where did January go!?

Wow! that went fast, January I mean, I feel like I missed it completely.

There’s been lots going on, lots and lots but its ‘ll sorts of stuff rather than one big thing and that is making me feel a bit scattered, even more than usual.

Here’s a quick roundup of what’s been happening… The highlight of the month was a flying visit (she only stayed a week!) by Edwina Mackinnon. The middle of January isn’t the usual time for visitors to choose to come to Vancouver, but thankfully the weather co-operated.  We had a few walks in the forest, a trip to the Squamish to visit Elizabeth Harris at her studio and another to the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Here’s Edwina and the amazing Ai Wei Wei installation “Bang” it is a stunning 886 antique stools and replicas.


There is a long history around these 3 legged stools in China, they were a part of everyday life and handed down through the generations until the 1960’s when the wood stools were sadly replaced with plastic versions.





One of the best things about January are the Seville oranges! this year I managed to find some and get the marmalade made, not bad eh?


A few hours of chopping and squeezing and boiling, gets you this, hopefully enough to last till next year.



I’ve been holed up in the studio a lot this month which is good because the rain just isn’t stopping . My river retreat is full to overflowing and moving too quickly to let Ned anywhere near it, which he really doesn’t like. If you stand quietly you can actually hear the muffled thuds of the boulders shifting underneath the water, it’s an amazing thing.



I’ve been working on several projects this past month, all of them still under wraps for a while yet!  I’ve been finishing up quilting and all the details on my new heron design, getting my cherry blossom entires ready for jurying and preparing for the opening of mended!

Mended E-Vite-2


Bye for now, Catherine



thanks for coming!

We had a wonderful time at the open studio despite the rotten rainy weather. Thanks to all of you who braved the down pour to join us- gosh, it was a week ago now! Time seems to go even faster at this time of the year.

There were lots of treats in the studio last  Saturday…treats for the eyes as well as the taste buds.


I did a little late baking the night before (ginger snaps and oatmeal surprise cookies!) It just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me unless I’m up till the wee hours baking something.

Elizabeth had some of her new pieces available for the first time- these wonderful little owls made their debut!


As did her Pawm Bears…lovely little fellows that nestle right into the palm of your hand. They come in several glazes all lovely but I can never resist raku. This fellow managed to snooze under the poinsettia for most of the day.


There was a horse themed selection…


and of course, Elizabeth’s wonderful word-ware bowls!


We had a great time with lots of  friends dropping by for a cup of mulled cider and a cookie. It was a long “inside” day for the three wise dogs though, and as a reward for almost-good behaviour we went for a long hike the next day…



….and found this little seasonal token tucked into the trees.


Hope all your holiday preparations are going to plan.

Bye for now, Catherine






on the road again…

This time of the year is really lovely in BC, especially when the weather cooperates! It was a beautifully sunny last week, just perfect for a trip to Sorrento, B.C. that is, not the other one.

I was leading a workshop at Sorrento Centre on Shuswap Lake, a really beautiful part of the world. We were working with print this session, using all sorts of different techniques with thickened dyes so we could print directly to fabric.


There’s lots of “stuff” required for this workshop so the car was jam-packed!

The weather was so nice we were able to set up tables outside to do our wet ( read messy!) stuff.



We got screens ready for breakdown printing but had to be patient and wait till the next day to print them off.  Some really terrific pieces of fabric came out of these screens, sorry I don’t have images, yet!

My trip included a quick visit to the Adams River in Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, between Sorrento and Chase. The salmon are completing a really long journey from the Pacific Ocean to spawn.  I was there for the very beginning of the run and saw what I thought was loads of fish! But apparently nowhere near as many as are going to be there over the next couple of weeks.



The fish are amazing! bright red with the most striking green heads.

It’s a beautiful park and really well laid out for the thousands of visitors who will come to see the salmon run . There are trails along the river with access to the water on a sand bar , you can get quite close to all the flora and fauna.


I loved the ruffled edges on this lichen.


Of course we had to try out a few of the touristy things set up near the parking lot!


Meanwhile back at home …work is underway on my new Great Blue Heron design, the drawn details are just about done and he’s almost ready for quilting.




Heron will be making his debut appearance at the Bramble Patch in Weedon, UK in April of 2015. I’ll keep you posted on version 2!

Bye for now, Catherine

opening night and indigo….

It was opening night on Thursday and I did promise some images…here they are, better late than never!


