Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Back From Sicily

A few weeks ago I had an authentic experience in Sicily with my friends from Verona.

Town of Gangi, Sicily.
One of the ladies has a house in Gangi. She organized a trip for 12 of us.


You can imagine the chatter and the laughs we all had together...and the FOOD.

We visited Palermo and Monreale, Castelbuono and Cefalu'.

We had a wonderful evening teaching English paper piecing to the local residents of Gangi of all ages. They loved making hexagons.

Room where we shared our passion for patchwork!

It was interesting for me as a trip organizer to be on the 'client' side. I confirmed that travellers like to integrate in the place they visit. I am on the right track with the Verona trip and the Umbria trip!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Upcoming Fall Classes

My Fall schedule is coming together even though I am still in Italy. I L-O-V-E internet!!...when it works.

Teaching on November 13 at Artscape Youngplace. A 9-patch block, perfect for self-taught quilters and beginners. It is also a good review for those who have made a few quilts already.

This is just one of the quilt designs using the versatile 9-patch block

Teaching on November 27 also at Artscape Youngplace.

A quilt-as-you-go construction. Great project for using all kinds of scrap fabric!

I am speaking at Oakville Quilters Guild on November 17. My theme is "Inspiration". Even if you are not a member I think you can attend. Better contact them though just to make sure.

I am speaking at Halton Quilters Guild on January 4, 2017. Also teaching there. A scrap class for sure.

I love those types of quilts. I find them the most interesting. Those are the ones I find myself stopping in front of when at a quilt show. They just offer so much to look at...if they are done well, of course. Some people think you can just "throw anything in" but I disagree. That is one of the things I talk about when I teach my scrap classes.

Another reason I love making scrap quilts so much is the cost. You have probably noticed the cost of quilter's cotton has gone up quite a bit in the last year! Many quilters/sewers have collected a box of fabric they love, bought and set aside for use "one day". Now is that time! Take those fabrics out and let's make a quilt! Use what you have- an old cotton shirt, an apron of your mom's, an old pillow case with a fancy trim, an out-of-control fabric bin. Learn how to make those fabrics work well together!

Right now, no classes are full so sign up! (contact me by email:

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Art Work Back

I received my art work that was touring for the past 2 years.

My art work photographed from the catalogue.
"Radiation emits from objects at many different scales, from stars to atoms. This piece reflects my interpretation of emitted radiation waves interacting with other matter, including human bodies." (taken from the catalogue)

It is always nice to get things back.

 Waves, detail

The curator and her team packed up the work nicely. I usually roll my work. I was once told to avoid tubes for shipping because they often roll off trucks and belts. So I now use a long triangular box.

Waves, detail

Oddly enough from Germany it was going to cost a fortune to send to Italy! So she put the triangle box into a square box and it cost much less.

Waves, detail

Inside, there were a few treats! One of which was a catalogue of the exhibit and all the places it went (except for the last place as the opportunity came after the catalogue was printed.)

catalogue cover for the Radiation exhibit

I liked many of the other works. I liked reading what the artists said about their work and its inspiration related to radiation. All works are 60cm x 120 cm, measurements set by the curator.

Without natural filters life on earth would be impossible.
Merce Gonzalez Desedamas, Spain
Life Filters
When charged particles such as a proton pass through a cloud chamber they leave behind a trail of ions as they strike molecules of air along their path. Mist droplets form around these ions creating a cloud track.
Tonya Littman, USA
Particle Trails
Magnetic resonance images.
Rita Berghuis-Ensing, Netherlands
Diagnose Braintumor 1
A chemical reaction transforms 95% of a firefly's energy into light and only 5% is set free as warmth. Up to now no form of man-made light has met this level of efficiency.

Barbara Lange, Germany
Monochrom 8- Fireflies

There was a CD of the show works. There were a few printed note cards, postcard size, and a thank you note from the curator.

Since it is in Italy, I am going to submit it for the Ad Maiora member exhibit which is happening in November, even though most of the other works will be traditional quilts.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


I redid the cover collage. I like it better.

If you want to see the changes I made click here.

People should know that not all the works that artists make are good. There are a lot of tries before the good version is produced.

Artists should post more about their "mistakes".

Korean Artist Lee Bul had an exhibit at Vancouver Art Gallery (October 2015-June 2016).

Lee Bul's early models.
photo credit: I. Reford

Her early models were shown alongside her ambitious sculptures.

Good to see. Also can be inspirational.

