Monday, February 28, 2011

beauty in the every day

texture at the corner market

radicchio, in season

artichoke and tomatoes 

first time I see white radicchio


Could have had some risotto con radicchio for dinner but had to decline the invitation and head home to organize my art work for Vicenza and finish some translation.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

leaving town

My studio gets very messy while I work. These two pictures show my cutting table. You see? There is no room for cutting!

I work on many different things at one time which is part of the reason for the chaos.
There are fabric pieces being sewn for quilts for my book. There are pieces of fabric for my art work that are painted and drying. There are samples I work on for the quilt classes I teach. There is stuff for the art exercise I do daily.

When my husband is out of town, the studio grows and bubbles into the adjacent room.

I am leaving in a few hours and have to clean up..but there isn't any time I want to dedicate to it.


antique quilt

From the fabric choices, I would say this quilt is from the 1940's. 
I love scrap quilts, a feast of fabric. These are some of my favorite bits.

It was given to me by a student (Thanks Barb!). I use it to cover the mess.

putting everything to bed

My studio looks way better now!

Next time I post, it will be from Verona, Italy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

packing up

I am heading off to Italy tomorrow for 5 weeks. Busy labeling my work, making sleeves for hanging, assembling my teaching samples and notes, folding up art work.

many moons, attaching a sleeve

pages of my life, labeling

11 art works to bring
go to 'mostre'
click, top ten and click, top ten again where it says read more, bottom left
click my picture, right side
This site is available in english
click 'programma' to see where I will be exhibiting and teaching.
This site will soon be available in english.

My boys have taken over dinner preparations. I appreciate that so much!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Inspiration for colour is everywhere.

In late January, when all the Christmas decorations are put away and there is only white snow outside, I look to add colour to my surroundings. I prune my forsythia bush and force the flowers by bringing the branches in and setting them in a warm place. The yellow colour of spring appears about 10 days later.

forsythia and silk amaryllis on the second floor landing

My children gave me some tulips.

The bouquet inspired me to make a quilt using my scraps of the same colours.

scrap quilt still in the designing stage

I always work on a vertical plane when designing. 

Look, really look. You will find beautiful colours everywhere...maybe in the oddest places!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

valentine's day

San Valentino...doesn't it sound romantic said in Italiano?

coffee in verona with risino for breakfast

 My husband and I dated while I lived in Vienna, Austria, and he lived in Toronto, Canada, at a time when there was no internet. We wrote love letters to each other. I kept every single letter he wrote to me. This piece is about those letters and our time living far away from each other.

la poesie d'une plume,
41" x 39", 105cm x 99cm
mixed fabric, paper, plastic, resist technique

la poesie d'une plume, detail

We have been married for 27 years. Happy Valentine's, Presh. (he's in Africa right now)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

artists I love

I love El Anatsui's work, a well known contemporary African artist born in Ghana.

The Art Gallery of Ontario,, has one of his tapestries made of metal in their permanent collection.

The Royal Ontario Museum,, has a retrospective of his work on exhibit right now.

royal ontario museum
I love the outside, old meets new
I don't like the inside so much

royal ontario museum, west view

The exhibit closes February 27.  It is very interesting to see the evolution of his work over 40 years.

crumbling wall, made from discarded cassava graters, a patchwork of metal!

detail showing use of discarded metal from liquor bottles

I also use 'garbage' in my work. That is one thing that draws me to his creations.

reuse,  reduce, recycle, detail, 100cm x 100cm
bubble wrap, fabric bits and thread garbage, magazine paper
part of 13th carrefour europeen du patchwork, 2007
toured europe for 1 year as part of a group exhibit.

reflect and repair, detail, 2009
exhibited in:
 veldhoven, netherlands, in march 2010 as part of open european championships
verona, mystery e, 2009
side space gallery, 2010
bubble wrap, painted cotton, paper, machine and hand stitched
 photographs of garbage at toronto's recycling plant by heidi leverty

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

buddha says

"To keep the body in good health is a duty...otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear"

Your body and your body of work are connected.

They are connected no matter what you do.... creating art, parenting, designing, researching, learning...anything!

                                             Today's walk.....energizing

Today's work...satisfying

Monday, February 7, 2011


I have organized a trip for 8 Toronto quilters/textile artists to Verona, Italy, for this March.

Today was our launch lunch at the italian restaurant Mercurio on Bloor in Toronto!

The trip is from March 4 to 13 in conjunction with the international textile festival, Verona Tessile,

We will have one day in Venice because it is Carnavale while we are there.

Check this blog everyday during our trip for more pictures of the beautiful city of Verona and the textile exhibits.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

technical talk

How do I have time to sew, bake, make art, teach, work on my book, volunteer, take care of my house and my family of 6?

I have great time management skills, for sure!

One of my tricks is to break down the tasks into smaller pieces.

For example, I wanted to participate in the Australian Flood Quilt project,, where people around the world make a specific quilt block. The blocks are made into quilts by the quilters of Australia and given to the flood victims.

I chose the fabric and cut the strips one day this week...took about 10 minutes.

Today, I sewed the strips together and made the block..took about 15 minutes.

triple rail fence quilt blocks

Technical talk:

People fuss when using plaids. I say not to worry about where the stripes go when you cut. If they are crooked, they add interest!

The seam allowance in quilting is rarely split open like it is when making clothes. It should always rest towards the side of least resistance.

This block is made up of 4 individual blocks. The center intersection of seams is sometimes a problem because there is too much bulk. Simply unpick about 2 or 3 stitches from the top part of the intersection at the back (try not to break the thread) so that you can spiral the seams counter clockwise which flattens the block's center.

I call it TWIRLING - what a nice word!

Friday, February 4, 2011

thursday group

Two years ago, the Toronto Public Library, Spadina Branch (10 Spadina Road, north of Bloor) hired me to teach a quilting class.

In 5 weeks, 15 women, all beginners, made a Victorian Crazy Quilt! Crazy that we finished it in that short time!

event coverage in SNAP, downtown toronto

The quilt is being used for the children's story time program.

I taught a similar program at the Jones' library (118 Jones Avenue) last year. Their quilt was loved by all patrons and so it ended up as art work on the wall!

Toronto Public Library, Jones' Branch

Some of the Jones' library artists!

The women of both classes asked to continue meeting weekly and so they have. The group I run at the Spadina Branch is called Spadina Quilt and Talk. Although I still believe it should be called Talk and Quilt!

We work on several projects at a time. Whenever a new one is introduced, we have a short lesson. All our finished quilts are donated.

These are some of the wonderful hand sewers from the Spadina Quilt and Talk group. There are about 20 ladies and gentleman that have participated in our projects.

All are welcome to join or drop in. There are no fees. No experience needed. It is very informal.
Spadina Branch, Thursday evenings, 6:30 to 8pm.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

baby earth

BABY EARTH is hanging in Salon Coco (1139 Davenport Road, Toronto, M6H 2G4)
from February 3 to 17.

The quilt I made in 2005 was inspired by Baby Earth, one of my children's favorite books by Michele Petit-Jean.

I created it as if a grade one student made it - you remember all the hearts and stars in your drawings then and practicing your cursive writing while staying in between the red lines.

hand embroidered, hand applique

Baby Earth, 2005, 49" x 58.5", 125cm x 149cm

I tied the quilt instead of "quilting" it. The movement of tying reminded me of tying shoelaces, something a parent would do - just part of taking care of a child.

Shiny things were added to the clothing worn by the Haida native Indians to keep the evil spirits away. I protected the earth with all the shiny white buttons. They are from my grandmother's sewing box.