Saturday, October 22, 2016


'The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley."

Ah yes.  

We put the Mark on the Body installation up on Wednesday a.m.

By Friday a.m., the main section -- "The Body" -- had fallen in a heap.

That was remedied right away by Maureen, my trusty contact at the City...thus... was too good to last.

This morning I awoke to an e-mail that told me she'd found the mobiles in a heap later that day.   Having had to lower them from the ceiling (where they were originally), she'd switched out the straight pins we'd used to secure them to the grids, with 'stick-on' Velcro (R).  Alas...the 'stick-on' didn't.  Stick, that is. 10 a.m. today I was on the road with my sewing machine (Miss Pfaff) and supplies.  Bless Christina, the Head Librarian at the Mary C. Moore Library -- located on the main floor of this venue.  She let me set up in the History Room, a room reserved for meetings and quiet study:

I tried to simply sew on the 'stick-on' stuff, but that gummed up the needle, so I trotted over to The Shop for some 'sew-on' Velcro (R), and a stitch ripper (I'd forgotten one)...just in case.

On the way back I picked up a sandwich and coffee at Kavaccino's as it was nearly lunch time.

By three-thirty p.m. or so, all of the 'stick-on' bits had been replaced by 'sew-on' bits, and the mobiles re-hung:

I know it looks the same.
It's supposed to!

Shortly thereafter I was back at The Shop to spend an hour or more knitting and winding down from the events of the day.  Miss Pfaff hadn't exactly been keen to sew the 'hooks' part of the Velcro (R), and had broken her thread every third or fourth one -- and there were 27 pair of these bits to attach! 

Blessedly, some rounds on the latest commissioned toque and a fresh coffee...and I was on my way -- but not without double-checking the venue.  Phew!  4:50 p.m. and all was still well.  I'll check again tomorrow after church...

Alas, doing all this meant I missed the SAQA Community Stitch Chat with Betty Busby and my planned long jog on the Alix Lake pathway.  The latter can be attempted on Monday if the good weather holds (and it's supposed to)...but the former? Those chats aren't recorded.  Ah well...I guess it's the mark of a working artist if one has to put one's installation ahead of one's recreation...  ;-)

And so to book and bed...but not before I link up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday -- and wish you all a great rest of the weekend!

If you're in the area this week...Just sayin'...

Monday, October 10, 2016

Closed for the Season

The Outdoor Studio, that is.

Friday morning I put away all my outdoor furniture, because by Friday afternoon, it looked like this:

We had more snow Saturday and Sunday.  Today the skies remain overcast, and there's the odd flake in the air.

To escape the grey, and the flakes (in the weather and elsewhere...), I moved into my sewdio to create a piece I've been thinking about.  I may make a larger one, but for now I experimented with the approach (abstract) in a size that's just right for the 2017 SAQA Trunk Show.

I call it "Autumn Colours", and it's based on these photos of my back yard, taken two days before the snowfall...

View of the East side of my house,
with the empty lot next door in the foreground.
Trees with coloured leaves are on my property.

View from the East side of my garage,
looking North.

The changing colours of
a Mountain Ash (Rowan)

I dug out a piece of hand-dyed "sky" fabric; sure enough, it was just the right size.  Then I went through my fabrics -- mainly batiks -- and set to work cutting strips and auditioning them on the background:

When I had the arrangement I liked, I fused the strips, sandwiched the piece and stitched it all with invisible thread.  I've always used that stuff with caution because my Husqvarna Lily 555 is Miss Fuss-pot when it comes to anything she deems is a 'fancy' thread.  This time out, though, because I was doing straight-line sewing with my walking foot, Miss F.P. cooperated beautifully.

Here's the finished piece...

Autumn Colours (C) 2016
approx. 7" W x 10" long
Hand-dyed & commercial fabrics,
fused applique, machine quilting

The paperwork's been submitted to SAQA online; all I need to do now is tack down that facing, apply a label and ship it off -- to arrive at Trunk Show HQ by mid-January.

Up next?  More embroidery on the Christmas stocking, more knitting for gifts of all kinds, and construction of the Annual Christmas Boxer Shorts...

Some of which I can do while catching up with everyone over on Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  This week she's returned to sewing with renewed energy -- and she too is working on a colourful abstract.  That's definitely the way to ward off the flakes!  ;-)

See you "off the wall"!  (And Happy Thanksgiving to any Canucks reading this.  May you have a blessed holiday!)

