Friday, October 4, 2019

It's October 4...

And that means there are fewer than three (count 'em!) months left to the deadline for entering the "Colour With a 'U'" Call for Entry.  SAQA WC's Co-Rep for MB/SK is on the committee charged with recruiting artists for this exhibit, and she's sending along these words to encourage any who are working on their entries, have just started them, are still pondering them, or didn't plan to answer the Call.  You know who you are... 😉

You will never have a better chance!
You will never have a better chance to have your work accepted into a SAQA exhibit.  The ‘Colour with a U’ call for entry is an all Canada  and Canada only SAQA  show.  The exhibit organizers are expecting about 100 artists to enter pieces into this call.  Between 30 and 45 pieces will be chosen for ‘Colour with a U’ and a further 10 to 12 pieces chosen for a smaller exhibit ‘Colour with a U Too’.  Both will tour around Canada for three years.
Can you do the math?  Your chances of your work being chosen are excellent, especially since only one work per artist will be accepted.  The deadline is January 3, 2020:  you have time.
You will be able to take ‘Get into a SAQA Show” off of your bucket list.
-- Susan Selby, SAQA WC Co-Rep, MB/SK
  (emphasis from the Blog Editor) 

Monday, September 30, 2019

Week Three at the Benefit Auction!

The final week of the 2019 SAQA Benefit Auction -- Section Three selections -- kicks off this afternoon.  Congratulations to Karen Johnson, Linda Ingham, Marie McEachern, Susan Selby and Terry Rammel, all SAQA Western Canada members whose work sold in Section 2.  Unsold quilts remain available for purchase in the SAQA Store through December -- and there's a great selection, perfect for holiday gifts!

This third section includes work by these Western Canada members:

The selection also includes pieces by a number of well-known artists, among them Margaret Abramshe, Susan Shie, Deborah Boschert, Jean Wells Keenan, Judith Trager, Jane Dunnewold, and Katie Pasquini Masopust.  What wonderful company we get to keep when we participate in SAQA's fund-raising auctions!  Our next opportunity to contribute will be the Spotlight Auction for MoSAiQA, the 2020 Conference in Toronto.  Submission forms will be available November 1. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The K's Have It!

Karen Cummings and Karlie McChesney, that is.  Both have exhibits on now and in the near future that came to my attention this week.

Karen Cummings shows and sells her work at the Okanagan Art Gallery in Osoyoos, B.C.  It's a co-operative gallery that features the work of twenty-five artists, including Karen.  She says that she tries to change out the works every two months, and that she creates an e-mail invitation each time she has a new showing.  When she posted the photo of this single piece on Facebook, she reported that is was only her third 'statement' piece -- and a powerful statement it is too!

Someone Knows - (C) Karen Cummings

Someone Knows - Detail

This is Karen's statement about this particular work:

The above piece will be at the Okanagan Art Gallery through October and November.  There will be a reception at the Gallery on Friday, October 4, 2019 -- in the tradition of their First Friday events, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.  Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at 8302 Main Street, Osoyoos, B.C.  (Call 778-437-2238 or e-mail for more information.)

Meanwhile, Karen is now working on three large pieces featuring the hand-printed fabric with which she enjoys working.  We look forward to seeing more of your work, Karen!

*****    *****    *****

Another B.C. member, Karlie Norris McChesney is known for her work featuring complex and colourful geometric shapes that appear three-dimensional.  Last June her work was included in the Fraser Valley Biennale at the O'Connor Group Gallery in Chilliwack. B.C

Karlie explains, "The 2019 Fraser Valley Regional Biennale is a dynamic, collective representation of exceptional artwork produced by artists in the Fraser Valley region over the past two years. Small, tailored iterations of the exhibition will be presented at multiple venues throughout 2019, culminating in a full showing at The Reach from October to December.  The exhibition is planned by The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford in partnership with the Abbotsford Arts Council, the Mission Arts Council, the Kent Harrison Arts Council, and the Chilliwack Visual Artist Association."

