Looking Back on 2017

In March 2016, 3rd Story Workshop was born. It was born out of a need to carve out my own creative space that was separate from my two young kids. 2017 looked completely different from that. To start off the year, my guiding word was “GIVE.” I wanted to invite people into my creative world. I wanted others to achieve their creative goals. I wanted to let others in on what knowledge I have to offer. I looked out. I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to understand where I fit.

Social media allows us to form a community around very niche interests, such as modern quilting. I love that I have connected with so many talented, interesting, engaged, thoughtful people in this past year. But as we know, it can also be a dangerous trap of comparison. “Why haven’t I accomplished this yet?” “So-and-so has X number of followers.” “Why can’t I…?” But then I look back on 2017 and below is a list of things that have come to be in the last 365 days, outside of my part-time day job and family/community life.

“Firsts”:
makes:

I think I succeeded in changing the course of my work to turn outward; to see what the world could use and give where I can. Where I may have failed was that “GIVE” was also supposed to mean a little “give” in my days to allow for unexpected things to happen, a little more leeway for things to happen spontaneously.

Instead I ended up learning all the things. I tried my hand at English paper piecing, painted fabric, made a million flying geese. I took two Craftsy classes on free-motion quilting and started integrating those techniques into my work. However, sometimes my love of learning turned into an endless pursuit of the  the next blog post, the next Instagram money shot, the next thing. Which brings me to my word for 2018:

There are long-term goals that I want to accomplish. And I have to get the wheels in motion on them and prioritize them above the social media marketing and outward appearances. I do want to keep up the blog, the newsletter, and my Instagram posts, but those need to become less central and become a by-product of other things. They need to be worked seamlessly into my workflow. I’m determined to figure it out a system of how it could work better.

My overarching goal in 2018 will be learning how to be an artist. I have been a designer for over a decade and that label will always feel comfortable to me and suit me in all aspects of my life. The title of “artist”, on the other hand, I have a great deal of resistance to. Or have until now. That’s what 2018 will be. Learning to be an artist, with focus.

Happy New Year.

Pier 21: Quilt as Infographic

Data can become art when a layer of interpretation is added, like the colourfully arranged temperature quilts or Libs Elliott’s limited edition Canada 150 Absolut vodka bottle. Part of The Here & Elsewhere Bee was collecting qualitative data to tell contributors’ narratives through the quilt. I was excited to see what data groupings formed as I listened to visitors’ stories.

The Here and Elsewhere Bee in its final form. Photo: Deborah Wong

As I began collecting bear paw blocks, I arranged them geographically by country of origin. The result was relatively uninspired  The grouping of European stories grew rapidly, indicative of a large demographic of people that came through the museum – people or their parents or grandparents) who came through the Pier 21 port from Europe as they settled in Canada.

The swath of prints was unsettling to my personal aesthetic and I had to remind myself that the point of this project was not about my work as an artist or designer, but about facilitating other people’s stories. It was uniform across its surface, and although it aimed to unify the multitude of stories, it was hard to focus on anything in particular. There was no differentiation, no place for the eye to rest, no direction.

As Canada Day approached and I knew that a large volume of people would be coming through the museum, I scaled down the blocks to 2.5″ square and reduced the single colour paired with white. About 200 blocks into the project, I looked back at my notes and reclassified the units according to things that kept recurring: ocean journeys, coming for a new future, freedom, nature, agriculture. I grouped them, but the result again, was unsettling.

I opened up a jelly roll of Elizabeth Hartman Rhoda Ruth Coordinates provided by my fabric sponsors, Patch Halifax and J.N. Harper. They were all Kona Solids, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

People chose colours that made a lot of sense to represent aspects of their stories: yellow and earth tones for agriculture, blue for water, orange and green for new life, pinks and reds for love. It was easy to choose the colours that would represent each theme. Organizing the blocks around these stripes broke them up and gave the pieces some articulation instead of getting lost amongst each other.

