Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Spotlight Auction Starts April 15th!

The SAQA Spotlight Auction is held during the SAQA Conference every year! The proceeds from this auction support SAQA exhibitions and programming. 

Anyone can bid, whether you are attending the conference or not. 

Details about how to bid can be found here.

Here are some of the pieces in the auction made by Western Canada Members. Support their work and add to your art collection.

Christine Johannink - From Scraps Comes Art

Janet Scruggs - Dendritic Dots

Jaynie Himsl - Floating

Margaret Blank - Spring Run-Off

Marie McEachern - G "Rounded"

Susan Selby - Garden Chives

Michelle Craigen - Purple Iris

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Colour with a U Artist Feature: Janet Scruggs

Colour with a U is still touring Canada and will be on display at The Muse, Lake of the Woods Museum in Ontario from April 6 to May 22, 2021.

Below Janet Scruggs shares the inspiration behind her Portraits, Women I Would Like to Have Met piece.

Janet Scruggs - Portraits, Women I Would Like to Have Met

When thinking about what makes Canada Canada, I thought about our history and
the contribution women have made. There have been so many that I decided to narrow my focus to the Arts. Still a vast array of women who have contributed to our culture. I decided to look at those who were “first” in particular categories of the Arts. This took significant research to narrow down each one of those categories to one woman I felt represented a significant contribution and a first in some way. In
researching each of these women, I felt they embodied characteristics I admired. 

They each battled norms in society and often persevered through personal tragedies or difficulties to achieve their goals. Once I made the choice of whom to include, the task then became finding usable photos of each one. As I worked on each step in the process of creating the photos on cheesecloth and stitching, I felt myself becoming not only an admirer of these women, but a kinship and pride in their efforts and their courage.

Once I had picked the women, it was time to find a usable photograph. There are several sites that have public domain photos and scouring these took many days! Trying to track down and locate relatives to obtain permission of photos on other sites seemed too daunting a task with the time I had available. Sometimes there was only one photo available to use so I had to ensure that it was in the public domain, even if the photographer’s name was known. The next step was to convert these old photos to black and white (instead of browns) and bump the contrast as much as possible. 

Next I used paper lamination to get the photos onto cheesecloth. As the title of the exhibition is Colour with a U, I decided to choose a vibrant colour of hand dyed cheesecloth for each of the women. Luckily I have an overflowing basket of hand dyed cheesecloth pieces to choose from! It saved a lot of time. I also needed to coordinate a fabric for the cheesecloth photo as well, but I have a lot of that also, so it wasn’t too big of a challenge. (I am determined to use only what I possess, so buying new fabric was out of the question.)

Those decisions made, it was time to work through getting the photos onto the cheesecloth. I used the same screen to apply the gel medium as I did want some consistency in the look of the photos, even though one is never too sure what the result will be. This meant doing some of them more than once - after all you do want the face to be there! I no sooner finished this part of the process and hung them upon my design wall when I realized that one photo was wrong - she was much to small within the photo compared to the others. So, back to editing and redoing that one. 

With photos complete, hand stitching followed. Many evenings filled with embroidering the backgrounds and choosing part of their clothing and how to embroider it. I wanted some variety in the stitching so each one is unique. Finally with each one stitched, I sewed the individual portraits to a felt background by hand. Finished…… well almost. 

I realized that if this became part of a travelling exhibit, the cheesecloth (not attached) would be scrunched and mushed up (technical language). So, I added small bits of Misty Fuse around each portrait to ensure that the cheesecloth stayed relatively in place. FINISHED! And, so thrilled when I found out it was accepted as part of the exhibit! While I cannot here provide each life story of these wonderful women, I would encourage you to read about them. 

Briefly, they are:

Esther Hill - First female registered architect & award winning weaver.

Portia White - First internationally acclaimed Black Canadian concert singer. 
A person of national historic significance.

Lucy Maud Montgomery - Author of Anne of Green Gables, one of the best selling books worldwide.  A person of national historic significance.

Mary Augusta Hiester Reid - First Canadian woman to have a solo art exhibit and first woman to have her work in the National Gallery of Canada.