Friday, October 07, 2016

All Mine

I've admired B.C. textile artist Gloria Daly for some years now.   In particular, I've been captivated by her series Blanket Statement: No Shame in Patches -- and at last I own a small sampling:

Yes...I've managed to make a successful bid for this piece, Red Brick, and soon it will find a home in my home.  I actually got to see this piece when it was part of the SAQA Western Canada touring exhibit, "Meet the Best of the West" a couple of years I've witnessed its colour, its texture, its homage to recycling and hand-stitch.

Thank you, Gloria, for your thoughtful, quiet work that says so much about that which is true, right and lovely in the world.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

I'm Pleased to Share...

Curtain Call 2 - Elaine Quehl, Ontario

I joined SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) almost a decade ago, and it's changed my life -- but that's a story for another day.

For the past three years I've served as Co-Rep (Alberta) for the SAQA Western Canada Region.  This summer, I was asked if I would curate an online gallery of SAQA's Juried Artist Members.  What could I do that hadn't been done before?

Well -- hey there, eh?!

I'm Canadian.  I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that an all-Canadian exhibit hadn't been done before...

Thus was born "CANCON" -- short for "Canadian Content".  Seventeen Canadians at the time (there's now 18) were Juried Artist Members, and thirteen had work posted on the SAQA 'JAM Gallery' I chose them all.  To see this very special exhibit, please click HERE.  

NOTE: I'm linking this to WIP Wednesday...another all-Canadian group.  Why don't you see what the rest of us are up to?  :-)

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Typos are Humbling

As I write, rain is teeming down, and there is thunder -- which is distinctly odd for an October morning in Central Alberta.  In the Dog Days of summer, perhaps -- but on an early morning in the autumn?

With my Jewish friends and family celebrating their New Year, and Canadian Thanksgiving only a week away...I am thankful for them (friends and family, that is), for my cozy wee house on the rolling prairie, for the "Goats on the Roof" coffee that is brewing in the kitchen...and for a bit of time to pause for reflection and a blog post!

Around the sewdio, installation prep continues for Mark on the Body, which goes up in a little over 2 weeks.  I finally took some time last week to read the trade paper version of the book I've written about it (there's a box of 'em in my kitchen)...and sure enough...two typos stared out at me.


But...there's hope for me (us!) yet...

I've been been dipping into a library book recommended by my friend and colleague, Judy Warner: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.  I say 'dipping' because it's not the kind of book you need to read from front to back; you can simply find a section that intrigues you and drop in there.

This morning I opened it to #8: "Be Nice (The World is a Small Town)".  I grew up in a small town, I live in a smaller town...and as a female brought up in the fifties in a church-going household, "Be nice" was a cardinal rule.

Being nice requires a certain humility.  (There I go again; back to Tim McGraw's "Always Stay Humble and Kind".)

Nowadays, having devalued 'niceness' for the past forty-or-so years, with women being criticized for being "too nice" or "not nice enough" (right, Mrs. Clinton?), and a certain fellow being admired (!) for being distinctly not "nice", to the point where some of us are trying to resurrect "nice" in a desperate move to keep said fellow out of public office...

It was refreshing to read these words in Kleon's book:
The golden rule is even more golden in our hyper-connected world...The best way to vanquish your enemies...? Ignore them.  The best way to make friends...? Say nice things about them.
Now he was talking about the Internet, but I'd say this is reasonable advice in the real world too.

He goes on to say that in our creative journey, more than ever before we will need:
  • Curiosity;
  • Kindness;
  • Stamina; [and]
  • A willingness to look stupid.   ;-)
There you go.  I just had 100 books printed -- and several bought online -- with glaring spelling errors in them.  But, like "design features" or "Amish moments" in quilting, clearly those typos are there to keep me  "humble and kind".  And so...time to swallow my pride and move on!

Two pieces of better news -- for which I needed those humbling typos -- also arrived this week.

Yesterday, the latest "Reveal" for 15 x 15 was posted.  The theme this time is "Botanicals", and you can see it HERE.

Canola (C) 2016

Once again I experimented with InkTense (R) pencils and machine-stitched hand-written script; I remain uncertain about the quality of the results but know that over time, with practice, I'll produce better.  I toyed with stitching the script in black or writing it in fabric pen, but then decided I just wanted it to blend in with the rest of the foreground -- the bright canola field -- so left it at that.

I also quilted this piece far more densely than I usually do, which was a test for my fussy-pants Husqvarna.  Even after its annual tune-up, it refuses to enjoy stitching free-motion spirals...

