Oh Canada! Your quilters put on a great show

jan and judy
Jan Krentz and I welcome you to the city of Niagara Falls

This was my first trip to the Toronto area of Canada, I’ve been to the east and west sides of Canada, but that was many years ago, back when the border was less daunting. I had a relatively easy crossing, but after talking to many teachers on both sides, the horror stories many of us have heard are true.

I’m not quite sure why the border patrol is so hard on each others citizens, considering we are practically the same country, but they seem to derive great joy harassing and intimidating quilters. I knew Pam Allen was no longer allowed to teach across the border, but thought maybe that was an isolated incident. Evidently not, after hearing several stories from other teachers. I met Daphne Griegg last week and she told us how the border patrol not only held her long enough to miss her plane for market but also made her write ‘sample’ in large letters on the FRONT of her quilt with a SHARPIE! to make sure she had no intention of selling her quilts in the states. What has happened to these people to put them on such a power trip to behave this way?

Quilt Canada

tea2I had such a wonderful time with the Canadian Quilters, such a warm welcoming bunch. My first class was Tea & Ephemera, it’s like a mixed media extravaganza; beginning with drawing on tea bags, adhering them to faux tea stained fabric, incorporating printed vintage imagery on a sheer paper that has incredible wet strength that virtually disappears on the surface of the fabric, adding paint, colored pencils, rubber stamps, thermo- fax screens, paint sticks, decorative tissues and other ephemera. It’s a great opportunity to try your hand at a variety of techniques all in one day.

tea class tea1

This student had an old family recipe book, written in an old bank accounts book, that she tore pages out of and incorporated into her design.tea3

tea5So much fun!


My fellow Californian dorm roommate Jan Krentz and I luckily had a day off during the week and one of her former students, Jeannie Jenkins from Toronto, volunteered to drive us out to see Niagara Falls. jan jeannie judy

What a shame it would have been to be so close and not see one of the 7 wonders of the world!  What a blast we had all afternoon, lots of good healthy laughter and gorgeous scenery. Thanks Jeannie!!!

niagara w flag


niagara falls

I was in awe of the color and power of that water.niagara boat

lake niagaraThis photo is further up the river towards Niagara on the lake, look at that turquoise water.
My other class using Tsukineko inks produced some really beautiful work too.
tsuk classHere’s a few photos of work in progress
tsukineko inks

Beautiful! eh?

I was invited to come along on a field trip off campus to see another exhibit of quilts made from old feed and flour sacks that were hung through out a victorian house next to a picturesque flour mill.flour mill

mill waterfall

feedsack Q exhibit

feedsack Q1

feedsack Q2

feedsack Q3


Now isn’t one of the best parts of going to a quilt convention the people you meet? Let me show you some of the wonderful people I met in Canada.Brandy Maslowski and Hilary Rice
This is Brandy Maslowski who was a judge for the juried show and host of Canadian Quilt Talk and just published a quilt themed childrens book (look on her website for details) with Canadian textile and mixed media artist Hilary Rice, my inner earth mama connected with this lovely woman right away.
Birgit and KathieIt was great meeting Birgit Schueller, quilt and long arm instructor from Germany, who I should be meeting up with again this summer when her family makes a trip to Northern California and Kathy Wylie award winning Canadian quilter and teacher.

joe the quilterJoe ‘the quilter’ Cunningham, barely needs an introduction. We’ve been friends on Facebook for several years but hadn’t met. I’m a big fan of his work, so it was really fun getting to know him since he lives in (relatively) nearby San Francisco.

When we learned that our lectures were scheduled at the same time on friday night, a bit of friendly rivalry began between us for attendees. The show organizers are the only ones who know the finally tally, but I think I did alright 🙂


maggieMaggie Vanderweit, above, had a booth at the show that distracted me for nearly three quarters of an hour. Maggie dyes the most gorgeous wool fabric using rust dye and plant wrapping techniques and she also teaches workshops on how to do it. You have to check out her website!!! Lots of eye candy there.

This is the piece of plant dyed wool I finally settled on after oohing and ahhing over numerous pieces.
Each side is unique. It was dyed with grape leaves, grapes, tumeric and walnut shells, along with a variety of other plants. The long curving dark gray pattern is from an old chain.

Below is a detail shot of one side. I love those soft touches of purple from the grapes. I will treasure this reminder of my time in Canada.

plant dye wool detail


The conference was held on a college campus and they put the teachers up in the dorms, this had the wonderful benefit of  having a community room for the teachers to hang out, put their feet up, sip some wine and get to know each other. I think many of us really bonded because of that.teachers 1

Unfortunately there are a several teachers missing from this shot, who went home the day before, but you can see we had no problems getting along.
international teachers
What a fabulous trip, I look forward to getting back to Canada again one of these days.

Next stop Chicagoland!

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