Mary Pickford - 1st Canadian woman to win an Oscar. Co-founder of United Artists Studio.  A star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

E. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) - Mohawk/English author, poet and performer. First Canadian woman, Author and Aboriginal Canadian to be commemorated on a stamp. A person of national historic significance.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

SAQA 2021 Conference Registration Now Open!


This year brings a new opportunity for learning, sharing and connecting with other art quilt lovers for SAQA's annual conference. 

Ocean's Apart Connected by Art is open for registration now!

For this year, we’re going to beautiful Oceania—mainly Australia and New Zealand—for a deep dive into unique, exciting art quilts, and textile art. New York Times bestselling author Austin Kleon will discuss how quilting has inspired his work and ideas about creativity during quarantine. The world’s leading wearable art competition, World of WearableArt, will give us a special look behind the scenes. Prepare to be WOW'd!

To learn more about registration and conference details visit this link.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Calls For Entry & Regional Zoom Meet-up

Touch entry, Turbulent Indigo by Jennie Johnston


There are many wonderful things going on in our art quilt world despite the winter days and social distancing we are still enduring. Check out these details below for some interesting art calls and our next regional Zoom meet up.

Touch Call For Entry Reminder

Susan is accepting entries for the first SAQA Western Canada trunk show! Get your entries to her asap. 

TOUCH - What touches you? What do you touch? Touch can be physical, emotional or spiritual. Touch is part of our well-being, an elemental form of communication, and a lack of touch can affect our physical and emotional health. We say ‘Keep in touch’ to those we wish to have contact with, ‘I’m touched’ as an emotional response or ‘don’t touch’ to keep people away. 

Create an 8” x 10” piece (either orientation) in response to the theme of TOUCH; these will be assembled into a Trunk Show for Western Canadian members to share with groups in their area. The works will be mounted to an 8 ½” x 11” board but will NOT be covered in plastic when shown; the mounting will help protect the pieces from excessive handling and soiling but viewers will be able to see and visually touch the art without a screen of plastic film. 

A plastic envelope will be used to protect the art during shipping and storage. This should be kept in mind when designing and constructing your art quilt; everything must be securely attached and nothing should extend beyond the 8” x 10” measurement or protrude more than ¼” above the surface. Edges may be finished in any way, be uneven or remain unfinished. 

All information about the piece should be attached to the back of the board: title, artist info, artistic statement, materials and techniques.

Email your entry information and direct any questions to susanlselby@gmaildotcom 

City of Lacombe, Alberta Artist Call

The City of Lacombe is seeking four Art Quilters / Fabric Artists to work collaboratively on an art quilt for the Servus Credit Union Room located in the Lacombe Memorial Centre. The Art Quilt will be comprised of four - 3’6”w x 6’ h panels. For example, each panel could be the same image shown in different seasons, or the four panels create one larger scene.

Details for eligibility and how to apply can be found here.

SAQA Western Canada Regional Zoom

Check your email for the Zoom details for the call happening Monday March 8 at 12:00pm Central, 11:00 am Mountain and 10:00 am Pacific time.

SAQA Global Calls For Entry

Fur, Fangs, Feathers & Fins - Call for Entry

Call for Entry Deadline

Celebrate wild animals in their natural environments. From amphibians to apex predators, depict or represent wild birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles doing what comes naturally. Go WILD! 

Words Fail (SAQA Virtual Gallery) - Call for Entry

Call for Entry Deadline

We are visual communicators, and sometimes what we want to say cannot be said in words. Words may be insufficient to describe positive, satisfying, or deliriously happy emotions. Or words may fail us when we try to express strong emotions, retell the story of a moment in time, or describe events that leave us scared, concerned or angry. Our world is filled with an enormous variety of both amazingly beautiful occasions, as well as those that test us in more difficult ways. Symbols, color, composition, or other design elements may provide the narrative to communicate the depth of your story. When our words fail us, imagery can present what we are unable to articulate through words.

Artists are invited to create work that engages viewers in a dialogue based on imagery and composition, exploring the idea that in some cases words are not the most effective means of communication.