In her statement about the work showing in the Biennale, Karlie writes:
All things mathematical inspire me.  I love to solve puzzles especially those with 3-D form; like origami modulars.  I am drawn to the accurate meticulousness required to make origami. It has a simple complexity; simple because it is paper folded and creased, and complexity because intricate shapes are constructed. I became even more intrigued with origami after watching the documentary 'Between the Folds' by PBS's Independent Lens. It demonstrated how mathematics and physics have informed origami structure.
My work explores how 3-D models can be represented in a 2-D format. 'Box Patterns' depicts 7 of my favourite origami boxes accompanied by the unfolded paper pattern to assemble the box.  The colour on the 'pattern' piece shows the placements of the inside, outside, and hidden parts of the folded paper used to construct the box.  The plastic embellishments tell the number of papers used and folds needed to make each box.

Karlie is also pleased to announce that she's returning to the O'Connor Group Gallery for a solo exhibit  that runs from early October through mid-November...

About her work for "Crossroads", Karlie shared this information:

Karlie's art making frequently explores her love of perspective and structural form.  Her art practice requires much measuring, calculating and arranging of colour, so much so that her work is a form of puzzle solving. Her preferred medium is fibre in the form of stitched textiles with an element of mixed media applied to the surface or standing as an installation accompanying the 2D work; these materials include paint, paper, plastic, metal, clay, and/or wood.
This body of work is her response to a time of great change in her life, where many decisions were required. All the pieces of work contain a path representing the choices a person has available to them and a container representing the restrictions or parameters that influence the decision making process.
Karlie is a retired art teacher from the Chilliwack School District.  She is an active member in SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Association), FAN (Fibre Art Network) and in the CVAA (Chilliwack Visual Artists Association).
This is Karlie's first solo exhibition and she is very excited to share it with you. She invites everyone to join her at the Opening Reception on October 12, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in the O'Connor Group Art Gallery, 9201 Corbould Street, Chilliwack, B.C.  
The exhibition runs from October 10 to November 16. Gallery hours are 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm, Wednesday to Saturday, as well as 6:30 – 7:00 pm preceding evening theatre performances.  Admission is free.

(C) Karle Norris McChesney

If you are able to view one or both of these exhibits, we're certain they won't disappoint!

Thanks to Karen and Karlie for sharing this news with their colleagues 
through the SAQA WC blog.

Monday, September 23, 2019

The 2019 Benefit Auction Rolls Along!

First off, congratulations to SAQA WC members Judy Leslie, Debbie Plett and Nancy Riemersma, whose pieces were sold in Section 1 of the bidding!  (Pieces that aren't sold during the auction are still available for purchase in the SAQA store, at $100 USD plus shipping.)

Section 2 is now open for bidding.  Again, it's getting off to a slow start (only 1 piece purchased as of this writing at 4:40 p.m. Mountain Time) Yogi Berra used to say, "It's never over till it's over!" 

One hundred and six quilts have already been sold, for a total of $20,850 USD (That's over $27,400 CAD!)  That's a lot of funding for education about art quilts, and for shipping!  With postage costs destined to increase now that the U.S. appears to be pulling out of the international Universal Postal Union, this is valuable support from our members to keep our work "out there" going forward.

And who in the Western Canada region is showing in Section 2, you ask?

What a variety of styles, palettes and compositions!  Prices on these pieces decline daily through Saturday, September 29.  For details on how to bid, or how the auction works, click HERE

And thanks to everyone whose contributions will make this auction successful!  😊

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Following the Auction...

The Annual SAQA Benefit Auction got underway on Friday, with three pieces selling on "Diamond Day"...but NOW the fun really starts, as the first section is up for bid for this week.  With the starting price of $750 from noon (Mountain Time) on September 16, dropping to $550 at noon today and so's off to a slow start.

I'm thinkin' folks are waiting to see "how low will they go?" before putting in a bid.  That's what makes this sort of gamble rather fun.

Looking through the pieces up for sale in Section One, who's there from SAQA Western Canada?  I found...




A diverse and interesting selection!  If one of these would suit you -- or be the perfect gift for someone you know, take note...and keep your eye on the auction to get in at the right time, the right price!  Prices drop daily through September 21.  For more information on pricing and other Benefit Auction details, check the Guide & FAQs -- and have fun!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Registration is Opening...

for Valerie Wilson's latest workshop, Facial Expressions.  

