Art quilt themes run deep

They may be tiny, but they make a big first impression.

They may be tiny, but they make a big first impression.

The 37 art quilts exhibited in the Kiwanis Gallery at the Red Deer Public Library are each only a foot square, but depict everything from detailed birds’ nests to an expansive lake. (Magic Lake, created by Deborah Bray of Calgary, even comes complete with a dock and two itty-bitty canoeists.)

Sometimes the squares are pure abstractions — such as the colourful Lightning Storm on Mars, made by Cochrane’s Karen Jurek with beads and decorative netting.

But sometimes their themes go deep.

Those Who Knew The Child Are Now Gone, conceived by North Vancouver’s Linda Sharp as a bronze forest hiding a human face, “is a quiet tribute to the generation who are now finding that no one who knew them in their childhood or youth is (still) alive.”

The common message found in the Meet the Best of the West Exhibit is that fibre designs can be taken to the level of original art, said Patti Morris, who organized the show for the Studio Art Quilt Associates Inc. It’s being presented by the Red Deer Arts Council and public library.

Morris, an award-winning Red Deer quilter, noted that many of the exhibit’s artists from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba work out of their basements and had no previous public exposure. “Some of them didn’t even think their work was good enough to be in a show like this — but look at it. Some of the (squares) are amazing.”

The spectacular colours, swirls and lines of Sharron Schoenfeld’s Azami Ha leaf motif were created, in part, with the Saskatoon artist’s painting and drawing skills.

A child’s enthusiasm prompted Winnipeg’s Valerie Wilson to make Bliss, a quilt that depicts a tyke joyfully running past a bear statue in a park.

Jaynie Himsl of Weyburn, Sask., made Full Spectrum, which resembles a brilliant sunset sky above rolling terrain, out of cording, ribbon, crochet cotton, embroidery floss and yarn.

Another brilliant sky scene, Arbutus Sunrise, was the smallest strip quilt yet completed by Coreen Zerr of Nanaimo, B.C., but Morris predicted it won’t be her last.

“She usually does these huge pieces but she really enjoyed doing this. I think she’s going to do a lot of tiny pieces from now on.”

In Orange Fern, Margie Davidson of Edmonton darkened fabric around a stenciled fern leaf, then painstakingly quilted intricate veining on the fern.

Margaret Blank of Mirror used embroidery thread to create grasses in her depiction of two grain silos, Mutt & Jeff, while Red Deer’s Wendy Greber created textural tree bark, in Alberta Trees #2.

Morris admires Greber’s style and technique and marvels at the fact that she wasn’t sure if her work was show-worthy.

Morris’s own work, Patti’s Rocks, is a subdued study of stones in greys and beiges — but other fibre art pieces in the show were created along more esoteric lines.

Internal Combustion, by Paula Jolly of Mossbank, Sask., uses a tie-dye technique to suggest how the effects of respiration and digestion would appear inside the human body.

Susan Wittrup of Regina created I See A Symphony, involving layering transparent fabric over hand-painted cotton with beading, to suggest musicality, while Burnaby. B.C., resident Mardell Rampton used strips of coloured fabric to make Into the Light, “to celebrate my journey out of darkness.”

This show’s journey has, so far, taken two years — the travelling exhibit has been seen in seven centres in Alberta and B.C. It’s next going to the Studio Art Quilt Associate’s office in New York, and may tour in the U.S.

“The feedback has been amazing,” said Morris, who believes the display has served two purposes — it’s offered exposure to some very worthy Western Canadian fibre artists, and has also expanded the public’s perception of what’s possible through fibre art.

It continues in Red Deer to March 2.

Just Posted

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

Time for a central Albertan in cabinet, says chamber of commerce

Central Alberta had no cabinet ministers in last government

Trump Russia probe finally delivers some answers

WASHINGTON — After nearly two years of waiting, America is getting some… Continue reading

Trans Mountain Pipeline deadline extended

OTTAWA — The federal government is delaying a decision on the Trans… Continue reading

WATCH video of Innisfail resident creating the world’s biggest caricature

Watch as Innisfail resident Dean Foster creates the world’s biggest caricature of… Continue reading

Lower price discounts to boost Q1 oil profits but uncertainty hangs over sector

CALGARY — Lower discounts on western Canadian oil prices have swollen producer… Continue reading

Local Sports: Hard training pays off for Red Deer runner Jared Howse

Jared Howse understands success doesn’t come easily. The 17-year-old has put together… Continue reading

CRA’s automatic benefit registrations give retirees reason to file on time

TORONTO — This is the time of year when procrastinators begin to… Continue reading

Study: Genetic test predicts middle-aged obesity risk

NEW YORK — Can a genetic test identify newborns at risk of… Continue reading

Downtown Red Deer Co-op Plaza Food store closing

Central Alberta Co-op is closing its downtown Red Deer Plaza food store… Continue reading

Earth, meet Polo: Ralph Lauren unveils plastic bottle shirt

NEW YORK — Earth, meet Polo. Polo Ralph Lauren on Thursday launched… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in February

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in… Continue reading

Inflation rises 1.9% on higher prices for fresh vegetables, mortgage costs

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation was up last month as price pressures… Continue reading

Most Read