Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Learn About Contemporary Artists with SAQA

SAQA hosts Contemporary Art Talks through one of their Special Interest Groups. These talks feature artists from different walks of life and mediums to help us all learn and be inspired.

 The goal of this group is to provide a casual, supportive, open-minded place for us to actively learn as we discuss and become familiar with contemporary art and artists.

On July 28, 2020 at 1pm EST the featured artist is Julie Mehretu.

Julie Mehretu is an Ethiopian born, American abstract artist known for her expansive canvases that vibrate with energy. This mid career artist layers drawing and painting to record her global perspective on contemporary life. Join guest researcher Nancy Riffle for this presentation.

Details on how to join in can be found here.

Monday, June 8, 2020

The Making of Help Me

Today's feature artist is Diana Bartelings from Rock Creek, BC.
To view more of her work visit:

Diana writes:

The Pacific Ocean is a part of my heritage, having grown up in Vancouver, BC. To know that we are destroying this part of our world strongly affects me. I chose to focus on the wildlife that is caught up in pollution that freely roams the ocean with the tides.
I began with some of my ice dyed fabric that represented the beauty of the ocean itself. I soak my fabric in soda ash, place some in the bottom of a smaller container, cover in ice and sprinkle the Procion MX dye powders on then continue to layer more fabric, ice and dyes until my container is fairly full. I put a lid on it and then let it sit for 24 hours. After that I wash it out using sythropol.

I used commercial fabrics to make the turtle and, in an effort to recycle, an avocado bag for the netting. The diver was appliqued on with recycled cotton as well. We are so careless in the way we discard our garbage that I chose to add a piece of plastic that holds pop, juice or beer cans together. These are often found on sea creatures.  

"Help Me" Diana Bartelings

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Making of Eh, Utopian Sky

Our featured artist this week is Colour with a U artist Dawn Piasta from Manitoba.

 “Eh, Utopian Sky” Dawn Piasta

Dawn writes:

It did not take me long to decide on a subject matter for my Colour with a U submission. I had the idea swimming around in my mind for years.  The design developed as I was studying the works of various Canadian artists.  The style that struck me the strongest was that of Emily Carr.

My subject matter was to be a mix of wild cranberries and the Northern Lights.  Six months after our wedding, as a young bride my husband took me, for the first time, to his family home in Manitoba.  The skies were alive with the Aurora Borealis every night of our visit.  I was bewitched by their vivid colours.  Three years later we moved with our 8-month-old son to a farm just north of Dauphin.  Shortly after our arrival I met my first friend, Angie.  To me she was like the sister I had left behind.  She showed me how to navigate within the new world I now lived.  She had a lot of secret places to reveal. My most treasured memory was the days we went picking wild cranberries along the Wilson River.  The bushes were amber and chartreuse, the berries were scarlet & crimson. This was the vision that would become “Eh, Utopian Sky” I have sadly had to say good by to my friend, but my memories are cherished and are now memorialized in this quilt.

I sourced the fabrics from a resale shop.  Natural fibres of linen, cotton & silk were used. The berries were made using the Aplquick method of applique. The background pattern developed due to the fact that my fingers were raw from applying each berry and stem by hand (without a thimble). 

For more information about Dawn's work please visit her website.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Colour with a U Video Presentation

When the March 2020 SAQA conference MoSAiQA was converted to an online event due to COVID-19 the organizing committee worked hard to create a video featuring all of the wonderful quilts in both Colour with a U and Colour with a U Too. Below is the link to the video in full. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Artwork Calls

As this unprecedented time advances there are two wonderful projects that are accepting submissions of artworks.

First is the Penticton Art Gallery's International Artist Call for You Are Not Alone.

"During this time of self isolation, the Penticton Art Gallery (Penticton, B.C., Canada) in partnership with the association (Nice/Berlin), invites artists from across the globe to participate in an unprecedented art exhibition entitled, You Are Not Alone.

Like a message in a bottle, we are sending out into the world this call to artists working in any and all media, to serve as a testament of our resiliency, creativity, and our collective humanity in the face of these extraordinary times. We hope this exhibition will not only celebrate the power of art, but will serve as a poignant testament and celebration of our diversity, culture, and an important reminder, that regardless of where we live on this planet, we are not alone.

In an age where our society was already becoming increasingly insular, the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic serves to only isolate us even more. In the spirit of the penpal and mail art movement, this exhibition will create a permanent and physical document of our existence in this unprecedented moment in history.

This is your opportunity to reach out to a global audience and share your story and celebrate the beauty and creativity you have brought into this world through your art and by your existence. More now than ever, we need to come together to celebrate our collective humanity in all its diversity of colours, shapes, and sounds.

