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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Guest Speaker: Beverly White

Beverly White started quilting in 1990 when she moved to Port Elgin from Toronto. She got hooked into quilting by taking a "Quilt in a day" class. Soon she was taking classes, joining the local quilt guild, and eventually on the executive of the Bluewater Guild in Owen Sound.

She had a strong interest in Crazy quilts, learning as much as she could about them. She made one crazy quilt out of corduroy and was asked to enter it in Quilt Canada in Thunder Bay, in the category of "Unconventional Materials". She will use anything to embellish her quilts, showing us samples with chicken bones, broken china found in her garden to little doll shoes. "If you call it 'found objects', it is accepted in the art world!", she joked. "Weird, but there it is."

Her other passion in quilting was paper pieced log cabin quilts. She taught this technique for many years. She showed us many examples, where she experimented with colour placement and even piping; she wanted the logs to look more like real logs. In the photo below she combined her paper pieced log cabin with another's technique in this guild challenge to "use more yellow".

She showed us many examples of where she experimented with dye resist and discharge dye techniques, using freezer paper templates as a resist. Below, she cut out templates of a polar bear and a loon, calling this piece "A Loonie and a Toonie". You can see how she used her signature log cabins to frame this piece. Many of her other 'resist' pieces she uses snowflake templates, they're a favourite as they are easy and fun to make.

She did a whole series of pieces in various techniques that are inspired by books she has read and famous or important Canadians, including Emily Carr, Pauline Johnson, Maude Lewis, Gabrielle Roy; never copying but inspired by.

As an artist, she is always experimenting with new ways to express herself. She showed us a series of "thread paintings", drawing with her sewing machine.

Some may contain a few embellishments, here below, she added two three-dimensional children running through the trees.

Below is one of my favourites from her trunk show, "Snowstorm". She created the haziness by placing tulle over the piece and making snowflakes with french knots.

Very modest about her accomplishments and honest about her mistakes, she told us some very funny stories about experimentation, and learning as you go. Bev donates all the money she makes to the charity "Sleeping Children around the world". They do not spend any of their money advertising and create baskets of useful things to give to needy children in Africa.

What a wonderful woman, what a wonderful trunk show!

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