24 December 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As we say goodbye to 2015 I'd like to wish all SAQA Atlantic members a happy holiday and productive new year. This is a time for reflection about the events of the past year. 2015 was a hallmark year for our region. It began with a retreat, co-chaired by me and Kate Madeloso. Then we moved on to a very successful regional show (which will continue into 2016) thanks to the hard work of curator Regina Marzlin. The year ended with planning for the travels of the SAQA trunk show, masterminded by Helene Blanchet, and preliminary planning for a retreat in October 2016. I am pleased that we now seem to have a plan for regular retreats and shows. That structure brings more value to your SAQA membership and should help us attract new recruits.

During my time as regional representative it has always been my intention to turn much of the region's business over to the members. I believe that people gain much more and grow as artists and members of their community through active participation. I am pleased to acknowledge the work of the following people who actively contributed their time and energy to our region in 2015.

Jennifer Scantlebury Vienneau - regional rep, blog, retreat, regional show
Kate Madeloso - retreat, regional show
ReBecca Paterson - retreat
Susan Tilsley Manley - retreat, regional trunk show, 2016 retreat
Regina Marzlin - regional show
Heather Jarmyn - regional show
Heather Loney - regional show
Helene Blanchet - regional show, SAQA trunk show
Susan Lilley - blog, 2016 retreat
Kathy Tidswell - blog
Holly McLean - blog
Linda Mackie Finley - 2016 retreat

In January the SAQA trunk show will start its journey through the region. Each of you who presents it to a guild or other group or drives it from place to place will be an active participant in spreading the word about art quilts. I thank you in advance for all that you will do.

2016 will bring exciting change to the region. I plan to step down as rep so that I can devote my energies to service on the SAQA Board. I am not going anywhere, though, and will always be available to listen and to help out. I am pleased to announce that, pending approval from SAQA, Regina Marzlin will be your next regional representative. She made a commitment to SAQA at a time when there was not much activity in our region and has been an important part of our growth and development. As a full-time artist she has a unique perspective on what SAQA can offer its members. Regina's term will begin in early summer. 

Here's to another amazing year of art quilts.

Chris Nielsen

18 December 2015

December Blogwatch

Here's a quick review of what some SAQA Atlantic members are blogging about this month.

Winter Solstice

Penny Berens’ blog features a brief meditation on Winter Solstice, an art quilt she created last winter.
Winter Solstice by Penny Berens

Christmas Decorating and Sewing

Holly McLean muses about being creative with Christmas decorating, while at the same time keeping it simple.
A bird nest in the Christmas tree is said to be good luck.

Finding Light in Dark December

Regional SAQA rep Chris Nielsen’s blog has several postings this month. In her latest entry, Busiest Year, Chris muses about how her life has changed over the past year. In previous December 2015 entries, Chris tells us how she finds light in this darkest of seasons. Don’t miss the video she posted of Chiharu Shiota's fabulous installation at the Venice Bienale 2015!

Chris was recently elected to the SAQA Board for three years and is now actively seeking someone to take over the responsibilities of regional representative. Please consider this opportunity and give Chris a call to find out what the position entails.

02 December 2015

Hope and Survival, The Halifax Explosion 1917 Commemoration Quilt Project


Just over a year ago, Nova Scotia artist Laurie Swim undertook a monumental community art project to mark the upcoming centenary of the 1917 Halifax explosion. The fibre art piece, Hope and Survival, will honour the lives lost or dramatically changed by the explosion and celebrate the heroic efforts to assist survivors.

One panel from Laurie Swim's Hope and Survival project, commemorating the 1917 Halifax explosion.

On Sunday, December 6th, Laurie will be presenting an update on the Hope and Survival Project as part of the annual commemoration of the Halifax explosion, at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax. The event will include a display of the first twelve columns of the Scroll of Remembrance, one component of the overall project.

One small section of the Scroll of Remembrance, work in progress by Laurie Swim and volunteers.

The scroll, once completed, will list the names and ages of all 1,946 victims of the explosion. The names are beaded in braille in recognition of those blinded by the blast. Hung together, the single sheets of the scroll represent the windows where so many stood watching the collision of the two ships on that fateful day.
Names and ages of victims, beaded in braille by project participants. Laurie Swim
“Thanks to all of you who beaded the sheets, this part of the project is nearly completed. Without your enthusiastic participation, I don't think it would be nearly as far along in its progress as it is”  says artist Laurie Swim.

This year's commemorative event will include Laurie’s presentation about the project and a memorial concert with David Stone and friends.

The annual commemoration of the Halifax explosion takes place on Sunday, December 6th, 2015, from 1-3pm. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, 1675 Lower Water Street, Halifax, NS. Admission free.