Cathy Miller, The Singing Quilter

Cathy Miller and her husband John put on a great show at our November meeting.  Cathy played guitar and sang  songs she has written about the world of  a quilter, with John accompanying on harmonica and vocals – and sometimes with a laser pointer!  Their performance was held in the beautiful Church Sanctuary at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.  Prominent on stage was one of Cathy’s quilts, made mostly with pre-1972 blocks.

Continue reading “Cathy Miller, The Singing Quilter”

October 2018 – Members Teaching Members

The program at our October meeting was our traditional “Members Teaching Members,” and it was fun, inspiring, and informative, as always.  Several presentations were given by members, and small groups moved from table to table, enjoying demonstrations of hexigons, folded stars, thread painting and machine embroidery, single fold bindings, a super quick table runner, ruler work with machine quilting, and paper piecing. Continue reading “October 2018 – Members Teaching Members”

September 2018 – A New Quilting Season

Les Ωuilt BacksOur September meeting was a busy one after a long, hot summer, and it was great to get together again and look forward to quilting activities ahead.

Thanks to our talented member, Les, who brought her amazing and varied collection of beautiful quilts to accompany her presentation about quilt backs.  As we learned, quilt backs don’t have to be just “the B side” of your quilt.  They can be stars in their own right, and add that ‘”wow factor” that makes a quilt pretty much reversible.  Les has tried many designs on the backs of her quilts.  Some she likes more than others, she told us, but she continues to experiment and learn from each quilt she makes. Continue reading “September 2018 – A New Quilting Season”

Jane Johnstone – Magical Miniature Quilts

IMG_3035_edited-1Jane Johnstone is a local quilter with a self-admitted consuming passion for making small quilts, and we were dazzled by her collection at our May meeting.  The smallest quilt looked to be somewhere around 6 inches by 8 inches in size.

She was introduced to miniature quilts through a course she took, and she was drawn into a world of colour and design, and ever-evolving ideas for new things to try with small pieces of fabric. Continue reading “Jane Johnstone – Magical Miniature Quilts”

Dougal Walker – The Joy of Stitchery

dougal walker apr 2018 bd15Dougal Walker entertained us at our April meeting with stories about her creative journey and a trunk show full of delightful folk art stitchery and colourful modern art quilts.

We were off to a good start when she mentioned the apron that some of us made in Home Economics class back in high school.  Pockets, straps, gathers, pleats, hems, slipstitching – that apron had it all!

Dougal has had many artistic, crafting and sewing interests over the years.  She had her own children’s clothing line called Freckleswear.  Currently, she has a line of patterns called The Freckles Collection, which take her to quilt shows and merchandisers near and far. Continue reading “Dougal Walker – The Joy of Stitchery”

Catherine Nicholls, Textile Artist

Catherine NichollsCatherine Nicholls brought some of her textile art to our March meeting.  She began by telling us that the presentation she was about to give would be her last for the time being, so we were fortunate to have her visit our guild.  She is looking forward to spending lots of time in her new studio on the Sunshine Coast, where she will use her many skills and techniques to create the art that is her passion.  There will be opportunities, also, to be involved with the FibreWorks Studio & Gallery in Madeira Park nearby, after much time spent abroad. Continue reading “Catherine Nicholls, Textile Artist”

Inspired by Africa: How a BC quilter’s art went from West Coast to wild

When Pippa Moore, our January speaker, first left Canada to spend three years in Lesotho in Southern Africa, she took along a quilt she was working on. It was in blues, off-whites and muted forest green. Pippa Moore BC quilt 2

Things changed once she found herself entranced by the vibrant, saturated colours much loved by the African women she set out to support with a grassroots project aimed at teaching them to sew and provide for their families. These “widows and grannies” inspired her with their ability to find joy in seemingly ordinary things, even surrounded as they were by trying circumstances.

In addition to vivid colours, her quilting moved towards more improvisational art, in the tradition of the Gee’s Bend quilters, and she relished the freedom of allowing the fabrics and subject matter to take her in new artistic directions to tell the stories of her African experiences. She likes to use saturated black solids alongside the African fabrics to give the eye “a place to rest”. The end result is arresting art quilts filled with layers of shape, pattern, movement and depth. Fabrics are gathered from many countries, including Egypt, Uganda and South Africa, and range from monochromatic mud cloth to indigo shweshwe.


Her talk gave fascinating insights into how each quilt came to be: for instance, in “There’s an Elephant in my Garden”, she enjoyed pitting the wildness of an elephant against vivid art deco foliage. “Rosetta’s Hope” shows an African women at work in her vegetable garden, made possible by an initiative that brought water to that community (her husband’s work was with this NGO).

Pippa and her husband continue to support the Bitengye Designers, as the group of women she taught to sew call themselves, in part by selling items they have made (some were on sale after our meeting). Proceeds also go to a Widows’ Garden project in Uganda.

More recently, she’s begun to incorporate found objects, such as pottery shards, beads, porcupine quills, shells and leaves into her smaller, newer pieces, all inspired by Africa. Her latest series will be on display in the summer, from July 21st – 28th, at the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery on Vancouver Island.

You can see more of Pippa’s work and read more about her story on her website.

Finding inspiration everywhere

Susan Jensen was the speaker at our November meeting, with a presentation of fabric art entitled “Nature’s Threadwork Landscapes”.

Susan finds her inspiration in nature, everywhere… in the smallest details – such as the tiny veins in yellow maple leaves – and in the largest vistas, such as the beautiful mountains that surround us. The thing, she says, is to really LOOK.

To bring her art to life, she finds her media in some truly odd things… like those bits of thread most of us banish to our thread catchers (who’da thunk?), pieces of unraveling piping and even cotton balls. She brought along a small selection of samples to illustrate her point, which is that almost anything can be used in unique and innovative ways when you’re creating a piece. I say “small”, because in truth, almost anything is fair game, and there are numerous products one can use, even good ole Dippity Do! There are no right or wrong ways, no rules. If you have to steal the tube from inside a roll of toilet paper to use as a paint brush, that’s OK, too (“Just don’t tell my husband,” she says).

Susan also dyes her own fabric to use in her work, uses stamps to make prints and has a range of products to stabilise and manipulate fabric to achieve varying effects. But as she reminded us, in the end each piece is still a quilting project.

S Jensen piece 4 - Nov17

This meeting was also a General Meeting in which changes to the constitution were made, with unanimous approval. The minutes were sent to all members.

There was also a sign-up for our Christmas potluck in December… if you weren’t there, remember to bring something to share and also your Secret Santa Mug Rug! In keeping with the season, our Block of the Month is a tree block. Please bring your block(s) to the next meeting, too.

What you also missed, but can still sign up for, is another Bargello workshop on March 20th, 2018, and, if there’s enough interest, a second retreat in the Fall, since the Spring retreat has been booked up since this year’s retreat. Contact Moira if you are interested.

Linda has come to the end of her term leading the Community Quilts team, and we are looking for someone to take her place. Please consider this opportunity, which involves two sewing days a year, with plenty of help, to make quilts that can be donated to those in need. Contact Linda or Marianne if you’re up for the task!