Thursday, April 28, 2011

More about Yellowknife

One of the things that I enjoyed most about Yellowknife, after the people of course, was the bright blue skies and the brilliant light. The landscape reminded me very much of northern Ontario. This was the view from the apartment where I stayed for the week. Can you see the brightly coloured boathouses out on Great Slave Lake? And the car on the ice highway, which was still open while I was there? Another highlight was going to Bullock's Bistro for dinner. Here we I am with new friends Hazel, Shona (from Inuvik), Brenda and Donna. We're waiting patiently while the day's catch - arctic char and
pickeral - is cooked up for us. That's what you have for supper - whatever has been caught fresh that day. On my last day in YK, I was able to take more photos - of trees (I can never get enough of them, especially the bare branch variety), of ravens (they're absolutely huge!), more photos of colourful boat houses, and one last one of me, proving that I've actually been to this Canadian treasure. I was made to feel so at home, and think I understand a little better now why people stay so long (some, for the rest of their lives). My hope is that I will make it back again before too long, maybe in the summer
time, which would make it possible to explore some of the lakes and do a little canoeing. Until then, thank you all you Yellowknifers, for a terrific visit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaching in Yellowknife

I am just coming to the end of a delightful week in Yellowknife. The quilters here are terrific, and jumped right into making their own African Collage quilts. These shots give you a glimpse of works in progress, and in a few cases, of finished wallhangings. Donna plunged right in and in painting the white African figures green, yellow and orange, added her own unique spin to the fabrics provided. Julia's piece grew bigger and bigger over the two days. Not only did she have her own collection of African fabrics to add to the piece, but she also included unusual fabrics, such as Dupioni silk and satin. Next pictures is Diana, who hit a bit of a wall in her construction progress at the end of the class, but reappeared two days later with it all together, having found that working at home was just what she needed to push through that temporary barrier. Pat came with her finished wallhanging on that same day, having added guinea fowl and beads, borders and binding. Her quilt was even labelled already! And lastly is Hazel with her quilt, just about ready for her to add the finishing touches. I so enjoyed spending time with these quilters. And what a treat
to be able to visit Yellowknife for the first time in my life. Yes, there's ice and snow, but also brilliant sunshine most days, and rocky, granite outcroppings topped with trees, which are reminiscent for me of many places I visited while I was growing up. And the welcome and warmth (of a different kind) that I've been shown here has been wonderful.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tamagawa Textile Artists

Twice a year for the past several years, I have been fortunate enough to be part of a gathering of textile artists at Tamagawa University Campus near Nanaimo. For three wonderful days, we have been able to do our own work while being totally free of interruptions and responsibilities. We have had the opportunity to share learning and share our lives. There's always lots of laughter, and I always return home newly energized, and counting myself rich in having so many creative women in my life. This spring was our last time at this particular venue, but I am certain we will find a way to continue our retreats somewhere else. We always have a challenge of some sort, and this year the theme was "trees". The photos of the entries this spring give you a small glimpse into the diversity of talents and the skill of some of the members of this group. Some of the pieces fit a suggested 12" X 12" format, but there were just as many members that chose to work to a different size. The first piece, made by Diane Boyko, was voted #1 in the 12" X 12" size, while Paulette's Arbutus Bark (second to last on this post) was voted #1 in the alternate size group. Other
stunning entries were made by Gladys Love (2nd photograph), Dale MacEwan (3rd photograph), and Hennie Aikman (last photograph). Our theme for the next time we meet is "ocean". I'm going to try not to leave it until the very last minute to get my piece done this time, but don't have a very good track record in this regard! And that's putting it mildly. I may even go back to the trees theme of the last challenge - so many unfulfilled ideas still dancing around my head. We'll see . . .

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Visit to Calgary

I've just arrived home from a week in Calgary, where I was warmly welcomed by both the Piecemakers Quilt Guild and the Quilted Mouse Guild. The classes were a lot of fun, filled as they were with very creative people. I thought you would enjoy seeing some works in progress from the Ferns and Flowers class. I love the way every quilt is different, even though everyone starts off with the same templates. It just confirms that we each have our own sense of design and of colour. What a pleasure it is seeing these emerge!

I'm looking forward to seeing these again when they're finished, when the borders and quilting have been added. In the meantime each of their compositions will add a little spring to their lives, until the real thing arrives. I even experienced a snow storm while I was in Calgary, and they tell me it may not be the last one of the season yet. A big thank you to all of you for four great classes!