Wednesday, 3 October 2012

"Transition in Tradition": Canadian contemporary textile works travel to France

You may remember the title of this post after reading it in the 2012 Autumn issue of 'The Canadian Quilter'.  The article written by curator, Sandra Reford got so much attention that we were asked to delve a bit more into the quilters and their quilts.    In her news release, Sandra tells us:

From September 13 to 16, 2012, Canada has the place dʼhonneur at the 18th Carrefour Européen du Patchwork and will be exhibiting in LʼÉglise de la Madeleine. International award winning textile artist and quilter, Sandra Reford, was asked to curate a body of work that is of an exceptional technical standard and that represents the current state of quilting and textile art in her country, Canada. The Canadian exhibit is just one of many in the carrefour. The event organizers are expecting 22,000 visitors to grace the Val DʼArgent area this September. 

The first quilter to be introduced is Yvonne Mullock.  Her story is unique.

I'm the lead artist on this community led quilting project. The project involves the skills and expertise of 23 individual quilters, 2 church groups and the local artisans guild 'The Wind and Waves', all of whom reside on Fogo Island and Change Islands - Newfoundland, Canada. Our collective aim is make beautiful, locally-made quilts for a 29 roomed 'Fogo Island Inn', currently being built in Barr'd Islands, Fogo Island. 

Here are four of the quilts.  All images are credited to Yvonne Mullock.
Made by AnnMarie Newman

Made by Doris Budden

Made by Iris Newman

Made by Iris Newman

Judith Tinkl lives in Ontario and her quilt Oma/Opa/Obi made in 2011, is in the show. 
It measures 73" wide, 63" high, machine pieced and hand quilted made from Opa's ties, Oma's fabric and a Japanese obi with buttons. Oma Opa Obi is a work that incorporated many of the elements of traditional quiltmaking. The fabrics are all recycled and have a personal connection. My mother-in-law died in 2010 – her husband had died in 1996 – but I found all his ties (and other clothes) in her cupboards. The star shape in the piece is constructed from the ties. She was a dressmaker and I found a bolt of brocade silk in her sewing room.  It was very bright but the back had a lovely subdued pattern and texture which I used to frame the work. I had long stored a black Japanese obi and the silk had a lovely damask pattern which caught the light in interesting ways depending on its orientation. This I used to surround the star.

The pattern structure consists of only two triangles, one making an octagonal shape and one making a square which fits onto the octagon, see working image:

 Here is the final version of the quilt.

Next up is Karen Neary from Nova Scotia.  Here is how Karen describes creating 'Log Canada'.
I have a real love for red and white quilts, and this one started simply as a full-sized red and white “Courthouse Steps” log cabin. The weekend I made the top, my sons were away on a Cub/Scout camping trip so I had three full days to sew (bliss!) I sewed all weekend and had it finished by the time they returned home.  Perhaps it was seeing the badges and uniforms on the boys that put me in a patriotic mood, but when I had the blocks pieced, they made me think of our flag.  A red maple leaf was appliqued in the centre of each block, and a wavy edge added to the border to emulate a flag blowing gently in the breeze.  I used the same maple leaf to draw a vine for the border, and a wreath for the white areas and had these motifs expertly quilted by Jacqueline Pohl of The Vintage Quiltery in Gladstone, Manitoba.  Jacqueline did her usual spectacular quilting.  Log Canada has been very well received: it toured the United States as part of the first “O Canada” exhibit with International Quilt Festival, made an appearance in a booth at Quilt Canada in Calgary and was featured in the book “Canadian Heritage Quilting” which I co-authored with Diane Shink. 

Riel Nason lives in New Brunswick.  She tells us about her quilt.
My quilt is called the 2010 Selvage Sampler and was made to celebrate my first year of quilting. I have been intrigued by the idea of quilting with selvages from the very first time I saw a picture of a selvage project online. It is such a new area of quilting too, with so much territory to explore. I wanted to go beyond simple string squares and see what I could come up with. So, I saved all my selvages from my first year of quilting, and then, as is the tradition for many beginner quilters, I made a sampler quilt to test my skills.

Hope you enjoyed taking a closer look at the quilt talent in Canada!

Check back on Friday to see our progress on 'Stitch Across Canada'.


  1. Love all of them, especially the string quilt - what patience!

  2. A wonderful post showing some of our Canadian flair. I do notice though that these are mostly quilters from Central and Eastern Canada. What about the West?