Does this describe you?

  • You want to create a portrait in fabric but don't know where to start;
  • There's a photo of a grandchild, parent, friend or spouse that you would like to do in fabric; or
  • You simply want to try something new. 

If so, Val invites you to sign up for this workshop to learn more about the ins and outs of creating fabric portraits.  You can get all of the details and to register, click HERE.  

Detail of Val's "Hockey Boy"

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

You're Invited to Join the Conversation!

That was the "fall-out" from the First Ever SAQA WC Regional "Zoom" Meeting on Sunday, August 18th.  There were six of your SAQA WC colleagues in attendance -- and two of them were your Co-Reps, Jennie Johnston of B.C. and Susan Selby for MB/SK.  Three more were former Co-Reps -- Valerie Wilson, Dawn Piasta and yours truly (Margaret Blank).  Brigitte Red from B.C. rounded out the group.  Perhaps more of you might have been there but were out of town; nonetheless...we missed you!

It's hoped that there'll be another such online gathering in a few months, so please stay tuned for date and time - because you missed an interesting and inspiring hour of getting-to-know-you-better conversation.

One of the topics that took up a great deal of our time together was the subject of Entering Juried Shows: the themes, the size requirements, the costs, the benefits, the nerves (Rejection?!  Aaaargh!)  

Each one of us has experienced the highs and lows that come from Putting Our Work Out There in public -- whether in a group show, a solo exhibit, in a gallery or Show-and-Sale, or as an Artist in Residence.

Most recently, Susan's been celebrating the acceptance of a piece to the SAQA Juried Global Exhibit, Upcycle! which opens at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX, this fall.  I mentioned this in the post introducing her to our Region -- but now she's been able to share with us a photo of her piece entitled Riparian Autumn:

Riparian Autumn - Susan Selby

Specific to this discussion was the Call for Entry for the up-coming All-Canadian exhibit, Colour with a 'U'.   More than one of us expressed reservations about the theme -- mainly because, well, we just couldn't seem to "get it"!

But Susan?  She was excited!  She urged us to read the Prospectus at least a dozen times, slowly, carefully and thoughtfully.

After the Zoom call ended, I did just that...and got an idea for a piece that is now in the "research-and-sample" stage.  Clearly Susan's enthusiasm was catching...and so I'm sharing it with you now -- in her own words:

Colour with a U: You Should Read it Once More

...and then once more again.
I have been encouraging fellow fibre artists to enter “Colour with a 'U’", the upcoming SAQA Canadian exhibit opening in March 2020.  A few artists have told me they are having difficulty finding their creative inspiration for this show.  I have encouraged them to read theCall for Entry several times, focusing on one section at a time.  The theme is very broad, the size has very few restrictions and many interpretations are possible, making the choice challenging.
So, I encourage you to read the call again, find a phrase that speaks to you, let it simmer in your artistic brain and then be inspired to create. Some of the words I like are unusual, unexpected, unbound (you mean we don’t have to finish the edges?) and uncanny; all words to describe fibre art and fibre artists.  The theme is Canadian values of diversity and inclusion; our art is certainly diverse and includes anything and everything we can dream of. There are questions asked such as ‘How do you colour yourself into our Canadian culture?’ Your art can answer one of these questions.  
One discouraged member just wrote to say she has found her creative spark with a further reading of the prospectus and is off and running with enthusiasm.  We still have four months before the deadline of January 3, 2020, which gives us plenty of time to work.
And while you are visiting the SAQA site, watch out for more news about the SAQA 2020 Conference in Toronto.  I hope to see you there.
Now to find my own inspiration,
Susan Selby, 
SAQA Western Canada co-Representative (MB/SK)

Meanwhile, Valerie Wilson can help -- if you have an idea for the Call for Entry but...
  • You want to know how to blend values;
  • You want to be able to determine value in fabrics;
  • You want to be able to select fabrics in the right values for a portrait; and/or
  • You want to be able to to use shading to create dimension.
She asks you to imagine for a moment what it would be like to: 
  • Easily identify value and choose fabrics effortlessly;
  • Know how to blend values; and
  • Create depth and shading in a portrait.
And she assures you this can happen!

