2020: Future in Focus Competition Winners

Download the 2020: Future in Focus Catalogue to see all the entries.

Best of Show:

UNPLUG/DISCONNECT   by  Cec Caswell

Over recent years I have been increasingly aware of the extent to which people are glued to their electronic devices at the expense of personal interaction. Slowly this awareness led me to envision a hooking that would reflect this dynamic while conveying a strong social message. With the arrival of COVID-19 one can’t deny the importance of technology. It is my hope that the art of communication in person isn’t lost.

  • Technique: strips of wool hooked as loops into linen backing, edges finished with whipstitch
  • Materials: linen backing, 100% wool fabric hand-dyed to get saturated colours, some synthetic fabric, yarn
  • Original design (76cm x 125cm), completed 2020

Needlework:

Autumn’s Glory  by  Juanita Sauve

Autumn is my favourite season; the glorious colours, the cool days, and hiking the highlands with my Cape Breton friends. During the early weeks of the COVID-19 shutdown, feeling apprehensive and uninspired, I stitched this colourful autumn piece to hold onto some hope in the midst of uncertainty. As it turns out, our annual fall hiking festival has been changed to a virtual one so this year will be a staycation walking the trails nearer my home… baby steps towards a brighter future without the fear of infection… one day and one season at a time. This piece continues to remind me to remain hopeful.

  • Techniques: Hand embroidery on cotton, matted and framed, no glass.
  • Materials: Cotton, perle cotton threads, matboard, frame
  • Original 23cm x 23cm embroidery completed in 2020.

Contemplation  by  Juanita Sauve

Years ago, during difficult times, I would sit by my favourite tree seeking quiet contemplation.  Remembering those days was the original inspiration for this piece.   Since the pandemic, I see myself today, sitting, waiting, wondering, contemplating an uncertain future.  Will the pandemic end? Will the economy rebound?  When can I sing with my friends and hug my grandson? The whole world is on hold, waiting to see what the future will bring.

  • Techniques: Hand embroidery, cotton binding, framed on stretched canvas.
  • Materials: Satin, setasilk paint, dmc floss, cotton, stretched canvas, frame
  • Original artwork (23cm x 28cm) completed in 2019

Non-woven textiles:

2020 On the Rocks  by  Diane Firth

2020 On the Rocks depicts a picture in focus of a rocky shoreline. One with a clean ecosystem, free of all plastics and litter. Our focus forward not only requires, but demands, a cleaner environment now and for future generations. This piece of art was created with all natural and renewable fibres as part of my focus on the path forward in 2020. 

  • Inspiration: the natural beauty of Canada’s coast line and shores. 
  • Materials used: Various wool and locks, raw and dyed. Merino, Corriedale, Finn X, Alpaca, Yak. Silk tencel. Threads, cotton and silk
  • Techniques: wet felting, needle felting, thread play/stitching 
  • Original 44cm x 34cm design completed in June 2020

Quilting:

Traditional:

Old Blue  by  Pat Frayn

The Laura Heine pattern, “Old Blue” inspired me to express my impending retirement through flowers. Reflected in the rear view mirror is a riot of colorful flowers reaching toward the light. This symbolizes the past demands of career and family. The gentle cascade of serene white roses as viewed through the windshield depicts the future. The central vines of the present intermingle with the past and connect the future suggesting a satisfying retirement that I imagine. 

  • Techniques: hand appliqued, beaded, hand quilted 
  • Materials: cotton, embroidery thread, seed beads 
  • Adapted with permission (128cm x 103cm); completed February 2020

Down the Rabbit Hole  by  Sandra Hamilton

No one warned me that quilting was an addictive occupation. Down the Rabbit Hole was named by my daughter, and I think the name suggests the wonders Alice found when she followed the white rabbit to Wonderland. In my case I have found wonders, adventures and friendship in my Wonderland.  

