The Art

The Festival of Quilts, Part Two

As you know this was my first quilt show and it was amazing! In the last post I talked about the artists, the friends and the merchandise, this time it’s the quilts.

Here are just a few photos to show the variety and quality of the quilts on display. I haven’t included the artist’s names as I lost my book and hadn’t written them down. Please be assured that I respect every one of them and just want to share their fabulous work with others.

Again, thank you to Amanda for many of these photos.



The piecing in this quilt was impeccable. No cut off points here! It was also a beautiful example of a monochromatic colour palette.











The quality of the quilting on many quilts was incredible as shown in the front and back view of this quilt.











This quilt shows how simple can be very striking. I feel what makes this quilt so beautiful is the complexity and delicacy of the tree branches against the lightness of the sky.

Art Quilts

bornemisza                  cogs





Bornemisza 1


       Miryam      Yde

There were so many exquisite art quilts that it was impossible to choose which ones I liked the best. These small narrow quilts were about 15 cm high and most were a meter long. They made a band around the outside of the enclosure for the Art 30 exhibition.

It was fun to look at each one and try to name the artist Can you? They are Eszter Bornemisza, Jette Clover, Miryam Pet-Jacobs and Charlotte Yde.

I would have loved to take home these exquisite miniature masterpieces!


cutout              cutout detail

This very dimensional quilt was made by paper lamination which was then cut into diamond patterns and the layers folded back and tacked into place.


Dark Harvest by Claire Smith

This fascinating quilt was part of the Through Our Hands exhibition. It began as white sheer fabric that had been intricately seamed. A rack above each panel held white plastic cups of dye. A thread emerged from a minute hole in the bottom of each cup and touched the upper edge of the panel. Throughout the exhibition the dye wicked onto the fabric and down the panel, concentrating in the thicker seamed areas. Bowls of sand collected the residual dye.

Each time you passed the exhibition you felt you had to check in to see how the pattern of dye had changed.

This incredible conceptual quilt pushed the boundaries of the definition of a quilt to that of a continually evolving installation piece.


Seeing such outstanding work is both exhilarating and humbling. I constantly alternated between ” I want to do that!” and “I’ll never be able to do that!”

Such an amazing experience!

The Winners

There were many categories to participate in at the Festival. The see the winning quilts in each one just click here.



The WOW Factor

The Festival Of Quilts

For four whole days in August I felt like an eight year old visiting Disney World for the first time, or maybe like a star struck teenager at my first rock concert. It was magic!

Having never been to a quilt festival before I was very excited but not sure what to expect. I knew that there would be lots of fabulous quilts to look at and some workshops and lectures to attend and, of course, abundant opportunity for self-indulgent retail therapy.

You Can Never Have Too Much Thread!

You can never have too much thread!

What I hadn’t realized was the people aspect of the experience.


First of all, I shared the festival experience with my good friend and quilting buddy Amanda. We both had a quilt in the exhibition so had to have our photos taken in front of them.

Amanda's Stunning Quilt!

Amanda’s stunning quilt!


My Quilt at FOQ!

My quilt at the Festival of Quilts!

Then we had the opportunity to meet some of our online quilting friends for the first time. We shared many happy hours chatting, looking at glorious quilts and buying important, must have items. I felt as if I had known them forever.

Manning the SAQA booth with Maggi Birchenough

Manning the SAQA booth with Maggi Birchenough


Preserving the Moment for Posterity: Nicole, Margy, Amanda and I from the Latitudes Quilt Group

Preserving the Moment for Posterity: Nicole, Margy, Amanda and I from the Latitude Quilts Group


Rock Stars!

But for me one of the most exciting parts was meeting so many of the artists whose books I had bought and studied and whose work I had admired for so long and having the chance to see their art in real life.

We attended a couple of lectures with luminaries such as Pauline Burbidge and Susan Lenz.

Susan Lentz

Susan Lenz

We also spent time in the Open Studio watching artists Claire Benn and Claudia Helmer work on pieces and answer questions. They were always generous with their knowledge and very approachable and helpful.

Claire Benn in the Open Studio

Claire Benn in the Open Studio

We had several chances to talk with some of our quilting heroes.

Annabel Rainbow

Linda Barlow

Claudia Helmer

Claudia Helmer and I in front of her piece Empty Words


Annabel Rainbow working on her latest quilt during the festival.

Annabel Rainbow working on her latest quilt during the festival.

I am quite a shy person but I managed to overcome my natural reticence enough to introduce myself to Mirjam Pet-Jacobs, Alicia Merritt and other super stars so that I could tell them how much I loved their work. They were all extremely friendly and some even gave me a hug!

It is truly amazing to feel a part of such a friendly, welcoming and creative group of people.

Oh yes, there were also some quilts!

