25 October 2016

SAQA trunk show at Fibrefest 2016

Mountain/Fields II by Jill Jensen

The SAQA 25th Anniversary Trunk Show, a collection of 51 small art quilts on tour around the region, was recently on display at the 2016 Fibre Arts Festival in Amherst NS.

Joann Dnistransky reports on the event:

"The trunk show was well received, with approximately 170 visitors, and people were amazed! The exhibit was at the Four Fathers Library, which was instagramming the info out to the public and getting a lot of traffic in. Visitors from Germany, France, California, BC, Alberta, Ontario and all over the Atlantic are now more familiar with SAQA and what we're all about." 

View all the quilts in the collection online.

18 October 2016

We are All Africans takes first place at MBQG

We are all Africans by Linda Mackie Finley,  w49" x h63"

Our congratulations go to SAQA Atlantic member Linda Mackie Finley.  Her art quilt, We are all Africans, placed first overall for the Viewer's Choice Award and the CQA Ribbon at the 2016 Mahone Bay Quilt Guild Show & Sale. Linda's quilt was machine and hand appliqued, machine pieced, embellished with both stitch and paint, and hand quilted.

We asked Linda to tell us about her award-winning quilt.

Linda, you've made several, magnificently detailed quilts on a variety of topics. Would you tell us about your inspiration for We are all Africans?

My "inspiration" was the crisis in Africa brought on by the AIDS epidemic, in which an entire generation of teachers, caregivers, artists, etc. was wiped out, leaving thousands of children bereft and without the basic requirements to build a future.

Because I have a love for African art, I was able to draw upon it for the figures in this quilt. The two child-laden women in the centre are based on ancestral Nigerian maternity figures that are called upon to preserve the health and welfare of the community. The grey 'monolithic' figures are also ancestral representations, probably funerary in nature, as are others in the piece. 

We are all Africans (detail) by Linda Mackie Finley 

The caryatid bearing the large bowl, in the centre of the quilt, draws on a tradition in Benin. Such carved figures were placed outside of villages to ward off evil. The bowl in my piece is thus filled with Aids viruses, disarmingly beautiful.
We are all Africans (detail) by Linda Mackie Finley 

The pairs of animals are representations of the Ark, as the San people in South Africa, systematically eliminated by European colonization, have recently been proven to be the forbearers of the entire human race. Thus the title of the piece.

And finally, the beadwork along the bottom is my effort to represent a Luba divination board, a highly sophisticated document from Zaire.

How did you turn your inspiration into this marvellous quilt?

The process for this work was a long one. It sat on my design wall, in various incarnations, for over a year. Just as I was about to abandon it, I saw Val Hearder’s collection, "African Threads", work by contemporary women artists from South Africa. It was heartbreakingly beautiful, and I loved the way they used their simple yet sophisticated embroideries to convey the story. They were totally my inspiration and gave me permission to abandon my conventional way of storytelling. I threw my heart into the work instead of my head. I think it worked.

See more of Linda Mackie Finley’s work on her website, Kite-Borne Threads.

16 October 2016

Art Hits the Wall 2017 Call For Entry

Atlantic Canada’s Art Hits the Wall Committee invites rug hookers and quilters to enter Under the Influence, a juried exhibition of hooked rugs and art quilts, open to all year-round residents of Atlantic Canada.

Under the Influence

Who or what inspires your work? A great master? A teacher? Your beloved granny? Perhaps it’s the medium itself: the colours, the textures, the rhythms of your craft. We want to know what inspires you. Create an image or a collage that reflects the people, place or thing that has inspired or continues to inspire you. This is a personal introspective journey that we invite you to have fun with and produce a wonderful piece of art for this event.


Completed application forms, with photos, will be accepted between March 1 and March 31, 2017. Applications postmarked after March 31 will not be accepted.


Width: 16-24 inches (no less, no more) 
Height: 16-30 inches (no less, no more)
All pieces must be 2 dimensional. That is, any embellishments must not exceed 1” from the surface.

Each artist may submit up to two pieces.


Official Launch: Rug Hooking Museum of North America (Mid May to Mid October 2017).  Additional locations and dates will be announced. If you are aware of any venues interested in having this show, please contact Art Hits the Wall.

Application forms will be available through organizations that support the creation of art through rug hooking and quilting. For additional information or to request an application form, please contact Art Hits the Wall by email or visit Art Hits the Wall on Facebook.

14 October 2016

Two fibre art exhibits in Fredericton!

SAQA Atlantic member Kathy Tidswell invites you to two exhibitions of fibre art currently on view in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Kathy has several items in each of these shows.

