Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fiberlandia Highlights III: The Panels - Part B

Continuing with highlights from the Fiberlandia conference in Portland, OR in early May...

The second of three panels was the Local Artist Panel: Four Artists -- Four Distinct Styles, moderated by Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer, herself a studio artist who taught for ten years in the Studio School at the Oregon College of Art and Craft, and now leads workshops at art and quilt conferences.

The panel members:

Bonnie Bucknam started out in college as an art major but switched to anthropology, focusing on the geology of other cultures and their influences.  She described her work as 'intuitive rather than analytical'.

Bonnie begins her process with 'lots of sketching', and uses 'really close stitching' related to the shapes in and the design of each quilt -- often including hand stitching.  While she believes that everything on the quilt 'needs to have a reason' to be there, she admitted 'Often one thing leads to another'.  Alas, I didn't get any photos of the quilts Bonnie exhibited...but as I recall they were from her 'Geology' series, and featured her beautiful hand-dyed fabrics.

  Sheila Finzer specializes in landscape art quilts using what she describes as a 'collaged or dye painted process'.  She starts with "lots of photos" from nature and, like Bonnie, uses her own hand-dyed fabric in her work.  She described her quilting as "organic", often using an under-painting process, putting down a layer of colour before she begins to add the details.  She looks for high volume contrast where possible to convey the scene.

Her piece "Sunriver Marsh", now part of a private collection, was painted with Procian Dye Paints on white fabric, then free-motion quilted.  Here's a photo of it at the conference -- the hands you see on the left belong to someone trying to get a detail shot!  (Yes, we had permission...)

Sunriver Marsh - Sheila Finzer, 2014
84.75" W x 66.75" L
Jean Wells Keenan: Some of you may recognize Ms. Keenan from her appearances on The Quilt Show, from reading/owning one of her books, or from visiting the annual quilting extravaganza that she spear-headed in Sisters, Oregon.

She's been a fixture in the quilt world for almost 40 years...the last dozen or so of which she's moved from a traditional quilt focus to a studio art quilt focus.  Her 2012 book, Journey to Inspired Art Quilting, documents her shift in style.

Beneath the Earth - Jean Wells Keenan, 2011
18" W x 45" L

Jean's process includes tracing over photos, abstraction, line and shape, striving for a "felt balance".  She cuts her fabrics free-hand.  Her aim is to express what she see and feels as originally as she can.  In addition to creating her art, Jean still loves to teach, continues to manage her shop, the Stitchin' Post, as well as the annual quilt festival she started.

One of the pieces she exhibited at the conference was "Beneath the Earth", from her "Of the Earth" series.

Sidnee Snell left the world of electrical engineering and computer programming just over 20 years ago to pursue a career in art.  She began her talk at Fiberlandia by stating emphatically that she is not inspired by nature!

Like many of us, her work is photo-based.  She uses raw-edge applique -- no fusing! -- and free-motion quilting, and moves from very light to very dark somewhere in each piece.  She particularly likes diagonals -- or creating a sense of the diagonal.

Viewing her art as 'a conversation she is having with herself', in her current work she finds she is 'attracted to a sense of stillness'.  Below, one of Sidnee's "Stillness" pieces. being recorded by my friend Nancy Turbitt of Rhode Island, and Co-Rep for Massachusetts/RI.  :-)

Red Laces - Sidnee Snell, 2012
51" square

One last panel closes the Fiberlandia conference...stay tuned for Panels: Part C: The Art Students...

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Special Reminder...

That behind all the technology and activity, there are real people.  This showed up recently in my blog feed, from SAQA UK/Europe and the Middle East.  

We (your SAQA WC Co-Reps) might not have met all of you...but we want to get to know connect with learn about your life and art...and to miss you if you leave us.

Please...if you are unwell...or even if you're not...let your families know to which communities you belong, so that they can communicate with those communities if something happens to you...whatever or whenever that may be...

Oftentimes, SAQA (Western Canada and beyond) may seem like a very large community...but it is a community, and there are relationships...

(L) Hsin-Chen Lin (Taiwan),
Margaret Blank (SAQA WC - AB)
For example, I met Hsin-Chen Lin (Taiwan) in Portland in May.  Recently there was a major typhoon there...and I was able to connect and find out she and her loved ones were fine -- though she admitted it was indeed a scary time!

And on that note, thank you to the 15 members -- approximately 16% of the WC members -- in addition to us, the Co-Reps -- who took the time to answer the survey sent out in June.  Coleen has collected the responses, and we are taking a good look at them.  Stay tuned for the results!

While you wait...those of you who contributed to "what I'd like to see [in the Region]..."  give some thought to your role in making your vision(s) come to pass.  If you want it to happen, you will have to contribute!  :-)

Welcome to our newest members:

  • Joan Backus, Victoria, B.C.;
  • Darlene Bayley, Edmonton, AB;
  • Jane Bryttan, Vancouver, B.C.;
  • Leslie Comassar, Gabriola Island, B.C.;
  • Theresa Duncan, Calgary, AB; 
  • Mary Wilton, Camrose, AB;
If I've missed anyone, I apologize.  Please contact me at and I will give you a "shout out"!

Up-coming blog posts (in no particular order of appearance):

  • Fiberlandia Conference: Local Artist Panel;
  • Fiberlandia Conference: Student Artist Panel;
  • Constructing a Studio: a visit with B.C. member Lesley Turner;
  • SAQA Benefit Auction 2015...
And...maybe a tour of "Fibre Art Destination 2015 - Weyburn, SK"...courtesy of Co-Rep Val Wilson (MB/SK).

Note: Val tried to gather a group from SK to meet in Weyburn...and each person who expressed interest cancelled at the last minute.  

Now...we all know and acknowledge that, from time to time, "life gets in the way"...but your three (count 'em) Co-Reps cannot cover all of the geographical area that is Western Canada (approximately 29% of Canada's entire land mass) face-to-face.   It's tough to meet in person, yet that's a clear yearning for most of our membership.  If you make a commitment to meet in a central location in your area, when the Co-Rep has made an effort to be there (it's a 5-hour drive from Winnipeg, MB to Weyburn, SK), please do your best to honour your commitment.  

And thank you for your support!