Wonderland is a great show, all the work is inspired by Lewis Carroll’s novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, a couple of my favourite stories. It’s a really diverse show with all sorts of different media.


My quilted piece “Jabberwocky” was a good fit for the theme of the show and lots of people, young and slightly older! used the mirror to view the words of the poem…through the looking-glass.



There was a great turn out on opening night!


The show runs until the 11th of October at CityScape Community Art Space on Lonsdale in North Vancouver. There’s a Mad Hatter Craft and Tea Party this Saturday  the 27th at the gallery from 1 till 3,that sounds like lots of fun. Follow the link above for more information.

It was indigo day here on Sunday! and it was such a sunny, warm (you might even call it hot!) day we moved outside to do the dyeing. Lots of laughs and ideas shared around the work table in the studio and then the prepared pieces went outside and into the dye pot.

To get everyone in the mood, I hung up lots of examples around the walls of the studio.


Sorry about the fuzzy photo, it was towards the end of the day and I blame the heat, at least that’s my excuse.




It will be great to see the results when all those bundles are open out, washed and pressed! It was a fun day…  but exhausting for some!


Autumn is in the air! It hasn’t rained much around here for what feels like a log time but this morning was damp and cool, perfect for walking along the river. We found these amazing treasures on the river bank, there were all sorts of  mushrooms (or should they be called fungi!?) but these ones really caught my eye.  I need to find a guide-book to know what I’m looking at!



Bye for now, Catherine



home again…

and there are all the usual things to catch up with!

The garden is in production mode right now, lots of tomatoes, potatoes and plums! which means jam, batch after batch of plum jam.  Its hot work right now but I know I will be glad of it come the winter time.


I planted some sunflower seeds this spring and have been waiting and wondering for what feels like ages. I couldn’t resist the picture and promises on the seed packet, which happens a lot and is probably why I end up with loads of veg at this time of year. These have lived up to their billing!


They are planted against the wall of the studio and peeking out the window I can look down on them (that how I got this angle) they are well over 5 feet tall and have the most amazing faces.


I arrived home in time this year for a visit to the Pacific National Exhibition. A wonderful fair here in Vancouver, that includes pig races (honest!), livestock displays, rides and all sorts of foods you shouldn’t eat but can’t resist.  This year one area of the park , trees and all, had been yarn bombed!




Sorry the images aren’t the best, it was really dark in there!

One of the best things about living where I live is being close to Vancouver harbour. We are close enough that Ned and I can walk along the boardwalk whenever we feel like a “city walk” , it’s a real change from our usual river walk. What a wonderful treat to see the tall ship B. E. Cuauhtémoc in the harbour, she’s a stunning sail training ship from Mexico and looked gorgeous against the Vancouver skyline.


The rigging was incredible and so high! I can’t imagine having to scramble around up in there.


It made me dizzy just looking up.



It’s a nice change of pace from our usual walk along the river, but getting back to the river was one of the best things about being home.


Another best thing (can you have several best things?) was opening the letter that informed me my submission for the upcoming exhibition, Wonderland was accepted!


The  opening is Thursday evening September 18th from 7 till 9 pm. Hope you can make it!

Bye for now, Catherine




a little more Festival and some amazing forests….

I promised to post a few more images of Festival and thought you might like to see a few of the winners.

Mettler threads, who I am thrilled to be an educator for,  is the sponsor of the Best in Show category. This year’s winner, Eloquence and Integrity was made by Ruth Parker of the UK.


and here’s a detail…..


It’s a stunning piece and two-sided. Congratulations Ruth!



Above is  “Poor and Rich” by Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga, who won the Pictorial category and below The Good Life by Phillipa Naylor won in the Traditional category.


The colours are something I wouldn’t have thought of but I love the combination, I smiled every time I walked by.


The stunning quilt  below is made by Kathy Wylie of Ontario, Canada, it’s called Flourish on the Vine. The appliqué is brilliant! Kathy didn’t win anything in the judging but did take the overall Visitors Choice award for the show.




A few days after Festival closed and the clean up was all done ( or mostly done)  Edwina Mackinnon and I headed for Coles Sewing Centre in Nottingham for a Mettler day. We spent some time talking about the work we do and how we do it and then led the students in a Forest Landscape workshop. The workshop is inspired by west coast artist Emily Carr, one of my favourites.


We did lot of chatting about trees and things west coast and then encouraged everyone to create their own version. The ladies came up with some wonderful interpretations of Emily Carr’s style.