A day with friends making string blocks from scraps for charity quilts was the inspiration for this quilt. This is a more controlled approach to a popular scrappy block.

I hope my future will continue to focus on the love and satisfaction I get from my Wonderland.

  • Techniques: Machine pieced and quilted, hand embellished.
  • Original design (32cm x 32cm) completed 2020

Modern:

Eternal Recurrence  by  Deborah Giles

Paul Simon said “…the course of a lifetime runs, over and over again.” We can’t see the future clearly, but the concept of eternal recurrence, symbolized by circle motifs and shared by major philosophies and religions, ancient and modern, expresses that over an infinite period, everything recurs infinitely: microscopic, personal, historical, universal. Shared experiences of life that define the heart of the human condition have happened before and will happen again in the future. My multicolour, multi-scale, overlapping circles sitting isolated or spiralling around one another express the multilayered complexity of all that we have experienced and will experience again.

  • Techniques: multi-layer raw edge reverse applique, bobbin work
  • Materials: hand-dyed and commercial cotton and silk
  • Original design (100cm x 100cm) completed in 2020

Pipedreams: The Nightmare  by  Judy Weiss

For decades, Alberta has been a “have” province within Canada, supporting other provinces with revenues from petroleum and related resources, our largest industry. For the last several years, every attempt to get resources to viable markets has been blocked by political and environmental interests. Now, in 2020, the future looks dismal for both the industry and for Alberta’s resource-based economy. This work expresses broken relationships, broken dreams, lost income and lost hope as a result of the growing opposition to fossil fuel development.  Will our dreams of continued oil riches end in pipeline nightmares?  

  • Inspiration: Ironically, the design and title of this piece came to me in a dream.
  • Techniques: Quilting, applique. 
  • Materials: Appliqued poly-vinyl (petroleum-derived fabric) over cotton background, batting and backing. Wood stretcher bars. 
  • Original design (61cm x 92cm) completed in 2019

Correction Line  by  Judy Weiss

Until 1871,  the Canadian Prairies needed a way of dividing land that reflected the curvature of the earth, which increasingly distorts north/south boundaries lines and roadways the further north one goes. ‘Correction Lines’ were the answer. They are east/west roads that occur every four townships, halfway between Baselines. They provided an enduring solution for this unique Prairie problem. For me, Correction Lines represent the innovative, problem-solving spirit of Prairie people. They symbolize hope, that we will emerge better and stronger from today’s COVID-19 uncertainty and economic turmoil, with a renewed vision for our future. 

  • Inspiration: Seeing the land title for my maternal grandfather’s homestead plot
  • Techniques: Paper piecing technique I call Perspective Piecing, applique, quilting
  • Materials: Silk, cotton, synthetic, found and commercial fabrics. Cotton batting and backing. Wood stretchers.
  • Original design (92cm x 61cm) completed April 2019

Art:

Sailing into the Sunset  by  Janet Mireault

My future for 2020 was to be retired and travelling the world and exploring the many places I have read and heard about. This included sailing into many sunsets. I recently learned the Gloria Loughman tiling technique and had a perfect piece of batik to glorify the sky making my “Sailing into the Sunset” come to life.

  • Inspiration: I have always been inspired by the incredibly rich pink, orange and purple colours of a radiant sunset on the ocean and the silhouettes and glow that come with it. 
  • Techniques: Fabric dyeing, mosaic tiling, threadplay, free motion quilted on a domestic sewing machine
  • Materials: Cotton batik fabrics combined with hand-dyed fabrics, various threads, cotton batting
  • Original work (61cm x 47cm) completed May 2019

The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow  by  Juanita Sauve

This pandemic piece is dedicated to my grandson at a time when closeness became dangerous. I began this piece in March when ‘stay home and stay safe’ was the rule! We progressed to physically-distanced walks and backyard visits. I dream of a future where hugs are permitted, never again taking for granted the simple act of holding hands. I used a sunrise backdrop to signify new beginnings.

