Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Where Do We Go From Here?

It's cold enough to freeze your Winnebago!
Looking forward over the top of my computer screen I see a grey end-of-December afternoon, fingers of an intermittent "breeze" ruffling the brown leaves on the clematis vine and clattering the trellis hanging outside my window.

Looking backward over this past year in the Western Canada Region, though, there were many moments of inspiration, encouragement and creativity -- enough to warm my heart and send me into 2015 with a smile on my face and hope for another 'good enough' year.

Come into My Parlour...

SAQA's Regional Reps and Co-Reps are charged with trying to have at least one meeting -- a "Parlour Meeting" each year.  In a region the size of Western Canada, with vast distances between members and Reps, this is indeed a challenge.

  • Co-Rep Dawn lives in Dauphin, MB -- two hours' drive to Brandon, over 4 to Winnipeg, almost 5 to Regina, SK, 5 1/2 to Moose Jaw and 6 to Saskatoon.
  • Co-Rep Marg lives in Mirror, AB -- an hour to most of Red Deer, 1 1/2 or 2 to most of Edmonton, 2 1/2 to Calgary, over 4 to Lethbridge or Medicine Hat.
  • Co-Rep Katie lives in Maple Ridge, B.C., in what's referred to as the Lower Mainland -- less than an hour to Vancouver, not to mention the various cities and towns along the way -- but several more hours to get to the Island (including waiting for the ferry) and a good 9 1/2 hours to Prince George.
Nonetheless, a group in the Lower Mainland meets every two months for 'Show and Shine', and this group hosted a very successful weekend workshop, lecture and slideshow with artist Pat Pauly in October.  

Margaret managed to combine one Parlour Meeting (over lunch) with an intrepid group of members at a workshop with Susan Purney Mark in the midst of a September snowstorm in Calgary that felled trees and downed power lines.  At that meeting, members expressed a desire to continue to get together; member Marie McEachern has volunteered to organize a meeting as soon as she returns from her winter hide-away down south...some time in March.  Those in the Calgary area, please look Marie up in the SAQA membership directory and get in touch so she knows you're interested!

On tap for 2015...perhaps a local members' show in the Lower Mainland (ideas are forming), perhaps a meeting "down south" timed around Quilt Canada in Lethbridge (June), perhaps an online "Go to Meeting"...

Watch this space -- and read your Regional e-news to stay informed!

"F" is for 'Fascination'

2014 began with a reminder of the Call for Entry for the SAQA 25th Anniversary Trunk Show.  Section "F" of this show has been touring western Canada since Katie Stein Sather brought it into B.C. in June.  It's been here in Alberta since the beginning of November -- an apparent source of fascination for the three guilds to which its been shown -- Central Alberta (Red Deer), Stettler and Sylvan Lake.  There's one more stop -- Calgary on January 2 -- before it moves on to Manitoba to work its magic there.

Members fully engaged with the Trunk Show
Sylvan Lake Quilters' Guild, December 9, 2014

Where in the world is The Burgess Shale?  

This is the question I tried to answer in my regular Regional newsletters, and on the blog's "Networking" page.  Under the auspices of TREX and the Alberta Society of Artists, this all-Western-Canadian exhibit continues to tour the province.  Patti Morris kicked off the tour with her Artist's Visit to the first venue, Annie Gaetz School in Red Deer.  Hanne Seidl paid an Artist's Visit to the show during its stay at the Exshaw Public Library.  Leslie Barnes, Deborah Bray and I fired up an art class making fabric postcards when it toured at St. Albert the Great School in Calgary.

Best of all, at one of the venues it caught the serious attention of Mr. Godfrey Nowlan, a member of the board of the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation...who made introductions and got the ball rolling for the exhibit to move into a permanent home in Field, B.C.  A dream come true -- this will happen at the end of the TREX tour at the end of August, 2015.

Show and Shine -- Indeed!