Up until this point, I gave visitors a bit of blank slate, and they could piece their story together as they wished. But some were a bit lost. Although the technical process of ironing on precut fabric onto a background was not daunting or difficult, often non-artists or people who do not identify as creative had a hard time starting off. What should I talk about? What colour should I use? What part of my story is significant? If they needed some prompting, I could point to the themes that people had already talked about, and it gave them a departure point. They were able to have the quilt speak to them first and fit their story into a larger narrative. A dialogue started between themselves and the work, rather than the quilt silently receiving their story.

This became a pivotal point of the project, where the stripes became tree trunks and a forest emerged as the “leaves” grouped around their theme. The multiple prints that people chose in the bear paw block phase were given breathing room amidst a mass of stories that focused on a singular aspect of an individual’s immigration story, told in a single colour. The quilt became an infographic.

I continued to jot down notes about each block and catalogue them. The documentation process was by no means a rigorous collection of data, but it certainly guided the process. These 54 pages were a record of qualitative data and contributed to a deep qualitative understanding of what was being told.

Although 1200 participants is a large sampling, it is clear that there are gaps in the larger Canadian story. The participants are a self-selecting group: They came to the museum of their own volition, paid admission, stopped at my workspace and chose to engage. Many of the people that came through were removed from their story by at least five years, unless they were international students. There was only one family who were recent refugees from Syria in the last year. Their sponsor family brought them to the museum from New Brunswick, a four-hour drive away.

What other gaps could I identify? Someone who came from afar and became disenfranchised with what they found here would certainly not make their way to a national museum. Some more difficult stories of racism and xenophobia, such as the M.S. St. Louis — a boat of Jewish refugees during WWII that was rejected at Pier 21 and had to return to Europe to face doom — are not captured in the Here and Elsewhere Bee. The result was a quilt that celebrates the immigration stories of a select group. These are stories worth collecting and celebrating, and the museum of does a great job of filling in the other gaps.

The academic side of me really enjoyed listening, digging, and analyzing the data in this project. I felt like a researcher with the opportunity to interpret my data and present it in a visual and tactile manner.

#elsewherebee #atelierailleurs

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Nocturne 2017: Georges Island Quilted Over

Georges Island is a tiny island in the Halifax harbour. At its summit is a fort. A small lighthouse faces the city of Halifax, giving a picturesque view for boardwalk pedestrians. This was the subject of my first Nocturne project, our annual city nighttime arts event. The theme for Nocturne this year, in its tenth anniversary year, was Vanish.

The significance of Georges Island to the immigration experience at Pier 21 is that of first impressions. As new immigrants arrived by boat, their processional led them off their vessel onto the second-storey platform. Looking over their shoulders to the land where they had just arrived, a view of Georges Island and its lighthouse was the first sight beheld in their new country. During the years between that initial mental snapshot to a pilgrimage back to Pier 21, an immigrant may forget or cover over that moment with the realities of building a new life, but a revisiting of the site brings a momentary pause — to remember that moment of arrival. The most recent architectural iteration of Pier 21 frames this vista with grand windows in the Hall of Tribute at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

Georges Island Quilted Over erases the view by installing a temporary structure in front of the centre window. The frame mimics the existing window in scale and proportion, but with backlit translucent vellum panes – a screen of sorts, hiding what lies behind.

With precut coloured paper, visitors were invited to create a “paper quilt” that was illuminated to the effect of a stained glass window. The modular precuts are units used in traditional quilting, cut from single-sided coloured origami paper.

Counterintuitively, visitors were asked to tape their pieces with the colour side facing away from them. The coloured pieces transform the new window over the course of the evening.

Photos: Deborah Wong

When Nocturne ended at midnight, the backlights were turned off one at a time, and house lights illuminated only a white paper quilt. All colour vanished from the piece, leaving an opaque window frame. Georges Island, still hidden from view as it was at the beginning of the project or over the decades of a new life in Canada, remains as it was.