In other news, Denise Milne, the owner of the Bonavista Fine Art Gallery in Sylvan Lake, whose taken a large number of my pieces into her beautiful space and hung them with paintings, has also posted my very own "Artist's Page" on the Gallery's website!  And...she sent me these photos of my work now on display:

As for the battle between Mrs. C. and Mr. T...if all the "stupid stuff", the sturm und drang, threatens to make your blood pressure rise, best take Kleon's wife's advice: "Quit picking fights and go make something."

I'm off to do just that -- but before I go, I'll link in to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday .  She too has pretty good advice this week: seize the day; life's too short to sit around watching green bananas ripen!  Catcha later, eh?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Process to Production

Prologue: I've been thinking about this post for several days.  I wrote a bit, saved it as a draft, and thought some more.  I originally titled it, "To Market, to Market"...but as you can see, I've changed that. What follows is an up-dated version of the original...

For the past few weeks I've been spending a great deal of time -- or so it seems to me -- doing something that makes me and many -- if not all -- of my artist colleagues queasy.

That something?  "Shameless self-promotion" -- also known as "marketing".

It's tough doing it even if one is an extrovert, and I'm not; rather, I'm somewhere on the introvert spectrum: capable of speaking and singing in public, capable of "schmoozing" at an art opening, capable of enjoying a retreat or conference with friends, capable of enjoying time with family...but requiring a day or two or three in solitude thereafter simply to recharge my batteries.

So going out into the community with posters and postcards to advertise the forthcoming opening of my first installation is pretty tiring.  Blessedly Maureen, the person at the City who is coordinating the event, has no trouble with such things, and is doing a stellar job for me in Lacombe and Red Deer and beyond...leaving me with far less of it to do than I expected -- much to my relief.

But Maureen's not my art agent (grin).  I don't have one of those.  So...when I discovered a new gallery in Sylvan Lake -- a town about an hour from here -- on a visit in late August...I had to speak up, to engage the gallery owner in a chat about my work, to arrange to show it to her...and then to prepare it for exhibit there.

Though still on a consignment basis, for the first time my work will be hanging in a gallery that features predominately paintings.  There is work in other media there -- glass, sculpture, metal -- and fine craft such as pottery and jewellry -- but mostly paintings.  Mostly what people in this part of the world think of when they hear the word "art".  I am thrilled at the prospect of being shown on the same walls...and hoping that will give people a different way to define 'art'.

This means that this week I was attaching wires to the backs of my pieces mounted on stretched canvas...

And writing up a 'descriptive inventory' that included the sort of things I generally put on a label on the back of my quilts: materials and techniques.

I couldn't help but notice that my materials list was much more than "acrylic on canvas" or "water colour on canvas" or "mixed media".   Hmmmm.

The pieces have now been delivered, and the consignment agreement signed, with an official start date of September 24.  Once Denise, the gallery owner, figures out how many she has room for, and hangs them, I'll go and pick up the rest.    Then...we shall see.

Meanwhile, I continue to work on assembling MOB for hanging (a month from today!) , as well as my latest piece for the 15 x 15 Group...

Sneak Peek at a Detail...

And several projects for gifts; first, for the two new babies in my life....

Christmas Stocking Under Construction

Soon to be a "Blankie"

A terrible "selfie" of me in a cloche recently finished, a commission...

When did my neck get old?!

There's another hat (commission) on the needles as we speak, and plans are underway for the Annual Christmas Boxer Shorts, as well as a variety of knitted gifts for friends and family...

What am I doing sitting here typing?!  Time for breakfast and the sewdio!

P.S. I'm linking late into Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 12, 2016

SAQA's Annual Benefit Auction - 2016 Edition

For only the second time since 2008, this year I didn't put a piece in the annual SAQA Benefit Auction.  With all that's been going on -- my 15 x 15 Group participation, the Lacombe Art Show and Sale in April, My Corner of the World in MayThe Wedding in July (with its accompanying quilt), and the up-coming Mark on the Body work in my final year as SAQA Co-Rep (Alberta)...well...I just ran out of days!

I didn't even make the deadline to create a SAQA Dream Collection for posting on the website, darn it!  :-(

To make up for that, though...earlier this month I posted a Dream Collection on the SAQA Western Canada I am linking it HERE for you to enjoy.  I plan to watch this  year's auction unfold and see if I can make a winning bid on a special piece by one of my colleagues.  I owe them -- and SAQA -- a great deal for bringing out the 'artist' in me.'s my piece from last year's auction, inspired by Steve Martin's "Daddy Played the Banjo", which found a new home with a banjoist and fan of Mr. M...

Yellow Tree - (C) 2015

Why don't you enjoy the music while you plan your own Dream Collection?  Till next time...