Members across the Region participated in several art quilt exhibits this year -- whether with SAQA, the SDA (Surface Design Association), FAN (Fibre Arts Network), FFAA (Focus on Fibre Arts) or with guilds and/or groups in their home towns:

  • B.C. members -- including Kristen Rohr and Gloria Daly -- who belong to both SAQA and the Vancouver Island SDA -- participated in "Current Threads" at the Nanaimo Art Gallery in January and early February;
  • Margie Davidson of Edmonton had a solo exhibit of her installation, "Measuring a Year", at the McMullen Gallery, University of Edmonton, from late March through early May.
  • Ilse Anysas-Salkauskas, Diane Duncan and Wendy Klotz of Calgary participated in SDA Alberta's "What's on the Surface?" exhibit at Atlantis Framing and Art Studio, Calgary, in April.
  • "Meet the Best of the West" -- the first of SAQA WC's two touring exhibits, curated by Patti Morris of Red Deer, completed it's two-year tour with a four-month stay at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, as part of the collaborative exhibit, "Western Threads" which ran from April through the end of July.
  • At the Central Alberta Quilt Guild Show in Red Deer in early April, member Wendy Greber won a "Best of Show: Art/Innovative" for her piece featuring a beautiful rendition of aspen.
  • Karen Jurek's piece, "Cu Later", is part of the the SAQA exhibit, "Radical Elements", which opened at the Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, Silver Spring, Maryland, in May, and continues to tour.  It's next booking is at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., opening in April 2015 and running through September.
  • Several members participated in "Prairies" -- the 2014 Biennial Juried Show curated by the Focus on Fibre Arts Association out of Edmonton.  It toured venues in Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan before it closed at the end of November.  Contributing members included Anna Hergert (SK), Jaynie Himsl (SK), Paula Jolly (SK) and Margaret Blank (AB). 
  • In June and July, B.C. member Catherine Nicholls re-united with her UK partners, Linda and Laura Kemshall when as thr3fold, they held the exhibit "thr3fold: unfinished business" at FibreWorks Studios on the Sunshine Coast.
  • Diane Duncan of Calgary was a contributor to the Alberta Society of Artists' exhibit, "Self Portraits: Within the Artist", in the Northern and Southern Jubilee Auditoriums fro May through July.
  • In the fall the Quilted Mouse Guild of Calgary held a successful exhibit at the Fish Creek Library, including work by Calgary members Alison Cowitz, Diane Duncan and Trudy Cowan.
  • In October,  B.C. member Catherine Nicholls had work in "Wonderland", presented by the North Vancouver Community Arts Council.  
  • Seven members contributed pieces to the SAQA Benefit Auction for 2014: Marie McEachern (Calgary, AB), Terry Aske (New Westminster, B.C.), Patti Morris (Red Deer, AB), Jaynie Himsl (Weyburn, SK), Susan Purney Mark (Victoria, B.C.), Anne Rayner-Gould (Greenwood, B.C.) and Margaret Blank (Mirror, AB) -- and all pieces were sold successfully.
It's been a year full and rich -- and 2015 is bound to be another such year -- beginning with "Our Prairie in Fibre", an exhibit of almost 40 pieces of textile art curated by Saskatoon artist, Monika Kinner-Whalen, which opens January 16 in Saskatoon.  Participating SAQA WC members include Judith Panson (Lockport, MB), Jaynie Himsl (Weyburn, SK) and Rita St. Amant (Willow Bunch, SK).  Artists include quilters, thread painters, embroiderers, rug hookers, creators of wearable art, felters...If you're in the area, do go and see what looks to be a remarkable exhibit!

As to Membership...

Our numbers remain consistently between 88 and 90.  This year we welcomed these artists to SAQA Western Canada:

Between February and May:
  • Michelle Gibson, Calgary, AB;
  • Mary Ann Hardy, Nanoose, B.C.;
  • Trudy Jaskela, North Vancouver, B.C.;
  • Linda Kallos, Duncan, B.C.;
  • Anna-Maria Lawrie, Prince George, B.C.;
  • Anne Wise, Lake Country, B.C.
  • Trisha Joel, Gibsons, B.C.
  • Dianne Firth, Edmonton, AB;
  • Donna Herman, Saskatoon, SK
I hope I (Margaret) will meet several of you when I take the Anniversary Trunk Show to Quilt Canada in Lethbridge (June 4-6) -- if not at Fiberlandia in Portland, OR (April 30 - May 3). 

Best wishes to all for a healthy, happy, creative 2015!  
- Margaret, Katie and Dawn

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