Friday, February 05, 2021

Fibre Art Show at the Café - Interview with Robyn Quaintance

Robyn's show runs until March 10th.  Please stop by and have a look and put a comment in the book!

Your new show just started a few days ago, how do you feel about that?

As my very first solo show, I was terrified and yet afterwards, really pleased with myself for having put my artwork and name out there. It is a big job to get ready for a show including planning and hanging it. Because I was exhibiting more than just prints on a wall, I had to work carefully with Priscilla and her staff and they allowed me to use the table for more displays.  Staging a show is a challenge in a working café, and am grateful for the help of Nettie, Joyce and Carol.

Why fibre arts?

I love working with textures, I love the feel when I spin wool, and it makes me feel good manipulating wool into felt. Bright colours and combining unlikely textures are always fun to work with.  I enjoyed learning about the different kinds of sheep and their coats.  My favourite wool to spin is Lincoln and it comes naturally in lovely silver and grey tones.  It also takes dyes very nicely. My beginning spun wool had plenty of lumps and bumps, which I always appreciated because of the texture.  I have since developed great skill in spinning and have taken up knitting as well.  I have woven lots of ‘rag’ rugs and also very fine, precise pieces, like the vest hanging in the show.  At university, I even had an opportunity to work with a computerized loom, and a large-scale production machine for handmade paper fibre.  I also experimented with dyeing silk with paper fibres and saw how the dye was taken up much stronger (and brighter) by the silk fibres.  It made a really lovely contrast that worked well together.

Why fish?

I have always enjoyed the ocean, and I kayak regularly and look for fish beneath the water.

I wanted to make something different, something whimsical, something playful, something bright with their own personalities. The mobile fish continue to intrigue me when hanging in my own space.  They always seem to have a bit of movement with the air currents and it changes the physical space where they hang because of the movement.  Some people have hung the fish from the rafters with long fishing lines, others on a short leash and still others have hung them from a triangular frame as a larger mobile and they look great in all three ways.  They are one-of-a-kind and all have fish names, which makes it more fun to view them.  

How has your use of fibre as a media progressed over time?

I spun and wove for well over 30 years, and then added making hand-made paper and felting when I went to art school.  I find fibre arts have endured a bad rap and not given the respect the art form deserves. For many years, people thought framed paintings were the most important of the art world, but fortunately, fibre arts have finally gained respect even here on Saturna!

Your art work sounds like it is taking new directions, talk about that.

I have always appreciated the character of wood grains, natural colours and love the smell of working with wood by cutting and sanding it.  All new skills take learning and experimentation, and so it is with painting on raw wood and sitting back to watch what would happen in each stage of sealing.  I find a new piece of wood has its own personality and actually suggests to me what to paint.  The preparation is quite extensive.  I have also been experimenting with water pencil crayons to create a series of large marina/boat scenes.  I have painted 3 large scale murals in my own back and front yards and looking forward to painting more external murals.  One of my neighbours has approached me to paint a mural on her garage.   

Final Thoughts?

It takes a village to raise a child and Saturna clearly demonstrates it has the resilience to roll with the punches.  But we need to remain aware and discuss the bigger issues around us.  This is my role as an artist and yet the whimsical theme of this show contradicts that, like life.      

I am challenged to think about how art interfaces with what is going on around us right now.  Rather than this period being lost to COVID ambiance, as artists, how can we interact and express the dynamic changes that are occurring outside of our little island of Saturna?  I think about how privileged I am to be healthy and living on Saturna.  I believe art needs to give clarity on the social issues of our time and stir up thoughts and difficult conversations. 

Regardless of the world problems, we always need to love and respect each other, including everyone on our island.  Thanks for giving me a voice among my fellow artists here.




Thursday, November 12, 2020

Art Saturna Group Show at the Saturna Cafe!

Art Saturna is pleased to invite you to our new exhibit at the Saturna Café from now until December 15. This group exhibition includes works by Monica Morten, Janet Strayer, Ellen Bourassa, Larry Field, Donna-Fay Digance, Jack Campbell and Pamala Page.

It's part of our active commitment to keeping the arts alive and well and open to the community during these restricted times. 

Please stop by and view the art. It's a fun thing to do... just look, or think of it as a present before the holidays (one the works has already sold).

Here are some photos of the show captured from facebook.



Friday, October 23, 2020

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Just in time for Halloween...although not really made with that in mind.  These are two linocuts made this fall 2020 based on a show of Chagall's theatre costumes I saw in Montreal a couple years ago.  I was so impressed with his fantasy hybrids, come to life from his paintings, in the form of hand painted and crafted costumes.  These linoprints, plus ten others , all conservation matted and ready to frame, are available on my KamiArtCA site on Etsy. 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Stir In Some Pleasure: New Series of Art Shows at Saturna Café

 Our times in the midst of the Covid pandemic continue to be challenging, to say the least. To add a little bit of solace, interest, and pleasure for all to enjoy, some of the many talented artists on Saturna Island have organized a series of art shows to adorn the Saturna Café.


As you come to the General Store and Café, watch for a steady stream of engaging new paintings, photos and artwork. Created and curated by Art Saturna members for the community here, a series of different shows will be on the walls for six weeks each. The series of shows promises lots of interesting new vistas for you.

The show that just ended, by Dona Faye Digance, displayed her magical textile-paintings, very Saturna-inspired. Donna’s studio is open on Saturna, like those of most of the participating artists.


