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.