  • Techniques:  Quilt top – machine stitched fabric strips, appliqued figures, tulle, with batting and cotton backing on canvas.
  • Materials: Cotton fabrics, thread, tulle, felt, gallery canvas
  • Original (25cm x 25cm) quilt completed in 2020

Working from the Cloud  by  Janet Mireault

The future is bringing us a new way of storing documents and data. “Cloud” storage has become popular especially with more people working from home as it makes it easier to share. I recently was making new fabric with scraps and made a piece that became my vision for the cloud.

  • Inspiration: Using my newly made fabric, I envisioned a cloud in the sky above houses below with ribbons and beads floating about as internet signals.
  • Techniques: Making new fabric from scraps, confetti, threadplay and fancy stitches, free motion quilted on a domestic sewing machine, beadwork 
  • Materials: Cotton and batik fabrics, various threads, ribbons, beads, cotton batting
  • Original work (38cm x 42cm) completed June 2020

Hope Amid the Chaos  by  Sharon Rubiliak

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing anxiety and uncertainty around the world. While most people remain healthy and active, the perpetual turmoil during the first four months of the pandemic has created chaos in the global economy and in people’s lives. For those who are highly susceptible to this disease the impacts have been devastating, adding to the weight of suffering around the world. Throughout the catastrophe, however, there has been a strong current of hope in the unprecedented international effort to develop a vaccine in record time for the general population and treatments for those people suffering most severely.

  • Inspiration: newscasts and online research into vaccines and treatments under investigation globally
  • Techniques: Hand stenciling with artist-made and commercial stencils; fusible/machine applique, machine quilting
  • Materials: Hand-dyed and commercial cottons on top; fabric paint; fusible web; cotton flannel, batting and backing; polyester voile stabilizer; cotton and monofilament threads
  • Original design (46cm x 91cm) completed in 2020

Rug hooking:

Traditional:

UNPLUG/DISCONNECT  by  Cec Caswell

Over recent years I have been increasingly aware of the extent to which people are glued to their electronic devices at the expense of personal interaction. Slowly this awareness led me to envision a hooking that would reflect this dynamic while conveying a strong social message. With the arrival of COVID-19 one can’t deny the importance of technology. It is my hope that the art of communication in person isn’t lost.

  • Technique: strips of wool hooked as loops into linen backing, edges finished with whipstitch
  • Materials: linen backing, 100% wool fabric hand-dyed to get saturated colours, some synthetic fabric, yarn
  • Original design (76cm x 125cm), completed 2020

Words from a Woman Who Knows  by  Toby Cote

To determine what is in our future, some consult a fortune teller, a seer.  A stereotypical seer is depicted here, one you may happen upon at a country fair. Looking to see what is in our future, the seers base their knowledge on their tools: crystal balls, palmistry, tea leaves, tarot cards, potions to give them sight into our future, what is in store for us and how they interpret this vision in our future.  Even though she has seen our future, it is up to us to ultimately interpret it, act on it and make it our own! 

  • Technique: traditional rug hooking (running loop stitch with a hand-hook)
  • Materials: 100% wool,  linen primitive foundation cloth. Whipstitching in superwash merino wool, felted enclosure for hardware on back, wood lathe hanging rod.
  • Original design (46cm x 48cm) completed February 2020

Hexagon Charms  by  Laurie Wiles

The hexagon shape is found everywhere in nature. It symbolises harmony and balance, but don’t be fooled by its simplicity; the more you look, the more you see. Every hexagon leads to another, and links the future with the present and past. You need to look back to look forward, and this piece shows both positive and negative aspects. Some might see the corrupt dark spots in each hexagon, but the optimists among us will see the bright clear spots breaking through helping the shapes to maintain integrity and strength. We need to seek out the positive and see with clear eyes to move forward towards a brighter future.