As part of this project, one can connect and share their art with a global network of artists. Our hope is that through the act of sharing, deep, rich, and meaningful connections will develop that will not only bring us together but may help build bridges of friendship and understanding. No one is immune to this pandemic and we hope this will help us to get through this time by allowing us to share our stories, celebrate our diversity, mourn our losses, and heal as a planet."

To learn about how to submit visit this link.

Are you on Instagram? Would you like to make a quilt block to join the hundreds of artists that are already taking part in the COVID-19 Quilt?
Inspired by this time of social distancing and how it may change or enhance your creativity, share a square image of your block with the Covid19quilt team and write a short statement about what inspired your work. Visit this link for details.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Regional Zoom Meeting Friday April 24

Please join your fellow Western Canada members this Friday, April 24th for a 2020 goals check in. We will chat about how living under these new restrictions has effected your art practice. Are you making masks? Are you being super productive? Are you struggling with your creativity?
We want to hear from you all and support each other through these challenging times.

Times are:
6:00 pm Eastern 
5:00 pm Central 
4:00 pm Mountain
3:00 pm Pacific  

The link to the meeting was sent out in the April Newsletter earlier this week.

Please contact Susan or Jennie for help or with questions.

Photo credit Maggie Vanderweit MoSAiQA Virtual Conference 2020

Saturday, April 18, 2020

SAQA Benefit Auction 2020

The time is now to create your 12 x 12 inch Benefit Auction Piece. This exciting auction takes place online from September 14 to October 4 in 2020.
Proceeds from this auction support SAQA's extensive exhibitions and educational programming.

Deadline to submit your piece is June 1st 2020.
For all the details on submitting visit this link.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Making of Plastic Chowder

A Guest Post by Western Canada member Janet Scruggs
To learn more about Janet visit her website

When I first heard about the Shifting Tides exhibit being comprised of artists from the western areas of the US and Canada, it piqued my interest. We share a lot of the same concerns on the western coast of North America. So this exhibit was an opportunity to speak about issues that might not enter the thoughts of those in other parts of the country.

Translating a concern or an issue into cloth can be challenging. How could I represent the tiny microplastics that have increased so much they are encircling everything and becoming food to organisms?

Plastic Chowder - Janet Scruggs

I decided a collage would be my best method of doing this. I was able to obtain permission to use text from a couple of news articles. These, and the photos were printed directly onto various fabrics. One of my favourites is the result of printing on a thrift store find - a cotton fabric that is like a corduroy but not fuzzy.  I really felt that a raw edge look to the collage would be representative of the look of the ocean and would reflect my current approach to art quilts. Next I created the thread lace to represent the encircling plastic that is spreading. I stitched this initially with two colours of thread and when completed, I found that it did not have enough depth, so I attacked it with markers randomly. My final endeavour was to add several clear beads in strings to represent the tiny micro-plastic bits which are broken down from the plastic.

Plastic Chowder detail - Janet Scruggs 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Shifting Tides in the Press

Shifting Tides: Convergence in Cloth was viewed by Oregon journalist David Bates before 

Newberg's Chehalem Cultural Center closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He wrote a wonderful article including a thoughtful interpretation of Western Canada member Clare Attwell's piece Surging Tides of Consequence.

All three Western Canada members with work in Shifting Tides have agreed to share some behind the scenes details of their pieces here on the blog. Watch for future posts regarding the status of Shifting Tides in our region. At this time we are not sure if the exhibit will in fact be shown at CityScape Community Art Space from May 15 to June 13. We will do our best to inform you all at this time of uncertainty. 

Regardless of the arrival of the physical exhibit in our region we will share as much with you virtually as we can.

Installation of the Shifting Tides in San Jose, California April 2019.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Only Constant is Change

By now I am sure most of you have heard of the changes to the MoSAiQA conference. I share the sentiments of many when I applaud SAQA management's concise decision to cancel the Toronto conference when they did. What amazing work and huge disappointment for the organizing
committee and SAQA staff. As members we are so fortunate to have a devoted team that makes the most of unprecedented situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference starts today March 19 and runs through Saturday March 20.
More details here

Also beginning today is the SAQA Spotlight Auction. This auction is usually the Saturday night fun at the in-person conference. Now anyone can bid on these lovely pieces. 

Robin Fischer - Fire
Jenny Perry - Into the Woods
For more information about bidding in the Spotlight Auction please visit this link.

As we navigate these uncertain times, finding ways to connect virtually can be even more important.
Please keep an eye on this space and your newsletter for ways that we can reach out and support each other across the miles.