Autumn Splendour

Transitions 1 by Kathy Tidswell, 2016, w8" x h11"

What: Autumn Splendour
Who: The Fibre Arts Network (FAN)
Where: Fredericton Public Library, 12 Carleton St, Fredericton NB
When: Until the end of October, 2016

Fibre Arts Network (FAN) is a Fredericton-based network of fibre design artists who produce fine craft items for the fine craft market. This exhibit includes weaving, basketry, thread painting, felting, knitting, quilting, sewing, sculptural pieces and more! It will be on display until the end of October.

Fibre Expressions 2016

What: Fibre Expressions 2016
Who: The Fredericton Guild of Fibre Artists
Where: Government House, 51 Woodstock Rd, Fredericton NB
When: October 7 - November 29, 2016

The Fredericton Guild of Fibre Artists is a somewhat eclectic group that meets once a week to share a love of all fibre arts. Interests range from all types of needlework to weaving, rug hooking, felting, bobbin lacemaking and more. The Guild has been in existence since 1979 and held their first exhibition in 1980.

13 October 2016

Call for artwork of a spiritual nature

A detail of Creation by Paul Krampitz; part of the Common Threads Indigo Quilts at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver. Photo: Martin Knowles

Christ Church Cathedral, in Vancouver B.C, is mounting a juried exhibition of textile art of a spiritual nature, including perspectives from First Nations artists and a range of faith traditions. The Canada-wide call for entry is now open.

(in)finite: exploring the finite limitations of humanity
and the ineffable, infinite nature of the Divine.
A Canadian Textile Exhibition
May 25 to June 4, 2017
Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, BC

Submission Deadline: Friday, February 17, 2017

For details, see (in)finite: a Canadian Textile Exhibition.

30 September 2016

Kate Madeloso interview: Fibre art that’s eclectic, universal, exploratory

Rooted by K. Madeloso, w20" x h40".
Calgary-born artist Kate Madeloso arrived in Nova Scotia in 2007, after living five years in Europe. Kate is an insatiable artisan and self-professed technique junkie. Her art quilts demonstrate strength in design, love of colour and texture, and fine needlework skills.

In addition to art quilts, Kate has worked (and sometimes taught or exhibited) in numerous media, including stained glass, mosaics, ceramics, stone carving, macramé and rug hooking.

Kate has had one solo show and participated in numerous group shows across Canada, in Japan and in Italy. She contributes to the Nova Scotia fibre arts community through various volunteer activities. Most notably, Kate co-coordinated Art Hits the Wall for a four-year period and co-founded the NS Fibre Arts Bee (FAB), in which she continues to play a leadership role. 

We are delighted to introduce Kate as our first featured artist of the new season.

Kate, please describe your work for our readers.

The words that come to mind are eclectic, universal, exploratory.
I am inspired by traditional craftwork in any medium. I like to reinterpret traditional motifs with contemporary colours and styles, creating unique and original work. 

Most of my work has been representational but with a spontaneous approach to the design aspect, which is consistent with my graphic design background. My current focus is on wall art for home décor. I play with texture and colour and layering, adding unexpected glimpses of detail for an element of surprise. 

Play it Again Sam by K. Madeloso, w20" x h20".

More recently, I have been striving to make my work more socially relevant. Two themes, my Slavic heritage and climate change, have been appearing in my latest works.

Describe your journey towards becoming an artist who works with textiles. 

My mother was an extraordinary seamstress and craftsperson. She taught me to sew, knit, crochet and embroider as a young child, so I’ve been creating with textiles all my life. My formal education led to a 20-year career in graphic design. Throughout that time, I continued doing handwork as a hobby and as an escape from a hectic career.

I discovered the exciting world of textile art in 2003, while living in the UK and earning a Masters Certificate in Surface Design. The experience introduced me to the flourishing European textile art scene, confirming my long love affair with all things textile. 

Life then took me to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where I continued for three years to experiment and ask ‘what if?’ I took classes in bookmaking, beaded jewellery and the ancient Japanese art of temari (thread balls). I spent my Sundays learning to carve stone with a Cypriot family. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to twice visit the markets of Damascus (Syria). The abundant and high quality materials, traditional textiles and handcrafts I discovered there have been an endless source of inspiration. 

Then, shortly after the move to Nova Scotia, a call for art quilts to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Anne of Green Gables caught my eye. I submitted two pieces. “The Joy of Anne” placed 2nd in its category and subsequently travelled to Japan for two exhibitions. My other entry “A Lovely Place to Live, in an Apple Blossom” placed 3rd in a separate category. I was delighted to receive a substantial award cheque in the mail, an experience that launched my career as an art quilter.

Since that time, I’ve entered many exhibitions and have won several awards for my art quilts. 

Taliesin Mosaic by K. Madeloso, w30" x h36"
Honourable mention, SAQA Atlantic show, Structures, 2015.

Tell us about your process for creating. Where do you find your inspiration and how do you get from that to a final product?

