a long winters nap

…and part of the spring as well!

Thanks to all of you who have been in touch and gently reminded me my blog was way out of date. I’ve been hibernating, but now I’m back with a bit of a different  look, hope you like it!

It’s been a busy winter actually with a bit of travel, a bit of teaching and quite a bit of making.

Most recently I made a quilt for the Cherry Blossom:Textile Translation exhibit at the Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver and it was accepted! It’s hanging there as I type.

The image isn’t great but it’s a tricky thing to photograph and get all the stitching to show.

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It 2 layers of semi sheer cotton organdy, paper blossoms painted and drawn on a drawn branch all held together with loads of hand stitch.

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In the detail you can see the printed text in the original paper showing through the pink paint and pen I added.

Edwina Mackinnon and I were in Portsmouth, England this Friday past. We had the pleasure of delivering a presentation to the Quilters Guild, thanks to our sponsorship by Mettler threads. Edwina spoke on Sand, Sea and Stitch which covered her wonderful work with indigo and potassium permanganate. I chatted about line… one of my favorite subjects!

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We had a great time there and enjoyed meeting  so many fellow quilters. Thanks to the ladies who took great care of us! and the tech fellows who got the pictures on the screen.

It’s good to be back!

Bye for now, Catherine



Happy Christmas!

Thanks so much to everyone who made it to our Open Studio! Elizabeth and I had a great time and the dogs did as well and really, what’s more important than that?

After a complete clean out ( which took a lot longer than it should have!)  the studio was decorated for Christmas

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there were lots of Elizabeth’s  bears and bowls

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even the greenhouse was taken over for the day.

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It seems I had just cleared up and got the studio back into work mode when I had to grab for the shovel. We had a snow day here and lots of it…some love the snow and cold!

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while others prefer to stay inside and avoid the whole situation.

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With all best wishes for a peaceful Christmas ….

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and a creative New Year!


and again! Festival of Quilts opens tomorrow….

and for me that’s  3 openings in the last 2 month’s- whew! that’s a lot of new work.

Thanks to all of you attended the Sanctuary exhibition at the North Shore Community Arts Council, in North Vancouver. The show had a great run and lots of visitors left really kind comments. It’s wonderful to think people enjoyed seeing the work Lynn, Joan and I put together.

The next show to open was Orientation  at the Minerva Arts  in Llanidlloes Wales. Unfortunately I couldn’t be at the opening but there are lots of images on Stephenie Redferns  blog, even one of a new piece of mine, called Black Bamboo that managed to leave my studio without one decent image taken. Thanks Steph! There’s also images on the SiX and Friends site, Linda Kemshalls  blog and even an image of Hilary in full demo mode at the opening on her blog. It looks like everyone had a wonderful time  at the meet the artist event and got treated to a delicious lunch , I’m really sorry I missed it. I will be there on the 23rd of August though- a chance to have a first hand look at the exhibition  while teaching a workshop in the gallery.

It was hot and sunny in Vancouver for all of July, which made quilting a bit of a challenge. It was a bit warm hand quilting in a heat wave! Ned and I managed a number of trips to the river, most evenings actually. He has figured out the very best way to cool down is just to lie down in the water and he will stay there for ages shivering if I don’t call him out.


The water may look lovely but it’s still snow melt and very cold!

All that slightly sweaty work has paid off  – tomorrow Festival of Quilts opens  in Birmingham, England and this year I have the huge honor of having my very own gallery space within the show. It’s all been arranged by my sponsor Mettler threads and today I got to hang the new work that had been keeping me out of the sun.  It’s not a huge space but it is lovely, with white walls and terrific lighting. Not exactly my name in lights, but the quilts show beautifully and really isn’t that what it’s all about?

It looks a bit of a mess at the beginning of the day- OK a lot of a mess!


But as the day wears on everything gradually finds a place and things come together. There are several areas on this years stand, a teaching area, a demo studio and of course the galleries.


Things weren’t quite all in the right place when this image was taken, but this is the demo area of the stand where a new piece of mine “snow white bird” will be hanging out for the duration. This is what I will be teaching in Llanidloes on the 23rd!


And this is a quick ( and not very good!) shot of my gallery, the light was fading and so was I. I promise better images of the show a bit later on… well knowing me, quite a bit later. We are on stand E 40, do drop by and say hello if you’re coming to the show!

Bye for now, Catherine

show time!

It’s finally here- it seems like I have been talking about this show for a very  long time (sorry about that) but all that chat is now a reality!

The show opened  Thursday evening to a wonderful reception- a big thank you to everyone who made it out to the opening and to those who came to the artists talk on Saturday afternoon- it was great to see you all.

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It’s exciting to see your name up in lights- well, actually on the gallery wall in type set, but it is still very exciting!

sanctuary show 025CityScape is a lovely gallery , those big beautiful white walls are a perfect backdrop.