The current show (until last week of September) by Janet Strayer is called Fins and Wings and Scaly Things. Aptly enough it takes us through water, land, and air to find the little creatures and growing things that live within them and amidst us. It’s full of eye-openers and some delightful surprises.

The following show (through October), presented by Carole Keene, will display Jack Campbell’s wonderful paintings. After that, we’ll see a variety of artworks that will all add a bit of pleasure to our lives: by local painters and photographers like Karen Muntean, Gaye Oreskovic, Neysa Weins, Nettie Adams, Andrée Fredette, Pamala Page, and Larry Fields (there may be others, too.)

So, when shopping at our General Store, be sure to stop by the Café, a fine spot on its own. Plus, now, with even more reason to lift your spirits, there will be a steady stream of art to enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Spring in Strange Times

photo by JS, Saturna Island 
Even in these unsettled times of the Covid-19  pandemic, signs of spring and art continue on Saturna Island. The requirements of isolation and social distancing seem a bit less harsh here on this island that has always had plenty of room for individuals and different lifestyles. Though the health-related concerns and effects on work, social exchange, travel, and morale affect us all, taking things a day at a time and valuing this day is one approach to a difficult situation.

As a painter, walking to my studio each day and working on art projects continues to be my routine adventure. No one to come see them now, but the work itself is engaging. And I guess the truth that a painter just needs to paint carries its own momentum. Public exhibits in Vancouver, where I often have paintings in a show, have been cancelled. Of course the internet continues as display and interaction substitute venue. But I get rather tired of it and its overload.

So, let me post this affirming picture of spring coming to bloom on Saturna. This wild currant bush greets me on my walk to the studio each morning, as does the buzzing of surrounding bees. I'm reminded there's something to accomplish and that spring happens, whether you choose to notice it or not.

Stay well and good wishes,
Janet  Strayer

Monday, March 16, 2020

Art Saturna Artist Interview: Pamala Page

Pamala Page is an artist who has worked in many mediums and is currently enjoying working with textiles. I met her in her home which sits atop a hill where she and her husband Larry enjoy a beautiful view of Tumbo Channel. 

How did you come to live on Saturna?

My husband’s sister, Leigh Field, lives here and we have been coming to visit her for a few years now. In August of 2018, before boarding the ferry, we stopped by Dockside Realty, saw a listing for Tumbo Channel Road, and within a few days we had an accepted offer. Our condo in Courtenay sold quickly. We are thrilled to have this acre of land with an ocean view. 

Tell me about yourself and your art.
I’ve always been a creative person. When I was a young child, I was often writing and collecting things such as feathers, pebbles, shells and any other detritus that looked interesting. When I married and had children, I continued knitting, crocheting, ceramics, sewing, and making pottery. It was important for me to have a creative outlet and time away from the demands of parenting. Twelve years ago, when we went to Mexico I became serious about my art and began making and exhibiting sea glass jewelry which sold very quickly. I became known as the 'Sea Glass Lady.'  Doing the same thing over and over bores me so I explore different mediums. Currently, I am really loving working with fibre and texture as it seems to bring together so many mediums that I work in, such as machine embroidery, quilting, fabric books, and many others. 

How did you become an artist?
I am completely self-taught. I had always dabbled in the arts but during my professional life it fell to the wayside. I was too busy. Now that my husband (Larry) and I are retired we have the time to dedicate to our art. After all the art work we have done in Mexico, we feel comfortable calling ourselves artists. 

What is your inspiration?
I’m a collector of anything in nature. I always bring home stuff in my pocket. Nature inspires me, so living here has been a great inspiration. Walking the trails, listening to the birds, and beach combing -  that is when I am at peace. 

What are you working on now?
What I would really like right now is a studio! (Laughs) We’ve been so busy with visitors since we moved here, plus we put in a huge garden, and are currently in the middle of a renovation, so there hasn’t been much time for art-making.  Most of my textiles and fibre supplies are still in storage as we renovate so I am working on more manageable projects like knitting and spinning. I am also making mixed media journals using fabric, stitching, and watercolour paper. I am also making little houses using left over fabric. 

Tell me about a piece of your work that you are really happy with and why. 
This elephant quilt reminds me of the time that we spent in Uganda.  It was such a life-changing experience and I was filled with ideas and inspiration. During our time in Uganda, we spent a day with an instructor creating dyed fabrics using many different techniques. The cloth was made into a piece of clothing for each of us and I asked for the leftover fabric which I brought home with me.  The elephant is made from left over pieces of dyed cloth and is a constant memory of our time in Africa. 

What’s the best thing about living on Saturna?
Oh my, it is a long list as there are so many things!  We love the quiet serenity of our little piece of Saturna and at night it is very dark and the sky is filled with stars. We are visited by deer who roam freely on our property. We have feeders for the Hummingbirds, Chic-a-dees, Northern Flickers, Towhees, Juncos, Woodpeckers and any other bird who stops by for a snack. Each day we watch the soaring Eagles and hear the cry of the Raven. The island is rugged and untouched as much of it is parkland. The community is small but connected with locals always reaching out to help others. Slowly we are meeting our neighbours and learning their stories.

Anything you would like to add?
I would like to thank you, Monica for the interview.  

You can see more of Pamala’s work at The Fibre Network:

Interview by Monica Morten