  • Techniques: Traditional Rug Hooking
  • Materials: As is wool fabric (#5 cut strips) pulled through a linen background
  • Original 68cm X 86cm rug completed 2020

Innovative:

Bee Good  by  Laurie Wiles

Careful, if you don’t treat bees with respect, you might get stung! Bees help us to learn respect for smaller species and are instrumental in the food we eat. This whimsical purse is to help to remind you of the good in bees. We need to help keep balance in nature or our future will be grim indeed. This means having to make space for everything in our environment. We need to soften our focus and take in the whole planet not just our small corner of it. Look gently to the future; it is all that we have left.

Special thanks to Val Flannigan for helping me figure out how to construct this purse

  • Techniques: Traditional Rug hooking
  • Materials: Hand dyed wool (#5 cut) pulled through a linen backing; purse is lined with a sateen lining; it has a cotton strap and a zipper inserted into a hand dyed felted wool gusset.
  • Original design, 25 cm diameter with a 5cm gusset, completed 2019

The Wing of the Falcon, Brings to the King  by  Janet Dean

The Peregrine has played an important role as a sensitive and accurate barometer of environmental health. They had been endangered and on the verge of extinction due to the man-made chemical DDT but are now off the endangered list. This recovery is the future I want to come into focus for all of us – where we learn from the mistakes, challenges and hard times we are living in now and thoughtfully learn our lessons to recover into freer times.  

  • Technique: traditional rug hooking, sculpted rug hooking, felting
  • Materials: reclaimed woolen fabrics, wool yarn, leather, and beads from fast fashion
  • Original design (80cm x 100cm) completed in 2019

Sculptural works:

Make caows and shapcho  by  Madeleine Jensen-Fontaine

Experiments advance our society and shape our future. What do you get when you combine a one-off hand-knit, hand-dyed sock blank with an untested pattern invented by SkyKnit, an artificial neural network? Endless possibilities that collapse into a single object. This piece is my exploration of integrating machine learning with my love of knitting and colour. Is this the future of fiber art?

  • Inspiration: science
  • Technique: knitting
  • Materials: hand dyed cotton yarn, wire
  • Adapted 49 cm x 21 cm x 15 cm knit piece from Make caows & shapko pattern from SkyKnit by Janelle Shane (aiweirdness.com) completed in June 2020

A Helping Hand  by  Samantha Gulleckson

This felted woman shows that the future is in our hands and that we should focus our energy on caring for it. She is tenderly holding a small seedling and is sculpted from wool, in various earth tones, to show her connection to the environment. Planting a single seedling might seem insignificant at first, but with enough time and support it can grow and flourish. Taking an active role in the care and conservation of the environment today, will help to preserve the world’s beauty and diversity for future generations. 

  • Inspiration: conservation, the environment 
  • Techniques: needle felting, bead embroidery 
  • Materials: wool roving, cotton string, beads 
  • Original 25cm x 13cm x 20cm felted sculpture, completed 2020

On My Honour  by  Darcy L. Hoover

Most of my work is a personal reflection on my experience in all the roles women take on in our society. I sculpted a self portrait in my formative years, looking out at the horizon trying to see my future. The uniform is based on my Girl Guide uniform from the late 1970s, still in my possession. Badges are either badges I had, or badges created by me to represent badges I remember.

  • Techniques: Needle felting, wet felting, and stitching
  • Materials: wool roving, cotton thread, wire
  • Dimensions: base – 14cm x 16cm, piece 36cm tall
  • Original felted sculpture completed in 2020

Surface design:

Racing with My Fearless Inner Child  by  Yvonne Bilan-Wallace

Today, the world is a swirl of snow, a blank page, paused.  My hand caresses scraps of silk and cotton dyed in exotic logwood, weld and cochineal, overdyed with local sumac and aspen that now appear frozen in time.  These plants I rooted years ago, remind me that my past stretches back further than my future.  Future?  My inner child is still young. She is pulling me towards new possibilities. If our past gives 2020 hindsight, the present gives opportunities and the future a second chance to get it right…if you are willing to race with your fearless inner child.

