This is the card I found in the window at Traditional Pastimes that led me to the amazing display of work done by Western Canadian students in the London City and Guilds Embroidery Certificate programs. It's on this weekend at the Highland Park Community Hall here in town -- today, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. I just may go back to have another look!
I first heard of City and Guilds when I took a class in Creative Backs at The Fabric Cottage. Anna was an embroidery student who'd expanded her repertoire of embroidery and embellishments into quilting. Her pieces had pride of place at this show, being the first things we saw when we walked in. As we were leaving, I was telling my GF about Anna, when she came up to us, recognized me from the class, and we had a great chat. :-)
As we went 'round the exhibits, my GF and I managed to 'interview' 3 of the artists -- one young (30's) and two older (late 50's, early 60's). The first gal said that she got into this after a visit to a class with a friend. She'd never embroidered before. The second said she was not a needlewoman either, but what attracted her to the courses was the fact that she "always broke the rules" when she made anything (from soup to nuts!). The third was a young woman who'd just been granted her Level 3 certificate and was excited about moving forward to explore her favourite inspiration -- a natural object, the humble turtle!! What she did with the colours and patterns inspired by a turtle's shell was absolutely fabulous!
Here's another sample of a piece we saw there (though we didn't get to speak with the artist, Joan Saunders).
Their instructor is Gail Harker, a fabric artist based in Oak Bay, WA, and these women are/were her first Canadian students. One of them told us that Harker found the group very different. When she gave them an assignment to bring in symbols of Canadian identity, she got everything from totem poles (BC Coast) to wheat (prairies) to Ukrainian Easter eggs (Winnipeg). It took her a while to understand that diversity and multiculturalism is part of the heart and soul of Canadian identity. :-)
So...if you're in the area and looking for a way to get your creative juices going, get over to Highland Park Community Hall and drink in the magic!