Sir Alfred Smithers-Thread Painting My Style

Wow, I've come up for air!

Literally, I'm sleeping, eating, working and quilting. These are the four things that I aspire to keep up with during this extremely busy time of my life. Yes, its way, way busier than I ever thought it would be, but so rewarding at the same time. Funny how life throws opportunities and if you're willing to experimentation, then the opportunity becomes something that is really good for you. I take heart in the natural surroundings of Telkwa and beautiful Bulkley Valley.

This photo is looking west towards Roche' de Bule. Photo taken in lovely Hazelton, B.C

This is how this whole centennial quilt project is for me. Growth in bucket loads!! I'v begun to take risks that I was too scared to do even a year ago!

I entered my first competition in 2004, to the IPM & Quilt Show and won in the "Most Innovative" Category, I was very surprised and didn't quite know what to do next. After all, I'm a quiet, stay at home quilter and my husband is my best supporter! So I sat on that success of winning back in 2004 until this month.

Now, if I don't get accepted that is fine, but at least I'm trying to compete. I like to compete in things, quilt shows, badminton, skiing, you name it, I'm up for it. I've entered my 'Beach House Crazy Quilt" into the O Canada competition.

Last night, my hubby and I were driving home 4 hours from Prince George, BC and it was dark in the car. We were listening to his I-Pod music selection and I started thinking about what I was going to do after the Smithers Centennial Quilt!

Wow, what a thought! Then I remembered I hadn't posted the recent work on Sir Alfred Smithers block for the quilt. This was the start, I wasn't very happy with it and worried that it would be another failed block!

And before I share this recent success, lets step back and talk about how I fell in love with thread painting.

I was inspired by the work of Susan Carlson who wrote her gorgeous book "Serendipity Quilts" which was purchased for me by my hubby two Christmas's back. You know how it goes, you're excited by the new ideas and the work in a new quilting book, but I hesitated to leap in.

But honestly, few quilting books really grab me with the feeling of "I can't wait to try that out" kind of feeling because many great quilters in my opinion are actually devaluing their work in order to satisfy a publisher with the motive of sales being the reason why the book is written.

Susan Carlson's work is truly not buying into that kind of thinking, she has stood her ground and shared. I thank her for this and if ever I'm anywhere near this artists workshop locations, you can be sure that I'll pay to attend!

I can say that the approaches that Susan Carlson shares in her work are satisfying to the core of my creativity because while the techniques are hers, they are transferable, you blossom on your own, with the you factor securely entrenched as you go. Her work is her work and I only could bring myself to do one of her projects, to get the feel of how she has developed this awesome style and I didn't even finish it before I was off to work on Sir Alfred's block!

This is my unfinished block from her book.
Sir Alfred stairs on, hoping a praying that his portrait would give credit to  his likeness.

As time went on, it became  more of something that I needed to step back from and go onto other work on the Centennial Quilt or I was going to go stir crazy with worry that it would not do  his likeness justice!

So I went on!

I was like a virgin, cautious, afraid and uncertain!

Eventually, I'd done enough other work on the centennial quilt and suddenly it came to me, thread!

I was busy as a little ant working away in every moment I could. Thread painting does eat thread for sure and so its not very frugal, but I feel I make up for the thread use by reusing all sorts of fabrics from clothing.

And there he was, looking very much like the man in the black and white photo of him for the book loaned to me from the Town of Smithers.

So the point I make about this is that Susan got me started, gave me enough confidence to fly freely on my own. I treasure that in a leader.

So take heart, whatever new techniques you are exploring, you'll come to the happy place you want to be in the end.



  1. What a great job you have done. I also agree with what you are sensing in the quilting world.

  2. The portrait is quite amazing! I'm wondering if you always look for cotton clothing for your work?
    I have that book too. It is a good book.

    1. Hi Holly,
      Yes, I am a thrift store hound, I find that my stash is as diverse as nature. I find clothing, harvest the main areas of great quality and use the left overs every year for new mattress for my dog's house on the deck. Its a great way to recycle and create at the same time.
      Thank you for you kind comments, its good to know that others like my work. I love to share!

  3. Elle,

    Thanks for your comment. its a shame, but I think its happening. I tend to think that free expression is a rare commodity.

    Thanks for popping in!

  4. Holly,
    Yes, whenever I'm in a thrift store or at a garage sale, I'm looking for art work thrift finds. I love the ugliest fabric you can find, but also love batiks, so I use rayon, polyester, corduroy, denim regularly!


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