Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Prairie Sky Wallhanging - A Work in Progress

Ever since I first heard Jody Benjamin's song about the prairies called Infinite Blue, I have been visualizing a panoramic piece with rolling hills, prairie fields and lots of sky.    In the cold of January I decided to give it a go.    I started by painting my sky on a piece of satin with caran d'ache crayons and water.  It took a couple of tries before I got the sky I was looking for.   Then, rather than fuse all the layers (which would have made hand-stitching a bit of a chore)  I just tacked them down with fabric glue and bits of fusible here and there.   I started at the top and worked my way down, cutting, placing, discarding, starting over, till I had the right combination of colours, textures, patterns and plains (no pun intended).   The strip at the bottom was rather serendipidous when I accidentally placed it across the quilt and saw that it gave the piece the panoramic look I was after.   I am still working on stitching the pieces together.  I think I will finish it pillow case style with no binding.    Lately I seem to be drawn to long narrow shapes - both horizontal and vertical.     And I am still working on my mosaic piece - many little squares.

peace quilt completed

For several weeks my friend Shirley and I met with a group of immigrant women to create a quilt.  The theme is 'what does peace mean to you?'     Some of the women have sought refuge in Canada fleeing war torn countries.  The lucky ones came here with their children but others had to leave family members behind.    Some had lost family in wars.   Many carry the scars of war and oppression. They miss their native countries, friends and family.  But they came here so that they may live in peace, freedom and equality.  This quilt stands as a symbol of their dreams.   Finally last month the quilt was finished and we got together with the staff and clients of Immigrant Women's Services to unveil our peace quilt and celebrate our accomplishment.   Immigrant women from several countries including Afganistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Korea - took part in this project.   One woman told us that it re-awakened her creativity, another was happy to be among other women and not be so isolated - and spoke of the sense of community.   Staff spoke of how this process helps the women in their healing.  They said they will bring this quilt into the community to let the community know about the importance of funding organizations like this one and programs like this.   Hopefully this project was just the beginning of a program to bring women together to create and heal.     For myself and Shirley, this was a wonderful opportunity to connect to a group of  bright, strong, creative women  from many different cultural backgrounds - and to celebrate our commonalities and differences.   I would like to show you photos of all the women who took part but I need to respect their privacy.   So here is a photo of their quilt with Shirley and I holding it up.  (please note the interesting embroidered piece on the wall in the background entitled 'my wife does not work'.  Lots of irony in this intricate piece)  Hope you enjoy the quilt.


Sunday, March 20, 2011


I am way behind on my blog posts but I have been busy - working, quilting, singing, attending a workshop, and volunteering.   I will start with our tryptych.   Several months ago I blogged about some of the challenges Shirley, Iris and I have been working on.    For this one, Shirley drew a quick sketch of beach houses by the sea in Suffolk England.  She cut the pattern into 3 pieces, each 6" x 18" and gave one section to each of us.   The only rules were that the major lines needed to be line up with one another, the houses that join should be the same colour, and the piece would be done in a folk art style.    We each completed our section on our own and finished it with narrow black binding.  Here are photos of the finished piece.    The best part was the unveiling and seeing them lined up together.   Mine is the one on the left, Iris' is in the middle and Shirley's is on the right.  As you can see we did not line up perfectly but there is a lovely blend of styles. It is interesting how each of us interpreted the theme.   And now for something completely different - our next challenge is to complete a mosaic piece.   I've already gotten a good start on mine and finding it to be a very relaxing project - a bit like completing a puzzle.