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?!  😉

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Are You Up for a Challenge?

New from SAQA WC member, Val Wilson!

Click the link above to take this journey with Val, wherein you'll...
  • Learn about value and its importance in fabric portraits.
  • Gain confidence in choosing skin tone fabrics that look blended, rather than patchy.
  • Understand how the use of value creates the contours of the face.
Starts Friday, April 26!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Congratulations, Jaynie!

This was shared on FB earlier this evening. 

In a nutshell, SAQA WC member Jaynie Himsl of Saskatchewan has been selected as " of 35 crafters whose works will be included in an upcoming exhibit by the Saskatchewan Craft Council, 'Dimensions’."  The show will run from May 4 to July 6 at the Saskatchewan Craft Council Gallery in Saskatoon.

I don't know how else to share the article here...except with  this link, so click it for full details. 

Her striking, graphic piece, Listening (shown below), will be part of the exhibit.  

Listening - Jaynie Himsl

Congratulations, Jaynie!

Monday, April 15, 2019

What's On? What's Coming?

SAQA WC member Lesley Turner recently posted about her contributions to an exhibit now on at the Portals Gallery, located in the lobby of the Islands Saving Recreational Centre of the  Cowichan Arts Council in Duncan, B.C.

The Articulation Textile Group, of which she and SAQA WC member Wendy Klotz are a part, attended the Artists' Reception on April 13 for the Group's show, Forest and Sea and the Place Between, on NOW through April 19.

At left is a detail from one of Lesley's pieces in the show, entitled "Cedar Wind Drawing".

The Group's next planned exhibition -- Icelandic Culture in Gimli -- will take place July 1 through August 31 at the New Iceland Heritage Museum, Gimli, Manitoba.

Meanwhile in Calgary, Spectra Textile Arts Group is showing their work at the Fish Creek Public Library -- on NOW through April 29:

SAQA WC members in this group include Ilse Anysas-Salkauskas, Joyce Brown, Margaret Jessop, Marie McEachern, Beverly Patkau, Linda Van Gastel and Barbara J. West.

And in central Alberta, SAQA WC member Margaret Blank has been juried into the 20th Annual ENCORE! Lacombe Art Show & Sale, taking place at the Lacombe Memorial Centre, Lacombe, Alberta, on April 26 and 27.  This is Margaret's eighth year participating in this event, which includes work from a variety of art and fine craft artists.

Friday, April 5, 2019

A Reminder: Mary Pal's Coming to Calgary!

Morning Conversations - Mary Pal
A portrait of the late Peter Gzowski

Yes, there are still tickets available for artist Mary Pal's Trunk Show in Calgary on the evening of Thursday, May 30!

Location: Foothills Mennonite Church, 2115 Urbana Road N.W., Calgary.

Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

For info and tickets, contact Margaret Jessop.  It's bound to be an inspiring evening!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Congratulations are in Order!

B.C. member, Janet Scruggs, can be justifiably pleased and proud.  Not only is her piece, Plastic Chowder, part of the soon-to-open SAQA Multi-Regional Exhibit, Shifting Tides*, but also her piece Under Your Wing is part of the current exhibit, "Shelter" on now at the Gallery Vertigo in Vernon, B.C. (see THIS POST for details).

And now...her piece, Tree Lichen -- an embroidery on photo --  was selected for a 'First' as Juror's Choice in an exhibit sponsored by the Kamloops Arts Council.

And she's just reported that the piece will now travel to the Ukraine -- having been juried into the Scythia 2019-2020 -- the 9th International Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Mini Textile Art! 

The exhibit includes work by 130 artists from 35 countries. 

Well done, Janet!  What a beautiful way to represent Canada and SAQA -- and to showcase your unique textile art style.

Tree Lichen with it's winning ribbon -- and Janet's smiling face!

*Editor's Note: two other SAQA WC members have work appearing in Shifting Tides: Clare Atwell and Diana Bartelings.  The exhibit will appear in numerous venues once it leaves San Jose -- including travels to Hawaii, Alaska, California and Vancouver, B.C.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

And While We Wait for Spring...

Those in the Okanagan area -- even if just passing through! -- might enjoy this latest from   gallery, featuring several SAQA WC members.

Note the Opening Reception which is this coming Friday evening!  

SAQA WC members participating include Janis (Jan) Clark, Mary Ann Cox, Sandra Lounsbury and Janet Scruggs.

Would that I could be there with you for that Opening!  If there are photos to share in future, please let me know by e-mail.  Thanks!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Is It Spring Yet?

There's lots going on with our members this month and next -- so let's leap into Spring (even if there's still several feet of snow on the ground and you've just come out the other side of an Extreme Cold Warning!) with these wonderful shows:

Shifting Tides: Convergence in Cloth -- the multi-Regional SAQA exhibit -- opens in San Jose, CA at the "Works" on April 19, and a tour thereof will be part of the itinerary at the SAQA Conference this year.  This piece was one of 3 accepted from SAQA WC members...Congratulations to Janet Scruggs!  

Plastic Chowder - Janet Scruggs, B.C.

Also opening in April is this exhibit from the Vancouver Island branch of the Surface Design Association (SDA):

Several SAQA WC members are participating in this exhibit, including Judi MacLeod, Lesley Turner, Lesley Comassar, Donna-Fay Digance, Karen Selk and Barbara McCaffrey.

And then there's this ON NOW!

Pieces by SAQA WC member from B.C.,
Karlie Norrish McChesney

If you're anywhere near any of these exhibits, DO be sure to take the time to enjoy the work.  Congratulations to all of our members participating!

P.S. Remember about a month ago I mentioned the deadline for the Spotlight Auction this year?  And asked if anyone else had made a contribution?

