toronto-based artist who works with stitch to create large-scale embroidered installations. 

Two-day workshop 

Experimental Surfaces: Machine Stitching, Water Soluble Stabilizer and Unexpected Materials

Join Amanda McCavour for a 2-day workshop, August 25 & 26, 2018.  The workshop is co-sponsored by  the Annapolis Region Community Arts Council (ARCAC) and the Society of Fibre Artists of the Annapolis River (SOFAAR)

SAQA member Grace Butland is president of SOFAAR:
"I was delighted when the Annapolis Region Community Arts Council invited SOFAAR to co-sponsor the Amanda McCavour workshop. ARCAC has always been very supportive of fibre artists – both SAQA member Penny Berens and myself have exhibited there – and our two groups frequently look for ways to cooperate on projects. I knew our members would appreciate the opportunity to take a workshop with Amanda, I would like to extend that opportunity to other fibre artists as well."

Workshop details:

$155 ARCAC / SOFAAR members 
$175 for Non-member
PLUS materials fee $35 per person.
Maximum 13
Each participant must bring a sewing machine.
Includes a tour of Amanda's exhibition at ARTsPLACE.
This workshop will focus on constructing dynamic, textured, mixed media surfaces with machine embroidery and Sulky® water-soluble stabilizers. We will explore the use of 3 different types of water-soluble stabilizer to discover and create textile structures with stitch. Students will be encouraged to experiment with an assortment of materials like plastics, papers, and yarns to create a variety of samples exploring different texture and color combinations with a variety of stabilizers. Students will expand these tests into a larger piece, taking the process in their own direction to create wall hangings, scarves or experimental works.
Materials provided by instructor:
Thread: polyester machine embroidery threads.
Water-soluble Stabilizer (Solvy): Each person will get some Sulky® Sticky Fabri Solvy, Sulky® Fabri Solvy
and Sulky® Solvy to try out the different types of stabilizer. Plus smaller scraps of solvy for testing and samples for the first morning of the workshop.

Register for the workshop online, here.  

23 May 2018

2019 Grand National Fibre Art and Quilt Exhibition

As a member of the Grand National Fibre Art and Quilt Exhibition committee, SAQA Atlantic member Kathy Tidswell is inviting quilt and fibre artists from Atlantic Canada to participate in the 2019 thematic exhibition, Still. 

Solitude by Terry Aske


The Grand National is “Still” an entity and the committee challenges you to create a piece using the theme “Still”. For example, your piece could celebrate the longevity of a place, event or idea; demonstrate the ability of an object to be motionless; slice out a millisecond of time in which a continuously moving object can be viewed as frozen in time or let your imagination interpret this theme some other way.

Entries are due April 13, 2019. The show opens in Portage LaPrairie, Manitoba on July 6th 2019. All entrants must be Canadian residents. Additional information and entry forms are available online now. 

The committee is hoping to make the 2019 Grand National a travelling exhibition. Any galleries or groups interested in hosting the exhibition can find out more at www.grandnationalquiltshow.ca or by emailing  grandnationalexhibition@gmail.com

11 May 2018

Lois Wilby Hooper Interview

Iron in the Blood by Lois Wilby Hooper, 2015 w28” x h40”

Lois Wilby Hooper is a self-taught fibre artist from Moores Mills NB. She is known for exploring textile techniques in unusual ways, with unique materials, incorporating traditional needle skills. Lois has shown her work in numerous quilt shows, including solo shows at the Saint John Arts Centre and the Sunbury Shores Arts Centre in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. She has taught various textile-related classes for quilt guilds and for the City of Saint John, NB. 

How would you describe your work?

My current work can best be described as mixed media, incorporating metals, sheers, beads and fabric manipulation. I enjoy the contrast of modern fibres and techniques combined with the traditional, stretching me in new directions. Even so, I find myself sometimes going back to my embroidery roots. 

How did you come to be an artist who works with textiles?

