Sunday, June 3, 2018

A Day With Sinead Black at Crafted Vancouver at Van Dusen Botanical Garden

What a fabulous array of contemporary and traditional craft during the May 4 - 28th Crafted Vancouver at Van Dusen Gardens! So awed by the Hand Sewn Quilting With Irish Linen workshop given by Sinead Black of Bricolage Quilts in Northern Ireland, where her design studio in Holywood, County Down brings together local Irish Linen and other cloths to create quilts and other products for the home. This involves working with small, local mills and sourcing sustainable materials, including the thread, batting and even the dyes.

Sinead brought one of her own quilts plus linen samples for the class to try. Techniques were taught and shared until everyone had a solid quilted beginning to take home and complete. This was a small quilting class community that worked together throughout the day and shared strategies, machine and hand sewing, measuring, pressing, stories of how they came to join the class, where the materials came from and ultimate plans for their pieces. This was a great lesson in community building, beginning with a common passion, making the process accessible for all learners, being flexible in terms of changing a project, sharing tools, making mistakes and getting help to fix them, demonstrating the Art of Craft. As a blogger, I enjoyed the conversations. As a photographer, I was immersed in color, texture and pattern so much that when I went on a walk through the garden, I saw quilt squares everywhere.

Sinead brought Irish Linen, which surprised me with its strength yet give. There was a colorful, floral print from Lithuania. Thrifted linen table cloths from Value Village, were cut up, and repurposed, such a fantastic use of linen and cotton, saved from the landfill. From a pile of brown material, came long strips, paired with butter yellow and a print, which, combined, made a vibrant splash. The maker, whose mother had been a professional seamstress/tailor, said that her mother, so focused on sewing for a living, missed the Art of it. I went for the day, with a friend who has sewn and crafted since I met her, in grade 1. Her mom, who was visually impaired, had learned to sew from teachers at a school for the blind. She made everything, including a fancy yellow coat, with wooden buttons, and her oldest daughter's wedding dress and all the dresses for the bridal party. So I had early experience with the world of made by hand, but have always preferred to photograph it and learn about the stories behind it. Big thanks to Sinead Black and the class! I bow to your expertise.

Everywhere I went, I saw quilt squares 

Me at the gardens


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