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and we were able to hold the artists talk right there surrounded by our work. It was perfect for  Lynne, Joan and I to chat about the work and where the theme had taken us.

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I am always interested ( and pleased!)  to see how someone else hangs  my work, I really enjoy seeing a different take on the pieces I have been so close to for such a long time. Working with artists who use  media other than textile does give my work a different feel.

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Above is “home”

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and this is “out on a limb” it’s the piece I featured in a blog post a while back…the whole thing is 57 inches wide by 28 inches long, so a bit bigger than it looks.

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and a detail.

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The piece hanging next to Joan’s prints  is called “aerie” and is drawn on cotton organza. It was a bit of a challenge to work on such a sheer fabric but I am really pleased with the results. The wind ( vortexes I was told!) are hand quilted.

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This piece is called ” held together by cobweb” and the little wren who builds his nest in the ferns actually uses cobweb as the building material. Talented little fellow!

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sanctuary show 080To me nests are synonymous with home and the natural next step lead me to homelessness and the costs of housing here in Vancouver- the very, very high cost of housing here.  Which then lead to this quilt,  apologies for the jaunty angle in the image- it really is quite straight.

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sanctuary show 051 - CopyI really enjoyed making these 4 pieces, they are traditional quilt blocks but made using various papers held together with stitch. I used maps of Vancouver, local real estate listings from the newspaper and some of my photo’s of homeless people and the places they call home. There are quotations hand written along the as well.

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Thanks so much for making it to the end of this post, hopefully you haven’t nodded off! There are loads more images from the show and I know the gallery will be posting some pictures of the opening on their website. I’ll let you know when that happens.

Now that’s all done and hanging, it’s on to the next!

Bye for now, Catherine

you’re invited!

It’s almost time! in fact I am counting down days till opening night. Honestly I’m counting down because a few bits and pieces still need to be completed but I always work better with a deadline looming or that’s’ what I’m telling myself!

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Invitation front and Back JPGS_Page_2This is an exiting time for me ( and a bit nerve-wracking as well!)  this show is a chance to share some new work I have been doing. It’s actually all new work, so maybe different is a better word to use. It’s been fun to try out some new ideas and new ways with “old” techniques. I promise (honest!) to post images of the show as soon as it opens.

There is information about the show and the artists at the CityScape site . We are giving an artist talk on Saturday the 15th of June from 1 till 3 pm.

Opening night is Thursday June the 13th from 7 till 9 pm, I hope you can make it!



world worst blogger

There may not be an official competition but if there is one somewhere, I would like to enter, please. I figure I am a shoe-in for the title and any possible “awards” that might go with it… hmm, possibly a day book? or one of those clocks that beeps as time goes by? (wouldn’t that be annoying!) or in my case maybe a month to month calendar! Anyways here I am tossing my hat in the ring for the title of Worlds Worst Blogger- or maybe most unreliable blogger would be a better fit.

Enough whining here’s all the excuses- oops, all the things I have been up to this past month. Since I last wrote I have made it home to Vancouver, which seems like ages ago now. I arrived home just in time ( I do mean just!) for the North Shore Arts Crawl, which for me meant the studio was open even if my eyes weren’t. Thankfully Elizabeth Harris had everything in hand and set up for the show and all I had to do was swan in and chat with the visitors.

I can only plead jet lag and exhaustion and admit that there are no images from the event, sorry about that. But it was wonderful to see everyone who made it to the studio for a visit. There is a bit of info about the crawl here.

I did make it home just in time for some of the spring flowers, the magnolia tree in the front yard was gorgeous.

019In fact it gave me a boost on some new work…. but I can’t tell you much yet, the opening for Sanctuary is coming up fast and I don’t want to steal my own thunder. The show is here in North Vancouver and I am working with 2 very talented ladies exploring nests- actually, a whole new look at nests and what they stand for. It’s been fascinating so far and I feel I am just scratching the surface of a subject that could occupy my mind for a very long time. I am working all hours to get everything ready. I am hooked on this subject, each completed piece leads me to more and more ideas, I love it when that happens!

Here’s a little peek of one of the pieces in progress….

025It’s finished now and I promise to show images of this and all the others once the show opens… honest!

Not only is this a very late in arriving blog it’s a bit boring as well, there’s a lot of stuff coming up that I can’t talk about yet-

I have a new project about to go up on the Mettler website, June 3rd is the date for that.

Six and Friends are heading to Wales, or at least the Orientation exhibition is. I have two new pieces scheduled to join the show at the Minerva Arts Center in Llanidloes, Wales. You can follow along with the SiX and Friends blog and find out what we are all up to, they are all much better bloggers than I am.

