Friday, November 24, 2017

Application deadline is drawing near, and there are any number of SAQA Artists in our Central Canada region who would be perfect candidates for this amazing opportunity!

John Willard (1939-2014) in front of one of his quilts, 2014


 The John Willard Fibre Arts Residency

My sole purpose is to create something beautiful – something that will make someone happy and with any luck something that will outlive me. I also hope my art helps people to see…everybody LOOKS but do they really SEE?
– John Willard

The Art Gallery of Burlington has opened the call for the third John Willard Fibre Arts Residency for fibre artists.

About John Willard

After trying his hand at theatre costumes and set designs, John Willard worked for 23 years as a Publicity and Programming Assistant at the Oakville Library. In 1975 he came across an exhibition catalogue titled The Pieced Quilt that was the turning point in his artistic life and he began making quilts. With scissors, needles, threads and fabrics, he created his own designs. Some were inspired by traditional patterns he had deconstructed, others by historical events; his quilts are one of a kind. Not one to follow the rules of tradition, John turned the craft of quilting into a truly remarkable art form. John passed away on April 26 2014. Loving partner, brilliant artist, extraordinary teacher, special friend and wonderful man, he touched the lives of all who knew him.

About the John Willard Fibre Arts Residency

To celebrate the remarkable life of John Willard and to continue his legacy as a fibre art teacher, the John Willard Fibre Arts Residency Fund will enable artists access to one of the AGB resident fibre studios to develop a body of work for a solo exhibition. This exhibition will benefit from a small brochure including curatorial text, and will be presented in the RBC Gallery at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

The residency will provide:

  • $2000 honorarium
  • A solo curated exhibition with publication
  • 10 days in one of our fibre studios (dates to be confirmed)
  • Curatorial mentoring in person to the successful candidate from the beginning of the residency to the opening of the exhibition
  • Potential invitation to teach in our hands-on program or a specific workshop
This residency is for:
  • Professional artists (including recent graduates) in Fibre Arts
  • A self-motivated individual able to work in a communal environment (shared studios)
Birds of a Feather, 2017, Chandra Rice
The AGB is open some evenings and weekends.

To apply, please send the following by December 15, 2017
  • Cover letter
  • Your resume or CV (maximum of 3 pages)
  • Proposal for the work you would like to do during your residency (maximum one page)
  • Up to 10 images
    • All work should be original
    • Do not include student work
    • Image format JPG: 1024 x 768 dpi
  • Two letters of reference

Previous recipients:
2015: Karen Cummings
2016: Chandra Rice

Send application to:

Denis Longchamps, Artistic Director & Chief Curator
Art Gallery of Burlington
1333 Lakeshore Rd
Burlington ON L7S 1A9

Telephone: 905-632-7796 x: 303

Or by email:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Call To Entry
Open to Central Canada members

Deadline: May 31, 2018 at 11:59pm 
On-line submission only

This will be our Fourth Biennial Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Fibre Art.  Fibre Content exhibits the best of contemporary Canadian Fibre Art that reflects a wide range of mediums.  

Our primary goal is to raise the profile, awareness and acceptance of Fibre Art as a true art form.  Fibre Art includes fabric, paper, yarn, thread and various mixed media materials.

Premiere Location:      Art Gallery of Burlington, Burlington, ON
Dates: September 6 – 16, 2018

Selected pieces from the premiere show will form a smaller version to travel to these additional venues:

       Lake of the Woods Museum, Kenora ON           September to November 2018

       Dryden and District Museum, Dryden, ON      December 2018 to January 2019

       Fort Frances Museum, Fort Frances, ON            February to March 2019

       Thunder Bay Museum, Tunder Bay, ON             April to June 2019

       Timmins Museum, Timmins, ON                       July to September 2019

       Simcoe County Museum, Minesing, ON             September to  November  2019

Participation in the travelling show is optional. Artists can indicate for each piece submitted if they agree to
make it available for inclusion in the travel show. Show curators will select pieces for the travelling show during the premiere show and advise the artists of their selections.

Show Concept:

This will be our Fourth Biennial Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Fibre Art. Fibre Content exhibits the best of contemporary Canadian Fibre Art that reflects a wide range of mediums. Our primary goal is to raise the profile, awareness and acceptance of Fibre Art as a true art form. Fibre Art includes fabric, paper, yarn, thread and various mixed media materials.