Photos: Deborah Wong

Have You Met… Audrey Stone?

Audrey Stone (@audrey_stone_studio) creates ‘sewn paintings’ with bold colours and thoughtful compositions. The physicality of her work, as well as the narrative behind them, really intrigues me and she speaks so thoughtfully about her process, intentions and the way the viewer might perceive the work.

Always Interrupted, 2013. 17″ x 14″. Flashe paint and embroidery floss on canvas.

How do your approach colour? Or, how do you arrive at your colour choices for a particular piece?

When I start a new piece, sometimes the form precedes the color and other times it is an idea about color that comes first.  I might know I want to move from one particular color to another and moving between the two is the thing that creates an area of uncertainty and discovery.  As in the painting Conversation With Self, I knew I wanted deep blue to occupy the majority of the surface space and to finish in the corner with a hot red. On the way to the red I was able to play with a variety of hues and tones related to the blue before moving into the red.

Conversation with Self, 2015. 14″ x 14″. Flashe paint on linen.

Sometimes it is a tension in the color transition I am interested in creating.  Loud Sleep came as an idea of juxtaposing a deep palette with a pale one in paint and then joining them by weaving the two color palettes together with thread in the same palette ranges.  The title of the piece emanates from a time when I was waking from what I called ‘loud sleep’, where my dreams were all noise without any imagery, creating a strange friction between sleeping and waking.

Loud Sleep, 2016. 20 x 20″. Flashe paint and thread on canvas.

What have your explorations uncovered about the tension between craft and art?

My experience while painting and drawing versus sewing is subtle yet profound.  To me, painting and drawing feel like building from scratch.  There is nothing and then the applied marks and colors become the work. Paint unites to a surface and alters it while thread is a fabric line that becomes something else when applied.  Thread is united with the surface but at the same time remains separate. While sewing I have a sense of repair in my action and there is a physical tension that thread creates.  Paint has an optical tension from the color and surface applied.  I use paint to obscure the surface of the canvas and thread to emphasize it.

#74 (White X/red), 2012. 17″ x 14″. Thread, ink and pencil on paper.

These are subtle things that happen while making the work.  I’m not sure the viewer feels them in looking at a finished work.  It’s slow in the making and slow in the reading.  I have noticed sometimes it’s only when I am speaking with a viewer do they notice the difference in materials, having mistaken thread for paint, it’s then a surprise for them. I love the surprise element, it was one of my original intentions when I combined thread and drawing that there be some confusion when it came to the line making and materials.  So in that sense I hope to subvert the distinction between ‘craft’ and ‘art’.

The Being Mama series is where you begin your sewn paintings.  What is the narrative behind the title of this particular series?

The sewn paintings developed after having worked on a series of grid drawings with combined sewing and drawings from 2007 – 2012.  The drawings were very delicate and subtle and as the series progressed my interest and passion for color was deepening.  I wanted the work to be bolder and I began thinking about how to combine the mediums of sewing and painting onto canvas and linen to heighten my color experience.

Being Mama, 5, 2017. 14″ x 14″. Flashe paint and thread on canvas.

The “Being Mama” series title refers to the pulls, internal divisions and tensions of one’s self in the role of being a mother.  The works in this series have always been divided into 4 sections, as a reference to the grid as well as a symbol of family (I have a family of four and grew up in one as well). Each quadrant has its own space but also fits with the others to create a whole.  I do not assign the quadrants ‘personalities’ but am interested in the tension and balance created by their relationships.

What are three words that describe your artistic style?

Colorful, bold and subtle.

Being Mama, 5, side detail.