More about them, with pictures and links, next week.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the photos from our big adventure. We need to thank Amanda for diligently taking pictures throughout the four days while I just ogled everything and everybody like a teenage groupie.



The Magic is in the Details

The Painted Boat

There are many aspects of quilting that I enjoy; the planning, the colour palette selection, the problem solving, but the thing that I love the most is the time I spend creating the details and depth in the piece.

This past week has been great fun, hours of staring at a photo, judging colour matches and shapes and then executing them to the best of my ability on the quilt.

While I am focused on small areas I don’t see the overall effect of adding in the details. The magic occurs when I sit back and look at the area in its entirety.

This is what my week has accomplished.

The original photo


The appliqued boat


The painted boat



I have taken a bit of artistic licence and made the colour palette a bit brighter. The shapes can change a bit but I think that the overall impression is there.

When people ask me what I do all day I say I’m an artist. They often then ask if I paint and usually I say no, I quilt. I’m now thinking of saying yes I do, but on fabric. That might lead to some interesting conversations other than my great-aunt quilted too!

And Now For a Break …

We leave for the UK on Wednesday which will be part holiday and part family visiting and four days at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. I am very excited as this will be my first ever quilt exhibition and the FOQ is among the best in the world.

I also hope to meet many other people who share my passion so if you are attending the FOQ I hope we can meet.

I will be back August 18 and will resume my blogging as soon as the jet lag cobwebs allow.

I hope you also have some fun things planned for your Summer.


The End of the Beginning

First There Were Mountains

In the beginning there were mountains,


then there was a ship


and eventually some people.



All of these elements came together to give visual form to a thought.



And now the canvas is ready, the paints are set out and the next part of the journey begins, adding the details to flesh out the thought.


Mountain Making

And So It Begins

This week was all about making a start on the Diaspora quilt. Where to begin!

I thought that I would start with the mountains that form the backdrop for the image. I enlarged my line drawing to 78 x 49 inches and loaded it into to cut it up into 49 pieces and then I printed each piece out. I joined all the pieces to form the image and then cut off the section that contained the mountains.

Here is the master copy on my easel with a photo light set up behind it ready for tracing on fusible.



After two days of tracing, I had the outline of 435 pieces ready to fuse to the appropriate fabrics.

Working with so many pieces requires a system to maintain order and your sanity. Having to pick through 435 pieces to find one specific piece is definitely a “NO”!  so I divided the mountains into four sections and gave each section a different colour. I then numbered the pieces in each colour zone from one to whatever was needed. Now I could quickly see that a particular piece was # 131  from the pink section.

Here are the 435 pieces traced on the fusible before rough cutting them to fuse to the fabric.



Based on my photos, I chose a palette of five colours for the mountains. I gave the colours numbers and wrote the number on each piece as I traced it from the master copy.

Here are the fusible pieces organised by fabric colour waiting to be fused before the final cutting.



The pieces were then reorganized into their zone colours for assembly.

Because of the complexity of the image and since the background fabric is black, I decided to fuse the mountain shapes together on Teflon sheets to create three large pieces that would be easier to apply to the quilt background.

Here are the assembled mountains on the design wall still fused to the Teflon sheets.



The design is unimpressive at this stage but I like to use applique to create the foundation colour for the painting and thread sketching that will add depth and texture to the area.

Phew! That was a lot of work. Thank goodness that I have years of jigsaw puzzle making experience that I can call on.

Now for a boat!



Telling a Story

The Back Story

In the last post I showed the photos that are the basis for my diaspora quilt entry. This is the story behind this quilt.

In the mid-1700’s, the French and the British who had colonized the eastern part of Canada went to war to gain control of the territory. The French Acadians and the Micmac Indians fought with the French.

The British prevailed and became the government of the region. Although the war was over, some resistance remained from the Acadians and the Micmac. The British decided that to bring peace to the new country they would expel all the Acadians whether they took part in the resistance or not.

After confiscating their lands, the British herded the Acadians onto ships and sent them out to sea. Some were sent to Britain, some to France and some to the new colonies in the present United States. No attempt was made to keep families together and some were never reunited.

Many ships were lost at sea but some made it as far as Louisiana where the Acadians settled among the Spanish colonists. They eventually became known as the Cadians and later as the Cajuns.

Their French culture remains to this day in their speech and their music.


The Visual Story

The question is always how to tell a story in an image with a broad enough context to allow interpretation by the viewer based on personal knowledge and experience. Very few people know the story of the Expulsion of the Acadians however taking to the sea in boats, whether willingly or unwillingly or out of desperation, in search of a better life is unfortunately a very common occurrence throughout the world. Although some refugees may arrive safely, many are lost at sea.

Here is a line drawing of the design for my quilt:

diaspora scan

















Can you see the parts of the photos that I used in the design?

The quilt will be about 80 x 42 inches.

What would you interpret from this image if you didn’t know the back story?

%d bloggers like this: