Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Meet Regional Representative - Shona Barbour

I would love for you to meet this bright vivacious quilter who is CQA's Regional Representative  for North West Territories.   I have been fortunate enough to meet Shona and she is full of passion about quilting and promoting it in Canada.   The perfect combination for an ambassador of CQA/ACC.   Read on to learn all about Shona Barbour.

You recently signed on to be a Regional Representative for CQA/ACC, tell us what your motivation was.
I signed up to be the NWT Regional Representative in 2010 when the position become vacant. I am involved in a few other activities (yoga and curling) and really believe that having a national organization is important for growing and promoting an interest. I am also involved in Guild activities both in Yellowknife and Inuvik and felt like I had good connections in 2 of the larger quilting communities in the NWT.
Fabric Arts show quilt

Tell us a little about yourself? 
I am originally from Yellowknife and moved to Inuvik in 2004 after graduating from the University of Alberta with a degree in Native Studies. I am definitely a Northerner and feel truly rooted in the NWT. I have always been involved in both arts and sport and love the idea of being able to combine both into my life. I don’t see people as either an athlete or an artist but rather that you can and should enjoy both. 

My interests in art started with a very strong arts program in high school in Yellowknife and then increased with art history classes in university. As for sports I have participated in 5 Scotties Tournament of Hearts for curling and continue to be a member of Team Kerry Galusha out of Yellowknife, NWT. I am also a certified/registered yoga teacher (Ashtanga yoga) and am planning/hoping to run a half marathon in the next year.  

How long have you been quilting? 
I have been quilting since 1999. I was introduced to quilting by my Godmother at a time when I needed some more patience in my life! It was a great time to be introduced to textiles arts as the rotary cutter, etc was in full use and the modern quilting movement was beginning not too long after that. I think those things have kept my interest as a younger quilter.
Summer Quilt

How often do you quilt? 
I try to quilt almost every day; whether it is sewing binding in front of the tv or spending a full day in my studio. I have an old workshop in my house that is set up with 2 machines and contains ALL my quilting materials and fabrics. I feel that when you have a full room or studio set up you can get a lot done in even just 10 minutes. I used to quilt in the morning but now I use that for my gym or running time. In addition, the Inuvik Quilting Guild meets every Monday night and depending on curling travel I usually attend these evenings.

What are your favourite techniques? 
I consider myself a traditional piecer. I enjoy putting fabrics together that you might not expect to go together and also to combine commercial and hand dyed fabrics. This is a good lesson I learned during a class with Carol Soderlund. I have taken quite a few art quilting classes but don’t like to store all the supplies/materials for this in my own home. I try to limit my textile time to traditional quilting and Procion MX dyeing.
Hand Dyed and Printed Quilt

What are the challenges you face quilting where you live?  
The challenges of being a quilter in a remote location?!?!?! Actually, I cannot complain too much. As I travel on the World Curling Tour I am on the road a lot and know all the quilt stores in various cities that are close to curling clubs (Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Regina, Saskatoon, etc). Some people really get into internet shopping but I tend only to do this for dyeing supplies. Machines tend to fit under the seat on airplanes (remember to take out the needle) and so I bring my sewing machine with me every so often to get it serviced. I think the biggest challenge with not having a quilt store in the area is that it is hard to keep the interest of beginners. We have a lot of people who take our Guild’s beginner class but then it is hard to move onto another project or get inspired without a quilt store for inspiration.

There are 5 communities in the NWT with quilting groups (Inuvik, Yellowknife, Tuktoyaktuk, Fort Smith and Hay River), plus a couple other communities where there are a handful of quilters. All these groups send me reports for 'The Canadian Quilter' newsletter so I feel we have a good voice for northern quilters. There are a few of us who travel to Yellowknife frequently for classes as the Yellowknife Quilters attract amazing, world class instructors. These connections are key!
Is there anything you want to tell our Canadian quilters?
Eventually, I would love to see the smaller version of Quilt Canada (alternate year event) come North of 60. I think we might be  far off from doing this (volunteer base, facilities, etc) but it is something that I often thinking about pursuing.

I think it will be great seeing where Shona ends up in Canadian quilting, one thing is for sure, her passion is contagious.


  1. Thanks for introducing Shona. It's interesting to know a bit more about the people that have stepped forward to fill a volunteer position. Shona, let me say that your enthusiasm and spice for life in general definitely make you an artistic athlete!

  2. Hi Jackie
    Just thought I should mention, our NB Rep has never had her profile printed in the Canadian Quilter. She did submit it, not sure what happened, if it got lost or what. Perhaps you could do a profile on her here?
    Also how do we get our Guild listed on the sidebar list of Guilds? Is it as easy as sending your our Guild Blog URL?
    Linda H

  3. Hi Shona and Jackie, it is like getting to know you all over again. You really are an inspiration to all quilters, beginning and otherwise. I would love to have an alternate event in NWT, and you could count on me to volunteer for something...anything...put me in coach.

  4. Does Shona have an e-mail address that she can be contacted at?