Find Audrey on Instagram:@audrey_stone_studio

See more of her work here

English Paper Piecing & Watercolour on Fabric

I took a intro English Paper Piecing (EPP) workshop with Jenn of Quarter Inch from the Edge earlier this summer and found it to be a very satisfying process. Since then, I pondered what project would be good to explore EPP. I dabbled in fussy cutting, more linear rather than radial arrangements, solid colours — but nothing felt quite “me” untiI I listened to an interview with Ashley Nickels on the Crafty Planner podcast. I have been since following her Instagram feed closely and got a flash of inspiration late one night, a few days before my family vacation to California. I “needed” a travel project (right?), so I embarked to English paper piece some watercolour fabric.

First EPP attempt. I thought that the painted fabric would be a good background for it, but the intensity of the solids was too much for the airy watercolours.

Before I started working with fabric, watercolour was my favourite medium. It is quick and portable. The best part of it is the edge – where the colour meets the toothy, water-absorbent, weighty watercolour paper. That’s where some serious magic happens. As I was gawking at Ashley’s watercolour quilts that fateful night, I went down some Instagram rabbit hole and stumbled upon an image of some watercoloured paper hexagons featuring this very beautiful edge phenomenon. When I woke up the next day, I could not for the life of me find that image again. I searched for days and came up with nothing. Maybe it was a dream.

Ashley’s original technique uses fabric dyes to achieve vibrant and intense colours (check out her Creativebug class). I prefer low-stakes experiments when I’m starting out, so not spending a lot of money on paint and fabric helped me jump right into this process rather than having to figure out “proper” or best way to do things. I found this tutorial by Cami Graham of Tidbits and loosely followed it. I used some very old watercolour tube paints and Martha Stewart fabric medium, which turns any paint into fabric paint. For fabric, I used an old white pillowcase that was very much past its prime.

The painting process was quick and dirty.  I modified Cami’s process a bit to make sure that I got those edges that I seeking. It took me very little time, maybe half an hour or so. After air-drying the fabric, I machine-washed and dried it. It ended up losing some colour, but still retained those important edges.

I randomly cut the fabric into squares, then prepared the hexies for my very long three-leg journey from the East Coast of Canada to SoCal. I brought baby nail clippers to cut thread in place of scissors, in hopes that security would not confiscate them at the airport (and they didn’t!). After entertaining my boys for a bit of first plane ride, I pulled out the hexies. Some had the “edge” and some were all painted. I played with them like a puzzle, trying to line up the edge from hexagon to hexagon. And then…A coastline appeared. That’s what I was looking for; I just didn’t know it.

See the tiny islands in the sea to the left?

Inspiration comes from lots of places. This time it came from other artists, rabbit holes, and playing around. What will become of this piece? I have no idea. Will it become a series? I would like that. Will I return to it? I hope so. But for now, it will have to sit on the backburner.

Pier 21: Emotion in 5″ x 5″

This is the third in a series of blog posts describing and documenting The Here & Elsewhere Bee, my project as the 2017 Artist-in-Residence at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. A list of posts related to the project can be found at the bottom of the blog post.


One of the visitors I encountered my first week was a visitor from Newfoundland. He entered my workspace at Pier 21 in an emotional state and his story emerged as he told me about the fabrics he chose for his bear paw block. His thoughts were simply put.

“This is about my Nan; she raised me. She loved her garden and her favourite colour is purple. I just found out within the last hour that my Nan arrived here at Pier 21 in 1946 with my aunt on a ship called The Scynthia. I just finished a long cry about what this place means to my family.”

The Scynthia was part of the first fleets of post-WWI boats built by the Cunard Line in Britain. She made many trips across the Atlantic to New York and Boston, and carried American tourists from New York to the Mediterranean. She evacuated sponsored children from Liverpool to escape German invasion and suffered a torpedo attack in 1942. After being repaired, she voyaged many Canadian and American war brides and their children to their new homes; one such trip took this gentleman’s grandmother to Pier 21 in early 1946. The Scynthia later took many more refugees from Europe to Canada.

This boat is a part of many family histories, saved lives, lost lives, new lives. To hear one very personal one through a small creative exercise really demonstrates the power of making.