Well...she didn't tell me directly, but I follow her blog, so...I was able to see the delightful piece submitted by B.C. member Terry Aske:

Black Lines + Bright Colors (sic)
(c) Terry Aske, 2019

Inspired by the artist Mondrian, I'm thinkin' it's sure to bring a pretty penny at the auction, and to make one particular collector very happy every time s/he sees it!

Another opportunity to have your art seen -- without the jury process or a fee to enter! -- is SAQA's Annual Benefit Auction.  The Early Bird deadline has now passed (March 1) but never fear -- you have till June 1 to have your contribution received by the Auction curator.

For us Canucks, that means -- get it in the mail by May 8 (or so) to avoid delays at the border! That's just over two (2!) months on it!  😉

Please accept my apologies if you've got a piece in one of these shows and I've missed your name and/or photo of your piece.  I am not on ALL social media -- just Facebook and my e-mail.  If you think I'm going to see something on Instagram or Twitter...sorry.  Please get in touch to share with your colleagues across Western Canada, TROC (The Rest Of Canada) and the world.  Yes, we have readers from the other SAQA Regions.  So please let me know...and thank you for your support!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Coming to Calgary in May!

A private quilting group is hosting one of Canada's art quilting celebrities for a workshop in Calgary near the end of May.  In addition, this wonderful artist will also be doing a Trunk Show and talk about her unique work in cheesecloth and portraiture!

Yes -- it's Mary Pal!  For further information and tickets to attend, see the poster below!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Put a Spotlight on Your Work!

The 2019 SAQA Conference will be here before we know it, and with it, the popular Spotlight Auction.

This event is the perfect way to put your work out there for SAQA members and conference guests -- some of whom are avid collectors -- especially if you are new to the art quilt scene.

It's a way to volunteer for SAQA and "be" at the Conference even if not in person.

And it's a way to create a small sample of something in a new technique or style you'd like to try.  To whit, my effort this year -- inspired by the some of the work of SAQA colleague and friend, Susan Lenz:

New Directions 3 - M. Blank, 2019

The deadline for entry is March 1, 2019 -- and the pieces have to have arrived at the curator's address in Virginia by March 8, 2019.  This means, shipping from Canada, that it's time to "git 'er done!" if you want to participate.

I mailed my little "tracked packet" on January 28 from our tiny hamlet post office.  Our mail goes up to Edmonton, then to Calgary, then out of the country.  As of this writing, my piece "has arrived in a foreign country" (meaning -- per the tracking page -- the U.S)  and that update on February 1 is the latest information available as to its you see what I mean! 

No time to waste!

That said, if you've finished your piece and have a photo to share with your colleagues, please send it to me by e-mail.  Don't forget to tell me its title!

And thanks for your support!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Let's Talk

From a Facebook post -- happening this evening in Winnipeg, Manitoba,
with SAQA member, Cathie Ugrin

Egg on My Face

Sometimes life gets in the way.  In good time, Val Wilson of Manitoba sent yours truly information about an online workshop she was starting -- on January 26.  She asked me to post about it.  Thinking I had lots of time, I let it go for a few days.  Well...more than a few.  And missed her deadline.

Aaaaaargh!  😧

I've apologized, and thankfully Val has 15 happy participants and (I think) has forgiven me.

Still...I wanted to make amends SO....

I'm going to direct you to Val's Website so you can check for yourself what you might to attend in 2019.  Click the links below that interest you:

Any or all of these links should give you more information about Valerie's beautiful portraiture and what you need to know should you want to learn how to add these techniques to your practice.


And...thanks, Val, for your patience!

Friday, January 11, 2019

It's Not Too Late to Sign Up!

Manitoba member Valerie Wilson is offering a FREE 5-day "challenge" on the use of (colour) value in creating fabric portraits. 

The challenge starts Monday, January 14 ON LINE.  It will be carried out mostly by e-mail, Val says, but also by posts through her Facebook group, "Fabric Faces".

I'm betting this will be of value (😉) even if you're not "into" portraiture.  Colour value is a key for all artists -- and one that can be a real challenge.  SO many of us are fond of those 'mediums'...and forego those 'lights' and 'darks'!

Sign up for the Fabric Portrait Value Challenge by clicking HERE -- a new learning opportunity as you start another creative year!  Thanks for sharing this, Val!

P.S. I'm thinking Valerie might be available to a POD workshop or a group gathering or guild meeting or...SAQA Toronto 2020?  Just wondering.... 😉

Monday, January 7, 2019

It's a New Year!

Time to make an Artist's Date!

Here are some venues for your consideration...

Member Susan Selby has a new show on in Manitoba, opening near the end of this month:

Her Artist's Talk will be February 3 at 2:00 p.m. -- at the Portage & District Arts Centre, #11 - 2nd Street NE, Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

If you're travelling down East -- specifically to Sydney, NS -- you might visit this exhibit from SAQA Atlantic member Helene Blanchet -- who for many years was a Calgary resident and part of SAQA Western Canada's region.  (She was one who helped with our Calgary "Parlour Meeting" back in the day.)

If you find yourself in the vicinity of La Grange, Texas some time between January 10 and March 24, do take in SAQA's global exhibit, Season After Season, at the Texas Quilt Museum.  SAQA Central Canada member Joan Hug-Valeriot and SAQA WC member, Margaret Blank are the only two Canadians to have pieces in this show!

Rather uniquely, this exhibit also required each artist to provide a sketchbook/journal with his/her piece -- which can be viewed by visitors to the exhibit!

And if blustery, wintry weather's keeping you indoors -- get thee to thy studio and make some art!

Happy New Year to all our SAQA Western Canada members!  Please share your activities with your colleagues this year -- both in our Region and beyond.  Contact blog editor, Margaret Blank, with your news so she can share it in these pages.  Thank you for your support!