My inspiration comes from whatever gives me joy. Sometimes it’s a message or feeling I want to convey, or it may simply be the fabrics, colours, textures, or embellishments I have at hand. Perhaps a stick found on a beach, an Islamic mosaic, a bouquet of flowers, a piece of Russian embroidery, tribal drumming, or sparkling water running down a creek. So many ideas, interests, techniques and styles, I sometimes find it difficult to focus. I particularly enjoy responding to challenges and calls for entry because the criteria help me focus on a specific project and deadline, much as I did as a graphic designer.

I have an obsessive desire to keep learning and growing and challenging myself with new techniques. I like to layer with organza, digital photos, various fabrics like silk, cotton, wool and repurposed textiles. Lots of applique and embroidery, initially done by machine, but lately I’ve embraced the slow cloth movement and have been enjoying working entirely by hand, on appliqué, patchwork and embroidery. 

While I use a variety of materials and techniques in each project, my approach is consistent. I start with research and reading followed by rough thumbnail sketches in pencil. Then I make a paper pattern drawn to size. I tack that onto my design wall and begin auditioning fabrics. Once the fabrics are chosen the construction comes together quickly. I always finish my pieces with hand embroidery, either a little or a lot, to provide balance and fine detail that draws viewers in.

By Hand with Love (detail) by K. Madeloso, w16" x h31".

What are you currently working on and why?

I always have several projects on the go. Having lived in the Yukon for four years, I have a strong respect for wildlife and for northern Canada. My concerns about melting polar ice have sparked a series of pieces taking a light-sided look at the plight of polar bears. This series combines traditional patchwork with non-traditional embroidery and embellishment.
A Vanishing Culture by K. Madeloso, w24” x h72”.

I’ve also started working on a series relating to my ancestral heritage as a second generation Canadian. My grandparents immigrated from Russia and the Ukraine in the late 1890s. I’m continuously inspired by their vibrant colourful traditions and stories of their pioneer struggles.

In response to a FAB member challenge, I’ve been working on a series of small art quilts based on traditional Russian embroidery designs. This series of appliqué compositions incorporates hand and machine embroidery. I’m currently working with a gallery to organize an exhibition of the challenge pieces early in 2017.

What are your goals for the coming year?

I plan to build on both my climate change and my heritage series, with new and larger pieces, perhaps stretched on canvas for framing. I would also like these works to make more explicit statements, for example, by depicting my ancestors burning firearms in Russia, an issue that’s still relevant today.

On the business side, I’d like to redesign my website and re-energize my blog but I’d rather be stitching than sitting in front of a computer.

As for ongoing learning, I have just been matched with a SAQA mentor and I will also continue working on the UK-based Stitchbusiness Master Class.

Where can readers see your work this year? 

I have two pieces in the combined SAQA travelling exhibits:

My Corner of the World (international) and My Corner of the World Canada (juried) 

Currently scheduled:
May 21 - October 20, 2016: Stratford Perth Museum, Stratford ON
November 1, 2016 - January 29, 2017: Thunder Bay Museum, Thunder Bay, ON

More showings to be announced.

To learn more about Kate and her artwork, please visit her website.

26 September 2016

SAQA Atlantic Fall Retreat

October 28 - 30, 2016
Debert, NS

SAQA Atlantic members are getting together for a weekend of camaraderie, learning and inspiration! Join us at the Debert Hospitality Centre for the last weekend of October.


Friday October 28th

4:00 - 6:00 p.m.   
Arrival at Debert Hospitality Centre, room check in and orientation; welcome by Atlantic area SAQA rep Regina Marzlin.

Show and Tell

Saturday October 29th

Hands-on seminar – The Alchemy of the Crayon Box, or, 64 colours are not ALWAYS better than eight  
Led by Linda Mackie Finley

In this session, we will review the simple 'reality' of the colour wheel and how viewing colour in a more painterly fashion can demystify the process of colour mixing and application. Participants will learn to more-reliably predict results and will have an opportunity to generate a full range of colours using only a basic few. 

Presentation and discussion – The Business of Art
Guest Speaker, Stacey Cornelius

Stacey Cornelius is a practising artist with a BFA in Textiles and Art History from NSCAD University. Stacey has 30 years experience in many facets of the retail industry and regularly offers classes on pricing and marketing for visual artists in various media. Her presentation, tailored to the interests of textile artists, will cover brand building, professional pricing and ways to determine the correct market niche. 

Show and Tell

Sunday October 30th

Discussion 1 – Working with Galleries
Led by Regina Marzlin

Participants will explore options for identifying and approaching appropriate venues for exhibition and sale of their work. 

Discussion 2 – Where to from Here?
Aimed at establishing a path forward for our vibrant community of textile artists.

Departure after lunch on Sunday.


Please register for the retreat on or before Friday October 14, 2016For more information or to register, contact our SAQA Atlantic representative Regina Marzlin.    

This event is for SAQA members exclusively. Not a member? You can join SAQA here!