Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Great Summer for SAQA WC Artists!

This summer is a great one for taking in work by our Western Canadian members.

"Western Threads", the collaborative show that includes our exhibit, "Meet the Best of the West", is up for a few more weeks (till August 4) at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton.

Several members have pieces in the Focus on Fibre Arts Association's Biennial Juried Show, "Prairies", on through the end of August at the upstairs gallery at Enterprise Square in Edmonton.

And "The Burgess Shale" exhibit is currently on at the Beiseker Station Museum in Beiseker, Alberta through July 30.  It will move to the Sundre Municipal Library for July 30 through August 25.

Alison Cowitz's piece, "Ozzie" has won a red ribbon at this year's Calgary Stampede!  You can see it on display there through Sunday.  Here's what she wrote me yesterday:
I entered a One Block Wonder quilt in the Stampede Western Lifestyles Creative Arts & Crafts Competition last year, and I was really surprised to get a 3rd place ribbon for my first time entering!
As a young girl I loved going to the Calgary Stampede and seeing all the creative things that people would make and enter into the Showcase. I think the competitive nature in me just wanted to enter again, so I raised my bar and pushed hard to finish Ozzie in time for the June 23rd deadline (remember I had him on my design wall over the winter?). A deadline reason to finish is more motivation for me than anything.
Let me mention that the quilting part of finishing a quilt is not my strong suit. I have a background in Graphic Design, so the design and colour part comes easier to me. I had more fun designing and building the piece, but when it came time for the quilting I was almost paralyzed with fear. Where do I start? How do I build this? What do I do in this area? How much is too much? I did take a one day free motion quilting class with Lorraine Stagness (excellent teacher!) a few months ago to warm up my skills. There came a time when I just had to let go of the practicing, put my fears aside and gather the courage to just go for it with Ozzie! So I put my “big girl panties” on and tried. It was really scary at first, then some things started to turn out well, then I became addicted to the possibilities. It was going well until my thread started breaking a lot and my usually wonderful Bernina 820 would only sew in one direction. doubts came flooding in, and then I visited Michael at My Sewing Room here in Calgary, who gave me a crash course in tension, threads and needles (I owe him a 6 pack for that).
I stressed about the finishing, had my quilt done on the day of the deadline and in the end I am very happy with the results. This work represents who I am today. I heard on Friday, the opening day of this year’s Stampede, that there was a red first place ribbon beside my Ozzie! I went down for a look myself, thinking that I must have been the only entrant in this category. It was a VERY humbling experience to see my work hung amongst the many other beautiful works. In fact it's what gives me the jazz to make art quilts. It’s not about the ribbons for me, but to stand up and be counted among other talented traditional and art quilters. To be amongst such talented people is encouraging me to keep doing this with enthusiasm. I am already plotting about what to enter in next years Stampede Competition.
Now Saskatchewan member, Jaynie Himsl, has work in this show in Duncan, B.C.:

She posted about her piece recently on Facebook with this photo:

If you're in the area next month, be sure to stop by and take a closer look at what looks to be a fabulous exhibit!