Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Art Quilt Campus 2016

Sun Printing
Brynne and Derrick have moved to the west coast, as planned. They left on the same morning as I headed off to Art Quilt Campus in Saskatchewan. Up until now I've been too busy to truly miss them, but I'm home again and the house is pretty quiet.

A couple of days before they left, Brynne and I spent a happy afternoon sun printing in the backyard.

Brynne, placing leaves for printing.

We made some excellent prints and textures. I have a "froggy" quilt in mind for a little someone special. Turns out nasturtium leaves look a bit like lily pads - handy!

Still damp when rain came, so we moved them under cover to finish drying.

Art Quilt Campus 2016
This charming birdhouse instantly alerts visitors to the creative vibe at St. Peter's Abbey; the setting for AQC2016.

St. Peter's Abbey, Muenster, Saskatchewan
In addition to being the oldest Benedictine monastery in Canada, the Abbey is an accredited learning institution with university transfer courses available.

As part of a tour, we visited "the dungeon" - in reality, it's a huge root cellar with extra storage space for canned goods. The monks grow enormous gardens, and their harvest feeds hordes of hungry university students and visitors, year round.

"The dungeon"

With the exception of the monks' private quarters and the industrial kitchen, we had the run of the place. 
The buildings felt a bit Harry Potter-esque! Old and new buildings are connected with long passageways that can only be accessed by climbing up-and-down flights of stairs to find the "right" hallway.  (Trust me. The many "wrong" hallways were no help at all. Ha!)

On my way to lunch one day, I heard one of the monks playing the pipe organ and singing to himself. Imagine having this beautiful instrument at your disposal!

The venue, itself, fed my creative soul.

What is Art Quilt Campus?
AQC - developed and facilitated by Anna Hergert - is a week-long gathering of textile artists who are engaged in self-directed activities.

Anna offers a wealth of information, and works independently with each artist, providing critique, suggestions, guidance, and instruction for those wishing to learn new skills.

During the first three days, a dye kitchen is available. As you can see, our time in there was productive!

A small group of us dyed a 24 step run of brights to share.

I'd come with the idea to try stitched shibori, and then discovered I could learn how to start my own indigo vat  - a perfect match!

Stitch, gather, dye

We were generally left to our own devices to do as much as we could manage, but Anna was always available to answer questions as they arose. Communication was key - plus I think she had wings on her feet!

Oxidizing between dips

Stitches removed.

Great visual texture!

Naturally, by the third day everyone had fabric to rinse. The sink in the dye kitchen was busy, so I went to my room to finish up.

Rinsing fabric in my room.

As I worked, it started to rain. What to do with several meters of wet fabric?

The rooms were sparse, so I had ample room to push the beds aside and improvise a solution!

Improvised clothesline.

Eventually, I shifted focus and started sewing. Again, Anna checked to see how she could inspire my thinking.

I'd brought a handful of projects for discussion, and Anna always asked about my thoughts for each piece. At no time did Anna "push" ideas on me - she is skilled at listening, and then offering practical tips to move things forward - leaving me with the sense that my work was still my own. This is the space in which growth happens. This is the true value of a self-directed, facilitated, workshop.

Now. I cannot show you the work done in class. Several participants enter shows, so any photos must remain private. I can direct you to Anna's blog, though! She posted photos throughout the week, and is currently leading a second week of AQC. You can easily get a sense of the experience through her lens.

The focus, fearless exploration, and high caliber of work done by fellow participants also added value to my experience. So many techniques! So many distinct styles! So many possibilities!

My brain crackled all week long, and it was invigorating!

Storm moving in. Lloyminster, AB (on the way home).

On the Home Front
Things are happening!

Our basement is underway!
Amazing what can happen in a week!

Try, Learn, & Grow!


  1. It sounds like AQC might have been a perfect way to spend time when Brynne and Derrick were moving. Welcome home, and I am sure we'll be seeing fruits of the creative experience. :)

  2. Such a bittersweet time. So much is happening and going to AQS was probably the perfect distraction. It looked amazing and I'd loved to have explored the school. Beautiful results from your and Brynne's sun dyeing. Lots of progress on the new will be ages before you catch your breath.

  3. What a wonderful time of creative fun. Blissful. And to hear the monts playing and get that very cool!! (So glad to see progress on you house. We built a house in Arizona and it goes through soooo many stages...enjoy the process....even though it will try your patience!)

  4. Oh, sounds like you had such a special time at AQC, with lots of good ideas to take away. Looking forward to seeing some of your creations which stemmed from this week :)

  5. AQC sounds like the perfect match for you!! And the timing (though perhaps stressful) was probably pretty perfect, too.
    I'm wondering if what you call a basement, and *I* call a crawl space - are the same thing. I'm thinking so...
    Looking forward to seeing what becomes of all that beautiful dyed fabric :-)

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  7. What an incredible place and experience, it sounds completely perfect and most likely perfect timing. Hope we'll get to see more from the fabrics you created. And hope you're not missing them too much, I imagine the house building will start taking up lots of attention soon, hard to believe how much they managed to get done in a week.

  8. That sounds like an incredible place to be for a week! I bet it was fun to come home to so much progress on the house.


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