Romancing the Eye is what quilts are all about. The designwork, the colour and the sewing skills involved. And quilts often have a story to tell. From the traditional to non-traditional, the designwork on quilts has changed greatly over the past four to five decades, they are no longer found just on beds but on walls as well, visual pictures in cloth.
I made my first quilt when I was twenty-two years old, introduced to quiltmaking by my late Mother-in-law, Maude Small, who was born and raised on a farm just outside of Shelburne, Ontario. If you lived on a farm, as a female, you learned how to make quilts. I was city born and raised but I’d always wanted to live on a farm as a child and quilts and farms, to me, just went together. Maude also encouraged me to learn how to oil paint when I was in my late teens and mixing colours by paint laid the foundation for me in ‘seeing’ colour. But then, some years later, the youngest of Maude and Ed’s seven children, my husband Bob Small, died suddenly one morning and I was left, in my early thirties, with two young children to care for. I was teaching figure skating at the time for the Borough of Etobicoke but this took me away from home after school hours and so I begn to look for another way to supplement my income. The only other skill I had was in making quilts and at the time quilts were enjoying a resurgence of interest, this time with city folk. I began teaching quilting at Humber College in 1974 and in 1975, I brought my classes into my home and taught from there, forming at the same time, the second quilt guild in Canada, the Etobicoke Quilters Guild. In 1977, I conceived of and co-convened the first Canadian Quilt Conference at York University which was a great success. Quilters and instructors flew in from all over North America. And then, in 1983, I was encouraged to apply to the Ontario College of Art as a part-time mature student. Now, studying visual art is very different to accademia but I managed to obtain a diploma in design from OCA and my work since that time has travelled in exhibits in Canada, the US and in England, winning awards and being featured in Canadian Living Magazine as well.
The two quilts featured here are my most recent creations, one on Climate Change featuring the animals threatened now, in Canada by climate change and the other, focusing on a very serious issue in society today, that of Domestic Violence and a form of abuse known as Coercive Control. My quilts speak for me. I hope you enjoy going through my website.
I may be contacted at: 1-519-942-1775
The Nova Scotia Memorial Quilt that I designed may be found found in The Canadian Quilter magazine, Spring issue, 2021. It is my tribute to those who lost their lives in the Portapique shootings, in April of last year and the pattern is available, at half price (my contribution to honour the tragedy) to quilters who may be interested in it. Here is the link:
I would like to thank Mary Light, machine quilter and Pete Paterson, photographer, for making my work possible