       William Hodge, retired after 40 years as Textile Professor at OCAD University, Armure Studios, Stoney Creek, ON
       Elaine Cheasley Paterson, Associate Professor of Craft History, Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University, Montreal, QC
       Susan Warner Keene, Toronto-based Artist, Independent Educator, Writer and Curator

Important  Exhibition Dates:

March 1, 2018                     Online entry submissions open at

May 31, 2018                       Online entry deadline at 11:59pm

July 14, 2018                       Accepted entries notification by email  

August 18, 2018                  Optional delivery of artwork to outlying special locations

September 4, 2018              Delivery of accepted artwork to AGB no later than 12:00 Noon 
September 6, 2018              Show opens

September 9, 2018              Opening Reception from 1:00 to 3:00 pm

September 16, 2018            Show closes

September17, 2018             Pick up artwork at AGB 11:00AM to no later than 1:00PM         
After September 22, 2018  Optional pick up of artwork from outlying special locations
Return of pieces selected for the travel version of the show by June 2020.

Eligibility  and Guidelines

You must be a member of one of the following groups: Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) Central Canada Division, Burlington Fibre Arts Guild, Burlington Handweavers and Spinners Guild, Burlington Hooking Craft Guild, Connections Fibre Artists, Grand Guild of Fibre Artists, Group of Eight Fibre Artists or Oakville Fibre Artists; OR become a SAQA member (at if your work is accepted.
Original artwork must have been completed within the last five years and must be the result of independent effort. Work must be ready to hang, including rod or device, and may be framed or unframed (glass not acceptable). Three-dimensional works, including wearable art pieces, may not exceed 40 pounds and 9 feet in any direction.


Entries are accepted online only, at, and will be considered on the basis of submitted digital images. Photographs must be of good quality, at least 3 MP (e.g., 2,000px × 1,500px), one photograph of the complete piece and one detail image. Photographs must be free from textual or other information revealing the artist’s name and should be taken on a plain or neutral background. Deadline for online submissions is 11:59 pm on May 31, 2018. A non-refundable entry fee of $20.00 for each piece is payable online upon submission. Maximum of 3 submissions per artist. An illustration of the online entry form is shown below for your information  and preparation.

Jury Process

Each entry will be assigned an identification number. In making their decision, members of the Jury will only have access to entry number, title of the artwork, dimensions, photographs and your artist’s statement.

The jurors will evaluate all entries and assign a numerical evaluation. The show committee will accept entries with the highest numerical evaluation up to the level exhibit space permits. Each juror will select one piece for a Juror’s Choice Award, which will be highlighted in the show, in the catalogue and on the website.

Delivery and Pick Up

Detailed packaging and shipping instructions will be provided to successful entrants with their acceptance notices. Special drop off locations will be made available to minimize shipping costs, however for any special handling requirements or oversized items, the artist will have to make their own arrangements.
All accepted work must include a label on the back with the piece’s ID number, artist’s name and contact information, as well as the title of the work and the completion date. Organizers reserve the right to reject delivered artwork that does not match digital photographs in quality or content.

Please refer to Important Dates above for delivery and pick-up dates. Details on outlying delivery and pick-up locations will be provided to successful entrants with their acceptance notices.

Terms and Conditions

Works can be for sale. The Art Gallery of Burlington requires a 20% commission and will complete the sale on the artist behalf. Artist will receive their 80% portion from Fibrations after the show closes. Work must remain hanging for duration of show. The same process will hold for any sales made by gallery locations during the travel version of the show, and the commissions may vary for those locations.
Disclaimer: Fibrations, the Studio Art Quilt Associates and the Art Gallery of Burlington assume no liability for the artwork and cannot be held responsible in an unlikely event that it is damaged or lost. If this is of concern, the artist is advised to obtain commercial insurance to  cover their work while in transit, in storage and in exhibition.

Submission of artwork for the Fibre Content 2018 Exhibition constitutes permission for photographs of the artwork to be published on the Fibrations website, Fibre Content 2018 catalogue and promotional materials used by Fibrations, Fibre Content and/or SAQA.

 For a pdf copy of this information, including a link to the sample entry form,  please contact Robynne Cole at

Thursday, November 16, 2017

CANADIAN QUILTS ARE MOST WELCOME... love that Judy Martin's quilt is featured! YOU must have a quilt that could be a part of this amazing exhibition!

