Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

Ever since I was able to read (or perhaps it started when I was a toddler, devouring picture books) I have had a strong attraction to public libraries. I think it’s the thrill of walking in and being surrounded by all those possibilities, let alone being given the chance to take some of them home!

The library interior librarysystem where I live is like an old, reliable friend. I can count on it to satisfy my curiosity about anything I care to dream up. Right now, I’m reading a novel, learning about owls and woodpeckers, listening to a Miles Davis CD and researching a trip to Scotland – all using materials borrowed from the library. And throughout my journey as a textile artist, I have relied heavily on the Toronto Library system’s impressive resources for textile artists and quilt makers.

Imagine my delight when I walked into one of the library branches in my community and discovered a notice inviting artists to display their work! This would be a chance for two of my favourite pastimes to converge!

For the month of February, I’ve mounted a small, colourful exhibit of textile art on the second floor of Maria A. Shchuka library in Toronto (Eglinton Ave. W. near Dufferin St.). One wall is near the stairwell, and the other one is in the “Quiet Study Room”.

textile art displayed on wall

The drab, grey wall is much brighter now!

I have chosen pieces that I think will invite library patrons to look and linger, and called the show “Stories in Stitches”. I hope to spark emotional connections, and expose people to the possibilities of telling stories with fabric and stitching.

This is far less formal than a gallery exhibit, and I hope that my art will evoke interest from a broader audience than would normally come to a gallery exhibit or a quilt show.


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Coming up fast – the York Heritage Quilters Guid show and sale for two days only: Friday, Nov. 14 (10 – 6) and Saturday, Nov. 15 (10 – 5). A Celebration of Quilts only comes around every three years, so you will have to wait until 2017 if you miss this one! I can guarantee that it will be a dazzling display of all sorts of textile creativity.

The location is Toronto Botanical Garden (Edwards Gardens). A Celebration of Quilts event postcardIn addition to the 200 quilts made by some talented people,  there will be a marketplace featuring 16 vendors (fabrics, books, patterns, etc.), two café locations to grab some lunch, plus a boutique filled with unique one-of-a-kind handmade items just in time for the holiday gift-giving season.  In addition, for a very reasonable price of $24, you can purchase a 12”x12” mini-quilt made by one of the Guild members.

See you there!

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Wordless Wednesday

Heart Garage

laneway surprise

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I have finally managed to dedicate some time to writing this blog post, which is long overdue. Life has just been too busy these days (as the fall always is in my “day” job).

Since a about 2007, I’ve been part of a group of fabulous textile artists in my neighbourhood that has been organizing annual exhibits of our work in the community. However, it’s getting harder and harder to find a decent place to show our work. One of our members approached a local cafe, and the next thing we knew, we had wall space for the month of November!

So last weekend, we had our opening reception at Ellington’s Music & Cafe. Shelley’s talented friend, Steafan Hannigan, and his partner performed some lively, eclectic Irish music and kept the place hopping!

I wanted to share a bit of background on the creative process that brought my “houses” quilt to life.

I bought a cute little bundle of delicious shot cottons (fat eighths) at Greenwood Quiltery a few months ago (the one and only time I went there!), and just knew that I wanted to make houses out of them.

Way back in my subconscious, I had stored images of the colourful houses I’d seen in St. John’s, Newfoundland, but in the forefront of my consciousness, I had two current sources of inspiration. #1 – an illustration I’d cut out of the Globe & Mail Report on Business magazine; #2 – an image that I encounter every time I am sitting in a certain meeting room at work (daydreaming, and looking out the window!!).

Inspiration #1

Inspiration #2

#2 isn’t the best quality photo, but you get the idea … the angular shapes within shapes, carrying on almost infinitely. I played around with various ideas on paper, but the design wall became the best source of design inspiration.

Not too Close for Comfort

You have to look closely to see that the blue background fabric is not uniform (click on the image to enlarge). The top part represents a starry sky, whereas the bottom half is tone-on-tone fabric symbolizing earth, vegetation, growth, roots. A lot of the small pieces were random scraps from my scrap stash that I didn’t even trim.

It’s really liberating to follow your intuition and just start throwing things up on the design wall. I highly recommend it!

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Well, I made it through that wicked heat wave we had last week here in Toronto! Several days of 35C temperatures and humidex scores in the forties. There’s no way I could have got any sewing done this weekend if that had kept up. Luckily, the humidity broke Friday evening and we had a gorgeous weekend.

Today was a perfect day for hanging out the laundry: sunny, dry and breezy. Also perfect for sewing!

First 4 Amish Pinwheel blocks

However, if I only get two of these blocks done every weekend, it’s going to be a looong project!

The block is called Amish Pinwheel. At least, that’s what Mary Ellen Hopkins calls it. There are 4 half-square triangle blocks in each block, and each block will measure 18″ finished. My plan is to make a summer coverlet. Not sure yet whether I will put any batting in at all … perhaps flannelette?

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… until our fabulous Art for the Body & Soul – Celebration of Quilts! You don’t want to miss this opportunity to soak up a torrent of colour and creativity in textiles! It takes place Friday, Nov. 11 through to Sunday, Nov. 13 at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. See you there!

This show happens only once every 3 years!

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Early warning – it’s only a month away – the most fabulous quilt/art show in Toronto! The dates are Friday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 13 and the venue is the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, 6 Garamond Court, near Don Mills Road and Eglinton Ave.E.

This show & sale is mounted only every 3 years, and  I think that’s a perfect interval. The volunteers from the York Heritage Quilters Guild really put a lot of effort into organizing a fantastic show.

I’ll have two recent works in the show: a bed quilt that I have titled “There are always flowers for those who want to see them”, which is a quote from Henri Matisse and my “Did you see that?” wall quilt inspired by Charley Harper. When I get the binding on the bed quilt, I’ll make sure to get a photo posted.

Did you see that?

But that’s not all! I will be donating a small wall quilt to the silent auction, which is a great fundraiser for Sketch. I blogged about this little quilt on March 28 – Charley Harper’s Gray-crowned Rosy Finch.

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