Monday, November 3, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Today's is a different kind of blog post. I have been tagged by Swedish art quilter Vera Holmgren to join in an "around-the-world blog hop."

Vera is a member of Studio Art Quilt Associates and the Surface Design Association, and she enjoys working with a variety of innovative techniques. Her current series uses antique textiles in a tribute to her great-grandmother. You can read Vera's response to this challenge by going to her blog posting of October 27th.

Mothers II, Vera Holmgren 
Here are my own answers to the questions posed to each participant:

1. What am I working on?

At the moment, I am not spending any time in the studio, but I am busy promoting my shows and planning my next exhibition, coming up later this month. I suspect it would come as a surprise to most that I am spending more time on promotion than on "making". I think I need an agent.... 

When this next show is over, I will make an entry for one other (Montreal) show, and then I hope to catch my breath and reassess. It's been a very busy year (more than 25 shows of one kind or another) and I need some serious bathrobe time. Or maybe some art-focused travel.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Within the genre of "urban landscape", my work is different because it is expressed in cloth and stitch.

Within the genre of "fibre art", I've been told that my work is quite distinctive. I see it as a synthesis of my love for line (drawing was a big component in my BFA, painting not so much) and for colour. I like to study an everyday urban image, distill it into line and shape, and then use the energy of colour to make it into something special.

Boathouses #1
When I brought my friend and fellow artist Helena Scheffer to see some boathouses that I had earlier chosen as a subject, she said to me, "They are so ordinary and you have made them so beautiful!"

I don't feel the need to quilt densely or conform to other expectations of contemporary quilting. My focus is on the image, taking a commonplace scene and making it worthy of a second look.

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 

I have always been drawn to the image of the house, as I suspect many little girls are. And fibre seems to be the natural choice for me, also going back to childhood.
original photo of Rue de Buade 

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

I begin with a photograph, most often my own, of an urban landscape. The selection of an interesting and well-composed photo is key for me.  I use the image as the basis for a line drawing. Seeing the line drawing emerge is one of the favourite parts of my practice.

drawing for Rue de Buade #1
(note that it is done in a mirror image of the original)
I make a pattern of the shapes in the drawing and cut out these shapes in cloth, usually hand-dyed cotton. Immersing myself in the possibilities of sumptuous colours is another highlight of the process. I collage the cloth shapes onto a background and then impose the line drawing over this collage in the form of a machine-stitched, black line.
Rue de Buade #1
And now for the final part of this challenge, I would like to introduce you to two creative people who have agreed to post their responses next week, on November 10. I follow both their blogs and I am a better artist for it.

World traveler Mirka Knaster has been a professional writer for decades. Now a textile artist living in Northern California, Mirka shines a spotlight on a particular issue in art or creativity and asks provocative questions about it.  You can read her thoughts at

Published author, teacher and fibre artist Leni Wiener lives in New York. She finds her imagery on city streets, carefully observing people in everyday moments. Leni has coached many artists on "finding their own voice", and is the organizing force behind SAQA's exhibitions. She publishes her reflections at



Vera Holmgren said...

How interesting to read you blog, I totally agree with Helena Scheffer, you describe very ordinary pictures in a very beautiful way. I love the colors you use. Looking forward to read Leni Wiener's blog post too, very interesting.

Maggi said...

Really enjoyed reading this blog post.

Mirka Knaster said...

Always appreciate learning about the creative process another artist goes through in order to come up such beautiful results.