Valerie has mounted a FREE Five-Day Values Challenge that offers to help you develop these skills -- which just might give you the confidence to answer that Call.  Check out her website HERE for more information.

Monday, August 12, 2019

ON NOW in the Gulf Islands

It opened on July 25, but this exhibit by the members of Island Textile Artists (ITA) will be up through August 30 -- in the front lobby gallery of Artspring, Salt Spring Island.  SAQA WC member Karen Selk has a piece in the exhibit, so if you're travelling 'round the Islands in the next few weeks, do try to stop in!

Artspring is located at 100 Jackson Avenue, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Karen tells us she also has a piece in an exhibit entitled Connections coming up in Arizona in October, so stay tuned for more about her work. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

"All Things Must Pass"...

A reminder from Co-Rep Susan Selby:  Grand National 2019 is currently on exhibit in Portage la Prairie, MB.  The Exhibit closes August 10 so if you're in the area and want to see it, now's the time!

Still in Manitoba?  Articulation's current exhibit, Connected Heritage, including work from SAQA WC members Lesley Turner and Wendy Klotz, is on in Gimli through September 2.

But if you are in central Alberta, and want a road trip up to Camrose, you can visit a variety of locations there for their 2019 Art Walk.  SAQA WC members Mary Wilton and Margaret Blank have pieces in Section 1 of this two-part event -- currently showing at the Jeanne & Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre through August 11.  Section 2 of this event opens on August 15.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Carefully Curated Collections

In recent months, browsing around Facebook, I've come across memes that describe yarn and or fabric stashes as "carefully curated collections".  Given that they are bouquets of colour, texture and inspiration, I'm not the least surprised!  Doesn't a "c c c" sound so much more artistic than a stash?

That said, to truly put together a collection -- to convey a theme through gathering a selection of art work or by commissioning a group to create one -- isn't always as easy as all that.  It takes time, effort and thought -- not to mention, in the case of a themed commission, the challenge of creating it from the ground up!

Articulation Textile Group, including SAQA WC members Lesley Turner and Wendy Klotz,  recently mounted a new collection of work entitled Connected Heritage, at the New Iceland Heritage Museum in Gimli, MB.

This exhibit began when the group visited the area in 2016 for its annual study session...and the results are now ready for the public to enjoy and ponder through Labour Day, September 2.  Lesley describes her experience with this project on her blog -- with links to earlier posts about the study session -- and Articulation's own website has additional insights posted HERE.

Meanwhile, SAQA members can once again try their hand at creating their own Carefully Curated Collection -- using the artwork contributed to the SAQA Benefit Auction for 2019.  Anyone can challenge him/herself to assemble a Dream Collection -- what one might want to collect for one's home, office or studio, if money were no object.

Several members have done so already (including yours truly)...and at least four of the Dream Collections include work from SAQA WC members!

Look for these...

  • "All Margarets" created by Margaret Phillips;
  • "Trees" created by Sue Rasmussen;
  • "Marvelously Minimal" created by Connie Griner; and
  • "Nature" created by Rebecca Richard-Shupert.
See if you can find the work of your colleague(s) in each one -- and be inspired to create a Dream Collection of your own!

This year's Auction begins online on September 13 with the Diamond Day, and runs through October 6.  Whether or not you manage to snag your favourite piece for real, can always create an entire collection of your dreams!  

Monday, July 15, 2019

Getting to Know Susan

In her June Newsletter, our B.C. Co-Rep, Jennie, introduced a new Co-Rep for our SAQA WC Region -- Susan Selby (MB/CA).  At last!  😊  Jennie's been working hard, flying solo for several years now, so it's great news for the Region that for at least the next ten or eleven months, she'll have a "partner in crime", so to speak.

You can see Susan's smiling face in the left-hand side-bar of the blog (scroll down).  To go along with her photo, I asked her to share a bit about herself for blog readers.

She reports that "[she's] lived most of her life on the Canadian Prairies and draws inspiration from the prairie landscape – the local skies, fields, valleys and forests provide the scenes she photographs and interprets in fabric."  She grew up in Thunder Bay, ON, where she still has family, but she's currently residing in Springfield, MB -- just east of Winnipeg.  Susan says she believes this makes her the Eastern-most member of SAQA WC.