For More SAQA Calls for Entry visit this link.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

A Touch of Orange Exhibit

A Touch of Orange, Wilma Brock


The Lower Mainland of Vancouver SAQA Pod has put together a colourful exhibit from February 1st to 27th, 2021 at the White Rock Library, 15342 Buena Vista Avenue in White Rock BC.

The theme was A Touch of Orange and artists were required to use a splash of orange somewhere on their piece. As you can see from a selection of some of the pieces here some artists used more of this vibrant colour than others. 

Autumn Leaves, Judy Leslie

Artist statement:  I chose to design an art piece of varying sized rectangles. A variety of my hand-dyed silks and cottons combined with a variety of brass leaf embellishments added balance and interest.   Thus 'Autumn Leaves' became much more than just a 'Touch of Orange'!
Visit Judy's Website.

Midnight in the Garden Terry Rammell 16 x 16”(framed)
Artist Statement: Midnight in the Garden is 2 layers of silk both of which have been bundled and steamed with leaves and flowers. 
Bottom is silk noile eco printed and then hot wax applied to the leaf prints and over dyed with yellow, orange and fuscia Procion dye. Top layer is silk organza dyed in cochineal and then printed with fresh foliage. 
When laid one over the other the prints merge into one textural piece. Learn more about Terry.

Sierpinski’s Carpet Meets Boy’s Surface, Karlie McChesney

Artists Statement: German mathematician, Werner Boy developed Boy’s surface a 3-fold symmetry with a rotating axis, which turned any 120° will look exactly the same.
Boy’s surface sits on Sierpinski’s carpet. Polish mathematician, Waclaw Sierpinski founded Sierpinski’s carpet, a square cut into 9 equal sub-squares in a 3 by 3 grid with the center removed.

Congratulations to all the artists for your wonderful work.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Colour with a U Artist Features: Victoria Gray & Linda Van Gastel

Colour with a U, the Canada wide SAQA Exhibit is now open for viewing at the St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish Nova Scotia. Details for how to book a visit can be found here.

Today we are featuring two Western Canada artists from the exhibit. Victoria Gray and Linda Van Gastel.

The Eccentric Pianist, Victoria Gray

The Eccentric Pianist detail, Victoria Gray

Artist statement: Canada has produced some very colourful characters, one of them being renowned pianist Glenn Gould who became famous for this interpretations of classical music, particularly with the works of J.S. Bach. But as much as this, he is remembered for his multifarious work including electronic media and radio documentaries, and for his eccentricities such as hypochondria and wearing an overcoat and gloves whenever he played. It takes all types to make a country, a world.


Othello Tunnels, Linda Van Gastel

Artist Statement: Kettle Valley Railway – Othello Tunnels.  The Kettle Valley Railway was built in 1910-1916 to connect the West Coast to the Kootenay region of BC.  The five closely-spaced Othello Tunnels were the most challenging part of the new railway line. This work is based on a public domain photo taken by James Crookall circa 1925.

In Canada’s early years, railways formed critical connections, enabling Canada to welcome and support immigrants willing to settle in widespread communities.  Inclusion has always been a key element of Canadian culture, as has the commitment to maintain cross-country connections.

As a reminder, you can watch a video of the exhibit and find dates for when it will be near you here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Jane Dunnewold Presentation


Join your fellow Western Canada members online to learn from the accomplished and talented artist Jane Dunnewold 

Writing an Effective Artist’s Statement

will be held on 

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

2:00 PM Central

1:00 PM Mountain

12 PM Pacific

Jane Dunnewold teaches and lectures internationally, and has mounted numerous solo exhibitions, including Inspired by the Masters (National Quilt Museum (2020) & Texas Quilt Museum (2018). A second mixed media series featuring re-purposed quilt blocks and gold leaf was exhibited at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas (2017) and more recently at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Fl. 

Her archives were recently acquired by the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Her work won Best of Show in the exhibition Timeless Meditations (Tubac Art Center/2013). She is a recipient of the Quilt Japan Prize, and Gold Prize at the Taegue (Korea) International Textile Exhibition. In 2019 she was name Artist of the Year by the San Antonio Art League.