I am heading back to the UK in August for Festival of Quilts  (yup, it’s that time of the year again) some teaching and catching up. I have two new workshops to offer this year which means new samples.

…and of course Sanctuary opens June 13th at CityScape Gallery in North Vancouver.

So now that you know where I am and that I am head down and making, I will sign off and get back to it.

Bye for now, Catherine



bad habits and travel

Well not the interesting sort of bad habits the other type, like not posting on the blog very often and being late, which might actually be the same sort of thing when you think about it. I don’t even have any exotic and wonderful excuses for being a hit and miss blogger just a pathetic I’ve been busy. But really I have been… it’s been a month of travel and still is.

That old song I’ve been everywhere man”- is running through my head and OK maybe I haven’t been everywhere, but I have been a few places. Last month I was in Calgary teaching a workshop at  Out of Hand, a most amazing shop full of good things! everything was lovely there except the weather.


If you look closely enough there is something beautiful almost everywhere, even a frozen parking lot.


The weather wasn’t a problem at all. I was very happy to be inside the shop, there was something new round every corner and treats galore, visual and baked!



These baked creations are apparently called “pink disgusting’s”  and in no way were they disgusting! They were sweet, gooey and definitely pink! what more can you ask for.

A few weeks after Calgary I arrived in England. It’s warmer here than Calgary but not by a lot! Its been very cold and spring is late in arriving, but I have managed a few sights.


a quick jaunt through Warwick, a walk along the river in Worcester….


…where I met these 2 swans doing a little grooming. They were wonderful to watch and let me get quite close. They were so in sync in their movements and the positions they got into looked a bit dizzy making.



But is hasn’t been all swan watching and sight-seeing, I did get some work done before leaving Vancouver. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival is on again and I have a new piece in the show, it’s called “koumori” which is Japanese for bat (they’re on the pot!)

CNicholls koumori overall

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The show is on at the Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver until April 21st if you want to drop in.

I’ve also been working on a new piece, right now it’s called “black bamboo” but that might change when it’s closer to finished. Its going to join the Orientation show when it reaches Llanidloes in mid-Wales this summer.


Meanwhile I’m headed to Nottingham to Coles Sewing Center. It’s a real treat to represent Mettler threads alongside good friend and talented quilter Edwina Mackinnon at  Mettler Open Studio Day on April 12th at Coles. If you’re nearby do come over and say hello!

There are some lovely sights along the road.


Bye for now, Catherine

catching up again…

I’m not quite sure how it happens but it keeps happening! Life seems to be moving at a great rate these days, I am going to blame it on the dreary days of February but that doesn’t seem an adequate enough reason somehow.

It’s not that’s there’s nothing going on around here- far from it! I just have been feeling more than a little distracted. I think I’m ready for winter to be over.

Just to catch up a bit here’s a few images of the show at the Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver. The show closed 2 weeks ago but no one minds looking at work hanging in a show- even if they can’t go see it in person anymore- right? ( I hope I’m right!)  There are more images of the show on the North Shore Needle Arts blog and do check out the link to Bright Lights. One of the community newspapers attended the event and sent a photographer to the opening, there’s some great shots of members and their work.

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The piece in the middle of all the beautiful embroideries is my quilt called “crossroads”. I’ve been exploring some new directions.. and this is one of them.  Here’s a close up so you can see what I’ve been up to.

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I belong to a small group of amazing women who are all masters with a needle, they have taught me so much. We challenged ourselves to make a piece for this show and the real challenge was it to fit into this frame, which is 8 inches by 10 inches. Now that’s a challenge for a quilter!

Here are all our pieces hanging together at the show, they made a striking presentation the way the gallery had them arranged. The lighting in this image isn’t the best, I hope you can see them all.

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And here’s a close-up of my little piece “fragment” , which took just as long as some of the larger pieces I’ve made… it really was a challenge.

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There’s work on the design wall for the Cherry Blossom Festival here in Vancouver and more for Orientation as it tours the UK, so lots to keep me busy!

and still it rains….


Bye for now…. Catherine


opening at the Silk Purse gallery on the 5th!

I have been very slow off the mark with my blog and a bunch of other things as well this year.  But since I am a firm believer in better late than never ( I have to be!)   it’s time to get into gear and make my New Years  less-a-month intentions and one of them is to be a better blogger!

So to get my new intentions off to a good start here we go! And perfect timing I will be attending an opening on Tuesday evening, the 5th! Actually I am helping out with the hanging the day before so it wont be a big surprise on Tuesday night.

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I am a member of the guild and will have a couple of pieces in the show and am going to be attending the opening for sure.

The opening reception is Tuesday the 5th of February from 6 to 8 pm. I hope you can make it if you are in the area and if you can’t I’ll post some images a little later on.

Bye for now, Catherine