Like many of us, Susan began working with fabric by sewing garments and home decor items, moving first into traditional quilting and then into art quilting.

Inspired by the landscape around her home, much of her work features the trees and forested areas of the prairies.  She uses a wide range of fibre materials and techniques to achieve the effects of her work -- preferring to create her own fabric surfaces and colours with dye, paint, stamps and stencils, and incorporating cottons, silk, cheesecloth and assorted found textiles.  Her current favourite?  "...well-used damask tablecloths and used napkins"!

Susan reports that she makes work almost every day -- though it's harder to manage in the summer, when, as for so many of us, the outdoors beckons.  Still, she says she "...feels a little lost" if there's nothing on her design wall or under her needle.  Ah...Susan!  We hear you on that score!  

Her goals include learning techniques that will "...give [her] work more depth", and, although she has work in private collections in Canada, the U.S. and overseas, she'd like to  "...[have] more of [her] work out in the world so more people can see it."  

To that end, she's thrilled to share that she's just had one of her pieces accepted into SAQA's Global Exhibit, Upcycle!, which premieres at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX this fall.  She is one of just three Canadians whose work was selected for this exhibit, and joins SAQA WC member, Paula Jolly, as part of that trio.  Congratulations, Susan!

Here are two pieces Susan has shared to show examples of her work:

Drifted Snow

Springtime in a Prairie Forest

You can see more of Susan's work in the photo gallery on her Facebook page.  And you can contact her via Facebook or by e-mail.

AND if you're able to attend, you'll be able to 'meet' Susan through the wonders of technology at our online SAQA Western Canada first-ever Zoom meeting on Sunday, August 18th!  Remember, the meeting starts at 1 p.m. in B.C., which is 2 p.m. in Alberta and Saskatchewan and 3 p.m. in Susan's home province, Manitoba.  And again, details of how to set up Zoom on your computer can be found here. You can also call in by phone if you’d prefer not to use the computer. Jennie will send out a reminder closer to the date and please email her if you need help with the technical details of how this works.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

New Online Workshop -- from Janet Scruggs!

B.C. SAQA member Janet Scruggs wants to share her new online workshop with you!  She writes:

Have you ever wanted to create your own designs?
Does it seem daunting, maybe even impossible - you have no idea where to start?
Introduction to Design workshop will teach you several methods for creating designs. Methods which can be used over and over again to create original designs from any source of inspiration. You will find that not only is it easy, but it’s fun!
The workshop is comprised of 6 modules. These include warm up exercises and design exercises to lead you in creating a minimum of 14 of your own original designs.
It also covers the elements of art, design principles, interpreting your designs in textiles and stitch, material considerations, theme and technique based designs. The workshop uses both video and print materials.
You will learn how to use many types of inspiration with different techniques to produce original designs. 
For example, how did I go from the inspiration on the piece of linen (left) to the bird design (right)? It may seem impossible, but one of the methods we use in this class will show you how!
Inspiration: Block-printed linen
"L'Orage" (The Storm) designed by
Eric Bagge (1929) and
manufactured by Lucien Bouix

Design: Reverse applique and stitched bird on microfibre
cleaning cloth, using dyed, inked and foiled Lutradur (R),
shisha mirror and commercial trim.

$75 CDN includes unlimited access for 6 months. In our classroom, you can upload photos, chat and email privately or with the group. All notes are printable.
 Next online start date is June 21, 2019.
Sign up for Introduction to Design by emailing me at:

Friday, May 24, 2019

There's Still Time!

And there's still space...

If you want to see spectacular art work and hear about the artist's creative inspiration and approach, you can still attend Mary Pal's Trunk Show on Thursday evening, May 30 -- a mere 6 "sleeps" from now!

Morning Conversations - (C) Mary Pal

2115 Urbana Rd NW, Calgary, AB

Thursday, May 30, 2019
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

$15 at the door 
In Advance!


Lighthouse Keeper (C) Mary Pal

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Advance Notice!

As you're rushing to finish your SAQA Benefit Auction 2019 piece and get it in the mail so it will arrive at the curator on or before June 1...