Debuting at Quilt Festival Chicago; Registration open now through January 11, 2018

This annual judged competition and exhibit is open to quilts—created in any style or technique—that “celebrate” color through design and/or vibrant fabrics.

A $5,000 Best of Show and three $1,000 prizes each in Traditional, Modern, and Art categories will be awarded.

Featured quilt: Reconstructed Color by Petra Soesemann. From the 2017 "A Celebration of Color" exhibit. 
Debuting at Quilt Festival Chicago; Registration open now through February 1, 2018

This exhibit features recently made traditional-style quilts by artists from the Midwest states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario.

Quilts must have been made between January 2015 and February 2018.

Featured quilt: The River Beneath by Judy Martin. From the 2017 "Traditional Midwest & Canadian Quilts" exhibit. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Enjoy this Wonderful article featuring information and recommendations about SAQA POD meetings from three Regional Representatives across the State of Florida...

Defining SAQA PODs:  A concept

Former Representatives Nancy Billings and Jayne Gaskins felt a system was necessary for Florida’s membership to create connections through networking and friendship. To meet this need, in 2012 Nancy and Jayne developed the much-acclaimed POD system (also known now as Local Connections).

After painstakingly plotting each member on a map, they drew circles around clusters of members within reasonable driving distance of each other. They contacted the members in each cluster, asking for volunteers to host introductory POD meetings. The meetings could have as few as two members; they asked for no other commitment. The PODs were left to create their own structure. There were only two rules: that each meeting be open to all SAQA members, and that all meetings had to be announced to the entire region.

Current Reps Ellen and Karol agree the POD system is successful but concur that it has taken some time to become fully operational. One last POD is just now getting off the ground, but the network has come together. Here’s how the Florida reps make it work.

Best practices for starting and nurturing PODs : Ideas that are working...

POD boundaries are fluid. When membership ebbs and flows, boundaries are re-vamped to accommodate those fluctuations. A couple of PODs have divided into two sections to better facilitate driving times. Mapping is done by volunteers responding to advertisements in the monthly newsletter. Geography is not a constraint; several SAQA members attend more than one POD.

Each POD decides together what is appropriate for the group. Some PODs issue challenges, others employ critiques, plan field trips, as well as search out alternate meeting locales and events. Generally meeting every other month, they typically include a short business meeting, program (often presented by POD members), and Show and Tell. Lunch is sometimes included.

The reps have learned a lot about organizing PODs. The first lesson is that PODs are important to connecting members, even though it can be difficult getting groups together. Secondly, certain areas might not be as active, or become inactive, if another fiber arts group is in that area. Third, and perhaps most unsettling came the significant realization that members’ expectations for a good POD can influence whether or not to renew their SAQA membership!

SAQA Volunteers - True rock stars that deserve so much credit!

 For successful volunteer participation, Ellen shared Florida’s basic policy: “be warm, welcoming, and appreciative of the workers/volunteers.” Volunteer recognition is provided through public acknowledgment with praise issued verbally and announced in Florida’s monthly newsletter. The reps also hand-write thank you notes to all volunteers on SAQA notecards. In our age of technology, this somewhat outmoded nicety lets volunteers know how appreciated they are. These personal touches have far reaching benefits — members will be more likely to volunteer in the future.

Additionally, they suggest searching for enthusiastic members willing to step up to the plate. At a recent retreat, someone proposed making it an annual event. The Reps had their hands full with two upcoming juried shows, but liked the idea of more retreats. They were surprised at how quickly three volunteers stepped up to take charge. Those three are now busily organizing the retreat. A plus of working together allows friendships to be made while volunteers carry out essential tasks. These friendships create strong bonds as Florida’s members unite in their common goals.

Regional exhibitions and workshops provide Florida members with creative opportunities.
Both Ellen and Karol greatly appreciate Nancy Billings’s and Jayne Gaskins’s fundraising endeavors which created Florida’s generous treasury. This allows scheduling events such as retreats with guest instructor a year in advance with plenty of planning and promotional time.

Leveraging technology to connect members:

The Florida reps rely on Skype meetings to organize upcoming juried exhibits. Skype meetings are also an effective and efficient means to recruit volunteers. Seeing their reps’ enthusiasm stimulates interest among the membership. The upshot: members readily volunteer for various tasks necessary for successful events. Zoom is also another option to connect virtually.