Many people are reluctant at first to participate in The Here and Elsewhere Bee, until they hear that there is no sewing or cutting involved. “You only have to pick fabric!” I tell them. They don’t intend to tell their stories. They agree because it seems simple enough.

After they pick their bear paw fabric, we go over to the design wall to pick a solid background colour. I ask casually, “Can you tell me a bit about what you chose?” Sometimes they are short answers:

“These green clovers are for my Irish heritage,” they simply say.
“This looks like a field of crops,” says an Albertan of Ukrainian descent.
“I just like these colours.”

Sometimes, they let me know what’s weighing on their minds..

“I just found out my grandfather is dying. He immigrated through here, Pier 21, with his wife and son (my father) from Spain. He wanted a life of opportunity for his family. I wanted to connect with him today, because I can’t be with him in Ontario.”

She chose the blue windows because they looked like they were drawn on graph paper; her grandfather was an engineer. The vibrant teal represented the bright life they have led in Canada. As she left, I heard her say, “That made my day.”

Stories with emotion, in a 5” x 5” square.

Read the other posts:

Pier 21: First Blocks, First Stories

This is the second in a series of blog posts describing and documenting The Here & Elsewhere Bee, my project as the 2017 Artist-in-Residence at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. A list of the subsequent posts related to the project can be found at the bottom of the blog post.


I have spent two full days at the museum now and have met people from all over the world. Two fellows, one from India and one from Sweden, met serendipitously on the plane to Halifax and decided to visit Pier 21 together. Others are visiting for university graduations. A squadron of young cadets from Ontario. A family having a “staycation” in Halifax. One gentleman was a Pier 21 alumnus, who immigrated to Canada many decades ago from England when he was five.

The temporary setup for block backgrounds on a 12′ x 12′ design wall.

Below is Block #001 – my Bear Paw block. The images of the women from Melody Miller’s Fruit Dots collection for Cotton + Steel harken the era of Motown. But I thought of my Chinese grandmother. And I’m actually not the only one. Although none of the three of us who were reminded of our grandmothers are of African descent, the fashion from that era permeated our respective cultures of origin in Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Ireland. Many fabric designers talk about the joy feel when the see sewists appropriate their designs for their projects. I think Melody Miller would be delighted to know that her fabric resonates with people across cultures.

The three fabrics I chose ended up all related to sewing, garments, and design:

  1. Square (Melody Miller, Fruit Dots): As I mentioned, this was about my maternal grandmother. I didn’t get to know her well because she passed away when I was three, but from all accounts she was a fashionable and feisty woman. She was relatively well-off; her eight children all got new clothes, new pyjamas, and new shoes every Lunar New Year. She was a bit of fabric fiend, buying the newest collections from the textiles shop run by East Indian owners just downstairs from her flat. She had tailors make handbags that she designed in those fabrics.
  2. Pink triangles (Sarah Golden, Maker Maker): My mother sewed my sister and I matching dresses every Christmas and Easter. She would always buy an intricate dress pattern, and then add additional complicated details as she saw fit. This one time, she added light pink piping to the hems of our spring dresses. The way two stripes meet in Sarah Golden’s design made me think of how the piping might have met together just before she finished the hem.
  3. Blue stripes: My paternal grandfather was a elementary school principal. I thought of school uniforms when I saw this scrap of fabric. I was scrounging through the scrap bin at Patch Halifax, when I came across these stripes. Someone had tested a button hole in them. I think that prompted the school uniform association.

This story — my story — is only one of 49 that I have collected in 16 hours. This quilt is going to be rich with narrative.

And this may be a giant project. The photo above is the first 24 block from Day #1, organized by continent. The middle chunk is stories of European origin, Asia to the right and North and Central America to the left. As of now, I have no idea how I will organize these blocks into something interesting and cohesive.

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Have You Met… Louisa Glenn?