Friday, September 9, 2016

My Journal

I wasn't able to really "get into it", my journalling, as I was running a trip!

collage entitled Fault Line
We were in Umbria about 3 days after the big earthquake of Amatrice and area
My collage was also inspired by the contemporary work of artist Danilo Fiorucci I saw at Flash Art gallery while in Trevi.
But here in Verona I have gone back and added colour to some of the sketches,

I do remember the blue blue cloudless sky
while sketching the negative space
 the oldest olive tree in Umbria, 1700 years old.
....although I know it isn't the same.

I sat on the grass at the bottom of the small hill
and sketched the hammock I saw every day as I walked on the way to the pool.

Sitting in front of something and sketching it is better for the brain. You remember the place well when you go back and see the sketch.

I had already washed this page with green not knowing what it would become
but the wash was perfect for what I sketched-
the olive tree trunks.

For example, in one sketch I saw 3 shapes that reminded me of the cypress trees that are usually planted around the cemeteries. I automatically painted them green but then I remembered I had drawn three arches inside a wall! Had I been painting right in front of the scenery this wouldn't have happened.

I worked on a weaving inspired by our afternoon where we learned about silk making during medieval times.

The weavers often macrame their ends.
I worked on a collage.

I collaged over the yellow cover of the journal.
When I get back to my Toronto studio,
I will make a book wrap
using the colour palette of the Umbrian landscape.
There is everything in this collage:
the stone walls, the olive trees, the religious figures,
the vineyards, the entrance to the city, the medieval palazzi
(I am going to unstick that bothers me!..maybe it is the white beside it)

heard from the other travellers that are still in Italy exploring on their own that they continue to sketch!

Burlap bags on the floor of the paper making bottega.
They are filled with rags which were turned into pulp for paper making.
I stitched the side of the page like the edges of the bags were sewn.

 I am so happy about that.

We had to sew something into our book.
I sewed a hand-made paper, made using medieval tools
and washed with a local red wine.

I worked it so the red thread encircled the sketch
 of a dead moth I found on the terrace.

It means they liked their sketching experience in Umbria.

(images of some of the pages of my Umbria journal, summer 2016)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Umbrian Colours

Thanks for checking my blog while I and the group of 4 Canadians were on the Journalling Trip.

The travellers have a very good collection of memories in their journal. They definitely have plenty of ideas to pick from when creating their next art works- either quilted blankets or textile for the walls.

I am happy I had such a great group of ladies! That makes all the difference to the success of the trip.

I leave you with these lovely colours of Umbria.

If you are reading this and wish you had participated then you can think about it for the summer of 2018.

Sarebbe bello! 

Read some testimonials from my travellers:

"It was a most amazing trip, in an amazing region of Italy! Sandra introduced us to fascinating people that we never otherwise would have spoken with. She packed each day with unique activities. The beautiful accommodations surrounded by olive trees, history and art. I highly recommend it!" (L.P.)

"I have travelled in Italy several times. Sandra’s trip was by far the best organized and most interesting trip I have experienced. Bravo Sandra! I can’t wait to travel with you again." (C.C.)

Remember that I also do a trip for quilters and textile artists in Verona, Italy.

The next Verona trip is April 21-30, 2017.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Embroidery Festival

The Mostra di Ricamo is held in Valtopina every year on the first weekend in September.

Detail from Maria Grazia Giacomini
work exhibited at the museum
(it is a reflection)
area Trieste
 There are many booths where one can view the skilled workmanship of some very ancient embroidery and lace making techniques.

The mayor and the organizers welcoming
everyone to the opening.
Work above/below by Ilana Efrati

We also saw some innovative things.

Gorgeous work from Ilaria Margutti

There was some patchwork as well.

The town was lined with wrapped trees. Gorgeous!

We walked over to the small but impressive Textile Museum to see the "Il Filo Infinito, la Pace" (Infinite Thread of Peace) exhibit curated by Elvira Guglielmi.

There were 2 other exhibits to see on the walk back to the main area.

We stayed on the grounds for lunch and were ready for our 3 pm class with art therapist, Tiziana Luciani. She is an author and works in Assisi and Milano as well as collaborates with a university in Venice.

She taught an exhilarating workshop where we used the idea of a ball of yarn to express all the big moments in our lives.

We had a full day once again.

"In My Hands"
my piece from the workshop.

Today is our last day, actually!  I can't believe we are leaving tomorrow morning!

One of the travellers journal pages
Another traveller's first day entry
Still another traveller's second day entry
Carolyn's book is full!
She wrote some beautiful things!
People are packing as I write this. Outside there is some far away folk music.