Thanks to Rose and Neil and the rest of the staff at Coles for their hospitality, we had a great day. It’s was a bit of a drive but there were some wonderful sights along the way. Sorry the image is a bit blurry, it was taken from a moving car on the motorway. No! I wasn’t driving.



Bye for now, Catherine

another Festival come and gone…

Maybe it’s part of getting older but time is flying!

I am trying to convince myself the reason it barely seems like a year has passed since the last Festival of Quilts is  because I am busy and happy doing what I’m doing, but that’s not working very well. Festival of Quilts 2014 has come and gone. There were lots of amazing quilts in galleries and competition, lots of visitors, a chance to see old friends and make new ones, and even a few treats to bring home.

Mettler threads had a great stand this year we had lots of room even though it was about the same size as last year we had a new layout. There was a designated workshop area for students, all set up with the sewing machines ready to go…


….a demo area  for the educators to show what they we are working on and share ideas…

IMG_8952 - Copy

…..and gallery space to exhibit quilts. Sorry about the jaunty angle on the photo but the hall was a bit narrow to get all 3 quilts in one image.

IMG_8953 - Copy

It doesn’t get much  better than that! Festival of Quilts is always a busy 4 days but this year seemed even busier, if that’s possible.

This is what the halls look like when we arrive in the morning, before the show is open to the public….

IMG_8980 - Copy

and then it looks like this for the rest of the day!

IMG_9003 - Copy

There was so much to see and not much time to do it in but I did get around after the show closed and checked out some of the galleries and the competition quilts, here’s a few that caught my eye.


A peek into Ann Johnston’s gallery The Contact- Quilts of the Sierra Nevada.

Art Textiles: Made in Britain is a new group that includes friends Ineke Berlyn and Edwina Mackinnon.

This in Ineke’s work…


and Edwina’s …along with a very happy ( and remarkably perky for that hour of the morning)  Edwina!


There is so much to see at Festival it can be a little overwhelming, I go round the show with my camera after it’s closed or before it opens, which is why the lighting in some of these images might not be the best.

Here’s a few more images of the show, just a few of my favourite things…. some with credits and some not (sorry about that!)

IMG_9006 - Copy


I love the little snail in the top right hand corner sneaking off the quilt. This one was in the Russian Quilt Gallery.




This beautiful free motion, thread painted bowl was  one of the  Judges choice in the Quilt Creations category, it’s called Splash and was made by Linda Turner.


This stunning clock made by Kate Crossley is nearly 6 feet tall and yes, it works! I couldn’t resist a few images of the details around the “cabinet”.







And one more from the Russian Quilt Gallery.


I’ll be back soon with more images,

Bye for now, Catherine


festival of quilts, cloaks and gardens…

It’s that time of the year again, Festival of Quilts is almost next on the calendar. It’s amazing how quickly it rolls around, it seems to get quicker every year- a sure sign of age I hear.

I’m almost ready to go, just a little more packing and yes, there is a quilt that needs finishing but that’s normal isn’t it? I’ll be teaching Quick and Easy workshops on the Mettler stand again. This years workshop is called Wandering Vines and each of the students receives these beautiful Mettler threads along with a few other goodies to take home along with the workshop.

The fabrics for my kits are all  ready to go and a sample as well, I even have a few ready to stitch pieces for demo on the stand.


The Mettler stand is number ( letter?) E-40,  do stop by and say hello! I’ll be there.

What is next, really next, is the Wearable Art Fashion Show tomorrow night!


Elizabeth Harris and I have collaborated again and created our version of a travellers cloak. After a mis-start ( or two!) we are both thrilled with the results.






Elizabeth will be walking the runway tomorrow night- I don’t think RunnerBean will be allowed on stage but you never know! The bit of cut up quilt on the leading edge set the tone for the piece and Elizabeth followed from there with painting on the burlap, it’s lined with a moss coloured hand dyed muslin and then ceramic leaves were added. We finished it off with a necklace of  leaves, feathers and rawhide.

And the garden… well the back deck really. I finally got around to changing over the back garden from this-


to this…


It’s not quite finished yet, just a few little fiddles to go, but it’s a lovely spot to sit and stitch.

There’s been a heat wave here in Vancouver …or a heat wave by our standards.  Ned’s favourite river is still cold despite the heat  but he doesn’t mind. He found a swimming hole this morning and settled in while I finished my coffee and dangled my feet, heaven for both of us.


Hope to see you at Festival!

Bye for now, Catherine ( and Ned)