  • Techniques: vat dyeing, eco (steam)printing,  sashiko machine stitched in raw edge Boro style. Raw edge applique, machine thread couching. Domestic machine quilted.
  • Materials: silk, cotton, linen, natural dyes, various local plants. Bamboo batting.  
  • Original design (84cm x 71cm) completed: May 2020

Ocean In A Seashell  by  Susara Smuts

Looking through this shell we see the beauty of our ocean that is hidden beneath the surface. So as humans we must learn to keep our oceans free from pollution and protect it for the generations to come.

  • Inspiration:  During my snorkelling adventure at Anse Dufour, Martinique, the coral reef was breathtaking. I took pictures of large conch shells and used them for the vision of this piece.
  • Techniques:  Painted background, hand embroidery, beading, applique, trapunto and sanding.  
  • Materials:  Cotton fabric, fabric paints, sea sand, Swarovski crystals, wooden beads, shells and various threads.
  • Original design (53.5 cm x 41 cm) completed 2020

Weaving/Tapestry:

Birth Mother  by  Fern Facette

This woven textile is an exploration of a separated family. Over the years, a birth mother searches for her daughter by publishing birthday classifieds in the newspaper. A visual expression of a hope for reunion, for the future to one day be in focus. 

  • Inspiration: a collection of family newspaper clippings 
  • Techniques: Jacquard weaving 
  • Materials: Linen weft on cotton warp 
  • Original weaving, 52 x 88 cm, completed June 2019

Sisters  by  Alison Hurlburt

Faith communities play a meaningful role in our past and present, and will continue to do so in our future. I see a faithful future where friendship between faiths, shared celebrations, and partnership in service to our community brings us together more and more. For this triptych, “Sisters”, I wove a Christian clergy stole, a hijab (Muslim head covering), and a Tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) on the same warp. This makes them ‘sister’ pieces, embodying the sisterhood of women of faith. The pieces will be used by a priest, a Rabbi, and a Muslim community leader after the show.

  • Techniques: 4-shaft on-loom weaving. Stole also used machine and hand sewing, and surface embroidery.
  • Materials: Cottolin warp, mix of cottolin and cotton weft. The Tallit also has woolen tassels called tzit tzit that were added by a local Rabbi, as this part of the Tallit must be added by a Jewish person. The stole includes canvas interfacing.
  • Finished Dimensions: Stole – 24 X 130 cm; Tallit 66 X 160 cm (excluding fringe); Hijab 66 X 234 cm. Completed June 2020.
  • Design Sources: German Birdseye weaving draft from Marguerite Porter Davison’s A Handweaver’s Pattern Book. Clergy Stole sewing pattern by Elizabeth Morgan (churchlinens.com).

Surprise “Best Coronavirus Content In Show” rosette

Hope Amid the Chaos  by  Sharon Rubiliak

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing anxiety and uncertainty around the world. While most people remain healthy and active, the perpetual turmoil during the first four months of the pandemic has created chaos in the global economy and in people’s lives. For those who are highly susceptible to this disease the impacts have been devastating, adding to the weight of suffering around the world. Throughout the catastrophe, however, there has been a strong current of hope in the unprecedented international effort to develop a vaccine in record time for the general population and treatments for those people suffering most severely.

  • Inspiration: newscasts and online research into vaccines and treatments under investigation globally
  • Techniques: Hand stenciling with artist-made and commercial stencils; fusible/machine applique, machine quilting
  • Materials: Hand-dyed and commercial cottons on top; fabric paint; fusible web; cotton flannel, batting and backing; polyester voile stabilizer; cotton and monofilament threads
  • Original design (46cm x 91cm) completed in 2020

Download the 2020: Future in Focus Catalogue to see all the entries.