Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Door for My House

Finally, my piece for this year's effort of the North Island Quilters for Community Awareness, is completed. Better late than never. More than fifty individual pieces have been made, each one reflecting the artist's interpretation of this year's theme for the Stephen Lewis Foundation - Turning the Tide. Each one is astounding, personal, and speaks of the hope and positive change that is happening among the women of African, in spite of, or because of HIV/AIDS. All sorts of techniques and materials have been used to convey the story of what is possible, "one ripple at a time". The collection has already begun its tour throughout western Canada, and if you have the opportunity to see it, I would encourage you to get out and do so. A full catalogue of the pieces and the venues in which they will be displayed can be seen on the website - As for my piece, the central block is based on a photograph I took of Alice teaching the other Bitengye Designers how to thread a treadle sewing machine. The blocks surrounding it. tell the

story of the way life has changed for these amazing women, since they have learned how to sew. It illustrates the things they have been able to purchase, since they started to have an income. Annah told me she'd bought a cow, Knight bought a bed for herself, and Rechael bought a door for her house. A book has been published containing photos of the entire collection, and can be purchased wherever the quilts are being showcased. And all proceeds will go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which continues to support widows and grandmothers, and orphans affected by HIV/AIDS. If you haven't already read it, I would suggest you get

yourself a copy of "Race Against Time". Stephen Lewis articulates the difficulties in combatting this pandemic as few others have. And despite the frustrations in so doing, continues to remember the women of Africa, and to do what he can, what his Foundation can, to "Turn the Tide". And while it is a wee drop in the bucket, the Bitengye Designers are doing that too. I applaud both of them from the bottom of my heart!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

African Collage class in Winnipeg

One of the best parts of being a teacher is the opportunity it gives me to travel to different parts of the country and to meet quilters all the way from the west coast to the east coast. Today I'm happy to show you the work of some of the quilters I met in Winnipeg in April. I was there to teach one of my design classes, African Collage, and always enjoy these. It's marvellous watching as each of the students brings her own interpretation to the making of her own quilted work. Each one is unique, in spite of all starting with similar fabrics. By the end of the second day of the workshop everyone's pieces are up on the wall - some are almost completed. I thought you'd enjoy seeing just a few examples from these students - still "works in progress", still mighty impressive. I had the opportuntiy to teach this same class again at Quilt Canada in Calgary, and look forward to receiving photos of their finished pieces as well. All have been most impressive!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ferns, Flowers and Other Follies

It has been about 6 weeks since I was in Moose Jaw, and I realize that I still haven't posted any photos from the Ferns and Floweres workshop that was held there. What is this with time speeding up so fast? Is this something that happens when you pass the midway mark? I've been to Winnipeg and to Calgary too since then, and hardly seem able to catch up to my own travels. I want to show you just a few photos from Moose Jaw - Works in Progress. And aren't they magnificent? Students looked out on a still-frozen landscape while working on colourful pieces - each unique, each magnificent - and the shapes and colours evoked memories of summer
as well as of happy and celebratory times. As I watched the various compositions evolve, I was once again amazed at the creativity and imagination of the workshop participants. A sense of play was abundant - the most important element of a workshop in which students are encouraged to give voice to their own designs. What amazes me is that while each participant in the workshop started with the same shapes, each piece created is unique. Such a testament to the creativity of women, of artists.