Louisa Glenn (@gracelouisagee) is a painter from Nashville, Tennessee. Her work is mesmerizing, with striking colours and always makes me think, “I should make a quilt like that!” (And someone did.) In this interview, Louisa reveals that a trip to the library led her down a new creative path, how she approaches colour, and how she interprets mood and light through her work.

What lead to you to paint quilts rather than make them? 

I’ve always been a painter – it pulled me in early, it’s woven into the innermost part of me and informs how I see the world. When I moved back to Tennessee almost four years ago, one of my top priorities was reconnecting with my creative self that I had largely kept quiet, and often ignored outright. That self needed lots of nurturing, and I found myself combing through the stacks at the Nashville public library looking for inspiration, a jumping off point. I made my way to the textiles section, because who doesn’t love gazing at rich brocades? Or imagining the lightness of linens? And there, nestled immediately adjacent, were the quilting books. I knew nothing about the quilting world, had no inkling of its depth and vibrancy. I honestly think I started out painting quilt patterns because I was looking for a framework and craved structure – and they certainly delivered both in spades. When I started painting those first repeating patterns, I discovered a meditative space that I needed. I found a place where I didn’t overthink my work because everything fit together and flowed so perfectly.

I have nothing against the actual physical act of quilting, or sewing for that matter – the opposite! I took sewing lessons at a local fabric shop when I was in elementary school, and was very proud of my matching floral shorts and tote bag. But quilting didn’t run in my family, and so my early exposure was limited. I tried my hand at sewing again recently, and I will be the first to admit that I’m not awesome at keeping my seams straight. I would very much like to learn, though – what a fantastic next step that would be!

What are three words that describe your artistic style?

Pieced, adventurous, vibrant

How do you approach colour? Your work has a bold and clear range of palettes, it seems. How did you arrive at those colour choices?

My approach to colour over the past few years has been a healthy combination of “gangbusters” and “anything goes”. I’ve been thriving on high contrast. I tend to get hung up on a colour for a while, use it as the central thread through my work, and flirt with different supporting palettes. For example, it might be a little obvious that I have a deep and abiding love for fluorescent red. It’s just so delicious that I can’t help myself. In some places I’ll ground that red with straight Payne’s grey, which is pretty dark – I use it instead of black. But then on another edge I’ll place that same red next to a light neutral grey, or an aqua, or a sky blue. Those combinations are so shout-y and intense that my eyes can’t resolve the contrast, and a white line will appear in between – I guess in an attempt to soften it? In other pieces I’ve put that same red up against pinks and purples, and it sings rather than yells. My palettes have really centered on pinks/reds and blues/aquas/greys, I think because right now I know them best, I understand how they work. I’m not “good” at purple yet, and I don’t feel super confident about green, but I’m working on it.

I feel like I’m ready to explore gentler, more nuanced compositions. By that, I mean that I’m finding myself drawn to more limited palettes. I’m not totally ready to forsake neons or my penchant for color blocking, but I’m also looking at embroidery and stitching, thinking about they might be layered for a softer look. I desperately want to learn how to paint white, like lots of different shades. I can’t promise that I’ll be satisfied, that I won’t cut back into a mostly white work with one or two outlying neon pieces. I’m excited to experiment more! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the most gratifying thing is being able to see, even in two years, how much my work has shifted and evolved. I’m trying not to push it too hard, but I’m eager for a fresh chapter.

The titles of your paintings refer to landscapes and/or times of day. What inspires you about these subjects and how do you interpret them?

I will never cease to be surprised and delighted by the pockets of beauty I stumble across every day. I know it sounds kind of cliché. But there’s a time of morning when the sunlight filters in and reflects off a mirrored cabinet in my apartment, and all of a sudden there’s a beautiful grid of light lines cast on my wall. I’m entranced by the change in air when it’s about to rain, how everything shifts, smells different, gets quieter. When I’m painting a landscape or a time of day, I ask myself how that time feels, what makes it remarkable, what the sky looks like, what color the light is, where the blocks of highlight and shade are. I really enjoy the challenge of capturing vibrations, trying to boil movement and vitality down to essential lines and shapes. One of my favorites so far is a piece from last summer called High Noon, and it was about the brightness of the sun reflecting off of a car. I recently painted the Yorkshire downs for a friend’s play about the Bronte siblings, and it was delicious when I finally struck a balance between tranquil afternoon and dark moodiness.

