Tuesday, June 7, 2011

African Collage in Czar, Alberta

I have just returned home from a wonderful teaching trip to Czar, Alberta. Where is this you ask? Well, it's 2 1/2 hours drive southeast of Edmonton - a town of 200 with a Quilters' Guild that draws members from all sorts of nearby rural communities. This 75-member Guild was celebrating their 10th anniversary, and I was fortunate enough to be invited there for this event. I can't tell you how impressed I was with these women, most of whom are traditional quilters, but wanted to try something a little different. They opted for my African Collage class, and each and every one of them created thier own unique wallhanging. I'd like to introduce you to just a few of them in this post, with more to follow in a day or two. First is Vicki. She had to prepare breakfast and lunch for the men on the ranch, who were branding cattle this weekend, before coming to class and designing this beautifully balanced and colourful piece. Next shown is Elaine, who added touches of blue to the warm fabrics provided in her class kit. Just the right touch to cause the eye to travel around her collage, and totally unlike anything she'd
made before. Carole used a deep blue and rust colour combination, to set off her batiked and silk-screened animals and people. The beads she's auditioning are the final touch. Ann went from saying that she wasn't sure what she was doing, to adding a row of squares on point in just the right colours to bring all the elements of her piece together. And lastly there's Miriam's work, with the unexpected addition of blocks from another quilt entirely, a curved pieced border, and a village scene in which rounded roofs of the huts echo that curved border. I am always amazed in this class, how individual each wallhanging is, how the personality of each person comes through. Apart from being a brave group of quilters, willing to try something quite new to them, they're also a phenomenally strong group of women. No matter what's going on in their lives, as many as can make it meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month in the Czar Hall. Once a year, on the weekend before Halloween, they have a quilt show, which draws people from as far away as Moose Jaw and Red Deer and Edmonton. And there's an annual sleepover at the
hall, and an annual bus trip, although now that they're up to 75 members, it's harder to do that. And then there's the food - home made soups and salads and desserts to die for. I was introduced to Saskatoon berry crumble, and will remember what a treat that was for a long time to come. So thank you to all of you in Czar and surrounding communities. You gave me such a warm welcome. I hope our paths cross again one day. And for any of you who might be travelling through that part of the country at the end of October this year, be sure to stop in and enjoy their quilt show, which is a much-anticipated event for the whole community every year. You'll be in for a treat.


  1. Hello - found your blog on a surf. These are really neat - so nice to see something different from all the other blogs I follow. :)

  2. Wow! Fabulous. I love your African theme! Did you have people come with African fabrics?

  3. I bring African fabrics to class, but often people have their own fabrics to work with too. Always so colourful and inspirational.

  4. How wonderful to find you on a blog Pippa...and to see your fabulous work!
    You may enjoy our blog too
    Posted your buttons off to you today...what a coincidence then finding you by chance...this Internet thing is truly incredible.
    Love the work you are doing...hope to meet up with you again someday...perhaps in Houston in November? Or should you ever visit south Africa... Warm greetings from Johannesburg ...Jennifer