It is very hard to leave Alberta. I always find it fascinating how different each of our Canadian provinces are - and I am trying to put my finger on the most obvious differences. Out here, they have the "big sky" and the city is spread out so you have to drive along vast highways (I love that they call them "Trails"). As I basked in the sunshine and felt the occasional chilly blast of wind, I was reminded of Ian Tyson's song about Alberta. Even the mentality of the people is different: I find them to be refreshingly direct and honest and they are fazed by nothing - they still have that brave pioneering spirit. These qualities make them ideal fiber art students!
For all my fiber art followers, if you are ever in Edmonton, you must visit one of the two Quilter's Dream stores. I was astonished - the "south side" store I taught at was huge - one side filled with Berninas, Pfaffs and Janomes (even longarms) and the other with an enormous collection of fabrics, books, notions and art supplies. The walls are filled with quilts and quilt art. There are not one but two spacious classrooms. The staff were incredibly nice and super helpful. Here is a picture of Rosa in front of her gorgeous stained glass quilt.
I've never had such an advanced class - I learn something from students in every class I teach, but this time I learned a LOT. They were not daunted by the new paints I showed them how to use, nor by the sculpting of cheesecloth. I did, unfortunately, experience every teacher's nightmare. At the end of the first day, some of the glues the students had brought were not cooperative ... and one actually completely adhered the cheesecloth to the plastic background! Never to be removed!
My designated chauffeur, Loraine (a prime example of the friendliness of westerners), kindly drove me to a wonderful art store - Colours (love their tag line: "We put U in Colours"!). Such an impressive store! They had EVERYthing! I bought out their entire stock of PVA Neutral-PH adhesive and proudly delivered this to the class in the morning, at no charge. OMG. Disaster! It dried rubbery and didn't want to leave the background plastic either! A frantic trip to the nearby Rona where I bought many more bottles of PVA glue ensued and we carried on with tremendous success. The students were wonderful about it and joked that we had really "bonded." I will never forget this group and hope they will all stay in touch on Facebook, this blog, and email. They went on to create their own incredible cheesecloth work and here is a group shot showing some of their work:
Peeking out at the back left is Darlene, the store manager who organizes all the classes for both stores among other things, and who teaches fiber art classes and leads groups on a regular basis. She is a one-woman fireball who has created an environment that fosters creativity and inspiration and is a talented artist to boot (later I will post a picture of the fabulous journal she gave me). She took exceptional care of me, setting me up in a great hotel and ensuring I got driven wherever I needed to be. I was thrilled when she presented my "designated driver" (and adopted quilting sister) Loraine with a beautiful collection of batiks. Everyone was, without exception, warm, friendly, caring and thoughtful. I am already trying to figure out a return trip so we can plan a Cheesecloth Graduates reunion!
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