Saturday, November 13, 2021

Art Goes LIVE on Saturna this December!

Come celebrate the creative life on Saturna this December. After too long a time apart, let's come together to enjoy the art and creativity in our community. ArtSaturna artists invite you to join us at the Saturna Café on Saturday, December 4, for the opening night of our group show. The reception (with cash bar) is from 5-6 pm, followed by a great dinner prepared by Hubertus. The cost for the dinner is $31.50 per person and should be reserved at the café. Please bring your vaccination passport to this event. Looking forward to enjoying each other's company at the reception and hoping you all enjoy our art exhibition.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Check out some art!

Saturna artists invite you to have a look at their work online or in person. Some studios are open this summer, usually by appointment. Come and see what we've been doing over the last year of isolation... Keep an eye out for our brochure, which is available at the store and at various studios. Below, an online version.

ArtSaturna members present their work 2021

ArtSaturna members present their work 2021

Monday, March 08, 2021

SATURNA CAFE ART SHOW - Interview with Donna-Fay Digance



Saturna Dreamscapes - March 10 - April 15, 2021
Interview with Donna-Fay Digance
by Monica Morten

Tell me about yourself and your art. 

I have a B.Ed. in Art Education from the University of Alberta and a M.Ed. in Art Education from the University of British Columbia. I have also taken summer courses at Emily Carr in viscosity etching and paper-making. Maiwa courses were a great resource for learning to dye fabric, silk painting and batik. I taught for three years and then moved to London, England to do an extra year’s study at Goldsmith’s College, University of London where I met my husband, Leonard We opened a pottery studio in an historic coach house across from Greenwich Park. Our son, Avrom was born two years later. When he was 11 months old, my mother had moved to Vancouver and persuaded us to return to Canada, because of all the ‘opportunities for artists.’ Hah!  So I began teaching again and had absolutely no time or energy for my art. Twelve years later I enrolled in an art class at UBC with a wonderful  artist, Dick Bond, and those early skills came back, better than ever.

Now I exhibit with professional fibre art organizations: Studio Art Quilts Association, Fibre Art Network, Surface Design Association and Vancouver Island Surface Design Association.

How did you come to Saturna?

When I took early retirement, we wanted to open a B&B on the Gulf Islands as Len had completed his chef’s training and hospitality courses. That way we could also have our art studios to use in the off-season. Saturna was the island that resonated most. We planned to find a fixer-upper but nothing was available, so instead of following sage advice to downsize, we built our six bedroom, five bathroom B&B home. Now really being retired, we wondered what on earth we were thinking.

What's the best thing about living here?

The best things about living here are of course the people, the incredible scenery, the peace and quiet, and now in the midst of a pandemic, the safety.

Where do you get your inspiration?  What inspires you?

My early work always featured the human figure as I had attended my first life drawing class when I was in high school. I did a series of etchings, “Masked Dancers”, which used a theme of transformation juxtaposing combinations of animal and human forms which I called “Dreamscapes.”

Since we moved to Saturna full time in 1996, the pristine environment has me now creating landscapes from my imagination, but the iconic Arbutus trees now move and sway like my early dancers.

How did you become an artist?

I was raised by a single mother, at least between two marriages, who always bought me quality art materials because she knew I’d keep myself busy for hours. We returned from San Francisco, after many moves, to Vegreville, Alberta so my step-father could manage my grandfather’s hotel. I enrolled in an adult art class, at age 11, where, Laura Reid, a well-known Alberta artist, encouraged my foray into art creating watercolour landscapes. 

Why did you choose fabric for your art?

My early training was in drawing and painting. I then explored etching, and intaglio printing using different grounds, zinc plates, solvent and nitric acid. I used to work towards a summer show each year, of my etchings, at Dundarave Print Co-op on Granville Island. I certainly didn’t want to use those toxic materials on Saturna, so when an opportunity to learn quilting with Lynne Piper arose, it seemed a perfect opportunity to explore fabric. I was terrible at trying to do precise piecing so it was more rewarding to transition to my own images. There are so many processes to use with fabric: appliqué, dyeing, piecing, batik, painting, hand embroidery and endless variations of machine stitching. I especially like the freedom from rules so one can keep experimenting and exploring possibilities. I still have my etching press though, so maybe someday I’ll use it with fabric.

What projects are you working on/looking forward to?

I look forward to working on larger original art quilts based on themes set by juried shows.

Tell me about a piece that you are really happy with and why. 

I’m pleased with my latest painted silk art quilt, 20” x 34,” that has three layers: a painted top, batting and a silk design backing. I used free motion machine stitching through the three layers which adds to the depth and texture of this Saturna inspired landscape.

Tell me about your show and one piece in particular. 

For my March Saturna Cafe Show, “Saturna Dreamscapes”,  textile pieces  are mounted on black stretched canvas. I’m really pleased with the small version of the Parks Canada Saturna Field Office Triptych. The original is three art quilts, each 27’’x 60”, but this new piece has all three images reduced in size to 20”x 16.”  I’ve been experimenting with having my original designs professionally printed on different types of fabric, and in different sizes, modifying with paint and stitch to create new pieces.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I miss the opportunities to sell my work directly at the summer and Christmas markets and directly in my studio but my Facebook page, Saturna Dreamscapes Studio and my new website:, designed by , Avrom Digance, have provided some new opportunities.

Excerpts from ‘Art in Stitches’ by Cherie Thiessen,  Aqua, Gulf Islands Living, Volume 12

When you take a classically and extensively trained artist with a sense of adventure and a zest for experimentation and put her on a small island where there are few distractions but copious natural beauty and serenity maybe this is what you get: riveting fabric multi-media collages that look remarkably like traditional canvases but are three dimensional and tactile.  To bring her canvases to life, the artist uses a variety of  fabrics combined with drawing, painting, batik and textile dyeing, enhanced with machine and hand embroidery

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.