You know, this is the direction that I’m moving in with my work overall. Like I mentioned, when I was just starting to get back into painting and dedicate significant time to my practice, I really needed some structure. I thought about each piece in terms of specific quilt patterns, and it was fairly obvious which one I had chosen to reference. That exercise helped me rediscover my artistic voice. Now that I know more about who I am as an artist, I have the freedom and ability to use those fundamental elements to explain other things, and I’m really excited about it! I have a show in process that’s about the Odyssey, and the prospect of painting oceans, or the smoke from burnt offerings, or gods and goddesses visiting that band of travelers in disguise is thrilling. The feeling of the journey, and finally arriving home.

Explore more of Louisa’s work: Louisa Glenn

Find her on Instagram:  @gracelouisagee

Pier 21: The Story Behind the Bee

This is the first in a series of posts describing and documenting The Here & Elsewhere Bee, my project as the 2017 Artist-in-Residence at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. A list of the subsequent posts related to the project can be found at the bottom of the blog post.


My project at Pier 21 is a collaborative quilt entitled The Here & Elsewhere Bee and is inspired by the children’s storybook Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt. The American-born author Barbara Smucker lived in Canada for 24 years of her life, a period when she published much of her work, including the classic Underground to Canada.

The book is set during the American Civil War. Selina lives in a close-knit community of Mennonites in Pennsylvania, and witnesses many quilting bees as a part of her everyday life – a manifestation of how her community connects and functions.

“Because Mennonites would support neither the North nor the South, they were considered disloyal to both. They were persecuted, their lands ruined, and some of their meeting places destroyed.”1

As pacifists during wartime, Selina’s family must escape to Upper Canada to avoid persecution and Selina must leave her elderly grandmother behind. Her grandmother gives her a Bear Paw quilt top to take with her to spread over her new bed in her new country. Made of remnants of dresses, tablecloths and other available fabrics, including her grandmother’s wedding dress, Selina cherishes the quilt top on her journey to Canada.

When she arrives, her community rallies to finish the quilt with her; a warm welcome to her new home.

The book’s illustrator, Janet Wilson, worked with Toronto-based quilter Lucy Anne Holliday. Holliday provided quilted “frames” for each of the illustrations, adding richness to the images. In my mind, Holiday’s fabrics have become the ones in Selina’s quilt – the elements that hold so much meaning in this little story.

“Working with the author (Barbara Smucker) and the publisher (Stoddart-Canada), I was a member of the planning team responsible for the appearance of the books. I hand-pieced, appliqued and quilted the borders for each of the oil-painting illustrations in the books. Working with the artist/illustrator (Janet Wilson), I chose the design and fabrics which would eventually complement and frame each of her paintings. These “framed” paintings were then photographed for inclusion in the books, as full page illustrations to the story.” — Lucy Anne Holliday, from lucyanne.org

1 Smucker, Barbara. Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt. Introduction.

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Pre-Shrunk 2017: Argyle Fine Art

Entitled “Soft Cut”, this little 4” x 5” piece is on exhibit at Argyle Fine Art in downtown Halifax from January 20 to Feb 11, 2017. Over 300 works are in this annual curated show, now in its 11th year. The submission called for works from both established and emerging artists. Although I am not sure about how I feel about any of those words describing me – “established” or “emerging,” “artist” – I was happy to respond to the call. I had some experimenting I wanted to do, and this was a great opportunity. All pieces are for sale, all for the same price and can be shipped worldwide.

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