Here's some News from Rep Jennie Johnston, in advance of her regular Newsletter. 

First, Jennie's creating a new feature for the Newsletter and asks...
Would you consider sharing a short statement about your art and inspirations and a few photos for the newsletter? If you would, please email me at the address below* and I will send you a short set of questions to answer.
This is another way we can get to know each other despite the distance between us. I plan to start this feature in the September Newsletter. We all want to know about you and what you make! So please consider sharing with us.

Second, she asks that you...

For a...

Western Canada Regional Meet-up Over Zoom

We are lucky to have access to technology that can let us meet each other despite the distance in our region. 

for Sunday August 18, 2019 
1 p.m. in BC
2 p.m. in Alberta & Saskatchewan
 3 p.m. in Manitoba
 our first regional zoom meet-up!

This is a meet and greet, where you can log in to Zoom, and chat with other Western Canada members. We will have a chance to introduce ourselves, share about our art quilt practice and chat in a relaxed atmosphere. Consider this meeting to be informal and you can drop in any time during the hour and a half.

Details of how to set up Zoom on your computer can be found here. You can also call in if you’d prefer not to use the computer. 

Jennie will send out a reminder closer to the date and please email her (see e-mail address above) if you need help with the technical details of how this works. 

Again, the link to "All About Zoom" is

It's on my calendar!  How about adding it to yours?  "See you" on line!  😊

Friday, May 3, 2019

A New Class from Valerie Wilson! TIME LIMITED!

Val has been creating all sorts of wonderful classes to share her love of vintage portraiture-in-cloth.  Here are details about her newest offering.

That said, if you're interested, you have to ACT FAST because there's a VERY short registration window!

Valerie at work, assembling a figure...

  • Interested in learning more about creating fabric portraits and capturing your memories? 
  • Want to create a fabric portrait of a friend, or family member, but don’t know where to start? 
  • Are afraid of not being able to create a good likeness of someone in a portrait?
  • Unable to figure out how to do the values (light and shadow) in a portrait?
  • Or just wanting to try something new?

Val can help!  Join her Facial Expressions workshop now!

Registration is OPEN and the workshop starts May 6, 2019.
See all the details HERE.

Space is limited, so register now, so that you don't miss out!   

Val will only be taking 16 students. This ensures that she will have enough time to support and encourage each one of you.

Registration closes at midnight May 5, 2019.

NOTE: Family and friends bonus!

Projects are always more fun when shared with a friend!

If you have a friend who would like to join in the workshop contact Val with their name and email and she will send you both a $15 off coupon to put towards the workshop!

 Val hopes that you can join her class!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Is it in the Mail Yet?

Or were you able to deliver it at the Conference in San Jose last week?

To what am I referring?  Your 2019 SAQA Benefit Auction quilt -- that's what!  😊

Yes, it's that time of year again.  The Call for these pieces seems to arrive earlier every year, but that's due in part to the fact that opportunities to show them at Houston or other special venues have earlier deadlines.

There's only one deadline left now, though: the June 1, 2019 received by date.

Looking through the quilts collected so far, I see that in SAQA WC, Jaynie Himsl is an early bird, with her piece, Pansy Patch:

And Karen Johnson is too -- with her piece, Skinny Strips #6:

Then there's our Rep, Jennie Johnston's piece, Ragged Soul, featuring one of her signature ravens:

while Judy Leslie has submitted her work, The Open Door:

Karlie Norris McChesney has contributed another one of her colourful geometrics, MO 4:

And Debbie Plett has submitted Moon Birds Dance, evoking West Coast native heritage:

Terry Rammell's piece -- for me, resembling sun and shade -- is entitled Traces:

Nancy Riemersma has chosen to remember those who have died in war, with her piece, We Remember:

Susan Selby has created this colourful and textural autumn piece:

Nine early contributions!  That's a great start!

Mine went in the mail this morning; it's from my Scotland Series:

Mac's Garden: A Tribute
to Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Margaret Blank   (c) 2019

There's still time -- one whole month -- but remember: it's a received by deadline and there is that Customs and Border Patrol to consider. 

What are you waiting for?!  😉