Dunnewold has authored numerous books, including the classic Complex Cloth (1996) and Art Cloth: A Guide to Surface Design on Fabric (2010.) In 2016 North Light Books published Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Stories to Inspire Artistic Genius. Her recently self-published books, Best of Both Worlds: Enhanced Botanical Printing, and Improvisational Screen Printing are both available world-wide on

She is a former President of the Surface Design Association and currently facilitates a ten month Creative Strength Training community online.

 Link up information will follow closer to the event.

We hope to see you there!

Friday, December 4, 2020

The Making of The Dancer - Colour With a U Too

 Today Cathie Ugrin is sharing how her piece The Dancer came to be. Enjoy!

The Dancer was made as part of a dual Fibre Art/ Photography exhibit entitled ‘VIEWPOINTS: a unique photo-fabric journey’ featuring photographer Dmitry Kirshner and myself. The idea was that the exhibit would feature artwork created by the two of us as we played off of each other’s work. In context of The Dancer, Dmitry took an incredible photograph of a beguiling tree in winter which he called Dancer and I created my piece based on this.


I blew up a photocopied image of Dancer to its actual size of 36” x 24” and traced over all the lines with a fine sharpie to ‘get the image’ in my hands. Through the hours of this meditative work, the plan for the finished piece became clear to me.


I would use Sulky Solvy Water-Soluble Stabilizer as tracing paper and recreate the background on fibre exactly as it appears on Dmitry’s photograph. This would be the element that most accurately connected the photograph and fibre art piece.


From there I trapuntoed, topstitched and appliqued the fabric tree – this element still resembles Dmitry’s tree in the photograph.

Then came the delicate winter-bare branches which always reminded me of a tutu as I was doing my tracing. So much so, I decided to completely break away from the photograph and actually make them into a tutu lending a fantastical element to my fibre art piece. Sewing directly onto the Water-Soluble Stabilizer, I created this filmy, delicate, dark mesh of thread using four different colours and two different types of thread. After immersing the whole thing in water, I was left with just the graceful lace-like thread piece that I then appliqued on to the tree.

Of all the artwork I created for our exhibit VIEWPOINTS, The Dancer was always my favourite. I learned so much as far as technique, inspiration and generally moving outside of my comfort zone. Through the crazy time-consuming process of tracing the photograph, I had an inspired idea, say an image in my head and recreated it into a piece of art I am so proud of. Dmitry and I are very good friends and it was such an honour and a delight to work together with him. Entering The Dancer and being accepted into SAQA Colour with a U Too was the perfect ending to this story.

The Dancer Artist Statement:

In the dead of a Manitoban winter, the ground is covered in a frosty blanket of snow. A tree stands alone … and comes alive.  The frost falls away as her limbs arch gracefully. Dead twigs and branches stitch together to create the illusion of a delicate skirt effortlessly floating. Hovering with the movement imagined, we gaze onto Mother Nature’s Dancer. Resilience, unity, creativity and strength are the unique qualities required to live in one of Canada’s Northern climate cities. We understand and embrace our abounding and unabashed love of what some may call the Canadian Spirit.

 Colour with a U Too will be on display from December 3rd, 2020 to February 17th, 2021 at the J. Franklin Wright Gallery in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Show & Share Western Canada Zoom Meeting

Member Jennie Johnston at the SAQA Western Canada Kelowna Retreat Show & Tell in 2017

This Monday November 30th at 4:00 pm Central, 3:00 pm Mountain, and 2:00 pm Pacific time join your fellow Western Canada SAQA members for a Show and Share. These presentations are an insider look at eight member's work through photos & words. Offer feedback and encouragement and enjoy the community bonding.

Meeting details are in your inboxes!

Friday, November 6, 2020

Your Work on the SAQA Website!

Tension by Natalie Skinner in Opposites Attract SAQA Exhibit

Do you have an artwork featured on the SAQA main website yet?

SAQA is currently accepting submissions for their website collection and members are eligible to submit one piece for consideration. Deadline to submit for this intake is November 30, 2020.

Browse the Collection here.

For more details visit here.

Good luck!