Calling All Volunteers

Stressing how important a personal approach is when recruiting volunteers, Ellen and Karol announce jobs in the newsletter. At annual regional and POD meetings, a clipboard is circulated detailing assorted tasks for various events. This modus operandi was re-iterated several times to emphasize how essential it is to be specific both in detailing tasks needing oversight as well as what each task entails.

Mailing Lists

Karol emphasized that it’s imperative mailing lists be current and meeting/event dates be listed in the regional newsletter. She has seen lack of communication lessen participation in PODs.
New member info is sent to a volunteer who keeps track of membership using spreadsheets. She sorts new member info and determines which POD is closest. This pertinent info is dispersed to both Reps and relevant POD leader who then sends personal letters of welcome.

Regional Meetings

Each year, at least one and possibly two Regional “Art, Meet, and Greet” full-day meetings are hosted. The day customarily includes combining a short business meeting with attending a fiber exhibit, gallery walk, or enjoying a speaker. Other enticements include the ever popular “show and share,” and social time, which allows members to mingle. Quilters and food are a time-honored combination, so time to enjoy a meal together, which could perhaps be catered sandwich lunches or a sit down at a nice restaurant, is earmarked. “Give-aways” further increase the day’s festivity!

Regional Newsletter/Social Media

Florida’s monthly newsletter does much to enhance statewide camaraderie. To promote community, extensive POD info is included. Individual member “brags” and Calendar of Events alerts are encouraged. Ellen laughingly confided, “including photos in the newsletter encourages members to actually read it!”

Since many are technically savvy these days, social media is a huge draw for sharing information. Posting on the region’s Facebook page as well as Instagram is encouraged, ensuring membership “connectivity” across Florida.

Appreciation/Thank You

Deemed essential, appreciation gifts are routinely presented to volunteers in recognition of their efforts. As mentioned, Ellen and Karol are especially creative when it comes to amusing and unusual thank-you ideas.

One such playful idea is “fabric cookies” which are small fiber art pieces. These were made for an east coast POD to thank them for hosting a regional exhibit. Quite an array of “baked goods” were represented which not only included cookies, but buns and bagels as well!

Final Thoughts

All in all, Ellen and Karol are enthusiastic, affirmative women continually on the lookout for original ideas and events to tempt and captivate Florida’s membership. Thanks to their resourcefulness, earlier retreats featured 1-hour sessions on significant subjects such as surface design, marketing (which might include presentations on Pinterest or artist statements), Photoshop, and myriad other diverse topics. To unwind kinks, a relaxing 10 minute session of chair yoga concluded the day!
Ellen and Karol’s success hasn’t been conceived in a vacuum. With nurturing and “outside the box” forward thinking together with membership reciprocation, these energetic women hold “hands steady at the helm” guiding Florida’s journey. Through friendship and networking, together the members are cultivating the circle of connectivity across the state, keeping it alive and well.

Article written by Diane Powers Harris. Photos provided by Ellen Lindner and Karol Kusmaul.
Captions for photos:
  1. These happy faces evidence the great time everyone had learning from Elizabeth Barton over a three day period. The beautiful grounds and wonderful meals at Atlantic Center for the Arts, in New Smyrna Beach, added to the enjoyment of the event.
  2. This group photo of POD 3 members being silly, was taken at the local quilt shop which hosts their meetings.
  3. Tampa Bay area members of Pod 3 having a blast with a “hands on” collage activity.
  4. Visitors to the Florida juried show, Growth, were greeted by Susan Rienzo’s colorful piece. The exhibit, juried by Pamela Allen, was displayed at Dunedin Fine Arts Center, in Dunedin, FL.
  5. Viewers were mesmerized by the work of Marianne Williamson and other SAQA fiber artists at Florida’s juried show, Stitched:  Embracing the Quilt as Art.  The show was juried by Rosalie Dace and displayed at the Martin County Cultural Center Gallery, in Stuart, FL.
  6. In the midst of an Elizabeth Barton workshop, member Gabriele DiTota examined her in-progress piece with the help of her camera.
  7. (& 8) Close-up shots showcase different groupings of the playful and colorful “fabric cookies” to thank east coast POD 8 members who helped immensely with Florida’s regional exhibit, Stitched:  Embracing the Quilt as Art.