I grew up with sewing and embroidery, heavily influenced by the long line of needle workers on both sides of my family. But I came to quilting much later, during its revival in the 1970s. Initially I made bed quilts for my home, but my work gradually evolved into smaller pieces inspired by traditional patterns. 
Sue Anonymous 1 by Lois Wilby Hooper (1998) w20” by h28”

I “came of age” as a quilter with a 1990 CBC radio interview on Peter Gzoski’s Morningside and the publication of my original quilt pattern, Canadian Seasons, in Canadian Living magazine. The pattern was subsequently republished in the book Quiltworks Across Canada by Gail Hunt. 

My "trial by fire" came in 1998 with my Sue Anonymous series depicting violence and abuse against women. In the years since, I’ve participated in many quilt and art shows, sometimes together with my friend and fellow artist with Sandra Betts

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 don’t have any particular process for creating a piece. Ideas just jump into my head, perhaps inspired by a juxtaposition of colours, the glint of sunlight on water, or fallen leaves. I've always had a good memory for patterns and designs, unconsciously re-arranging shapes and colours mentally, so I can often visualize the finished piece soon after I get the initial idea. At other times, it may take years before I "see" the completed piece or learn a technique that enables me to produce the result I’m looking for.

Fog in the City by Lois Wilby Hooper (2013) w32” x h18”

What features do you most like and dislike about your studio?

Thanks to my wonderfully supportive husband, I have a large studio in what was originally a hay loft above our carriage house. The studio has excellent lighting and ample storage for supplies and unfinished projects. The large space allows me to have numerous projects on the go at once. I love having a private area, connected to the house, where I can work without interruption!

What are your goals for the coming year?

My goal is to get some of my countless unfinished pieces completed or in some way repurposed I hardly need mention that it tends to be my goal every year!

Abandoned by Lois Wilby Hooper (2015) w41” x h38”

How has your life/upbringing influenced your work?

I believe that my love of history and genealogy shows very strongly in much of my work. My experience volunteering in museums and textile collections has given me an appreciation of our rich Maritime heritage. 

Iron in the Blood (top) is a tribute to the railway men who bound this country together with steel rails, often giving their lives in the process. This piece won an Award of Merit at the 2015 Grand National. 

Abandoned (above), is an abandoned boat house, a tribute to the generations of fishermen who worked in such difficult conditions. With the decline of the fishing industry, the buildings and wharves in our harbours are now derelict. My husband's family fished the Bay of Fundy for over 200 years, yet now there are no fishermen left in the family.

Organic by Lois Wilby Hooper w28” x h29”

Do you engage in other artistic or creative endeavors? 

Yes, I'm also a knitting designer. I always have several pieces of knitting and/or wearable art on the needles or hook. Over the past few years I've started to incorporate knitting and fabric manipulation into textile pieces, as well as embroidery and beading. Combining these traditional techniques with unusual fabrics like polyester sheers, Tyvek, cheesecloth, metals and found objects is an ongoing fascination. 

Tell us about your most memorable experience as an artist. 

The Sue Anonymous series stands out as my most memorable experience. To this day, I don't know why it affected me so deeply. Perhaps it was the shock I felt that people could perpetrate such violence against their own family. I was driven to finish that four-piece series, living with it daily and dreaming about it at night until its completion. 

The subject was so taboo at that time that the work was nearly rejected from a quilt show. My battle with "the quilt police" was justified by the numerous women who secretly thanked me and shared their own experiences. 

The Sue Anonymous series has been shown in talks to both artists’ and women's groups and it's as powerful today as it was then. For several years, the series was used as an art display and a teaching tool by the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research. 

What fibre artists are you currently interested in, and why?

British fibre artists such as Maggie Grey, the late Valerie Campbell-Harding, and Yvonne Brown inspire me in the way they explore fibre, design, and techniques. 

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

Because of health issues, I have exhibited very little in the past couple of years. However, I have donated my work to the SAQA benefit auction for seven years now and one of my pieces sold for $1000.00 on the 2015 auction’s Diamond Day. I have also donated my artwork to other SAQA functions as well as several local charities. 

Moon Garden by Lois Wilby Hooper (2013) w24” x h30”