Last Wednesday evening I attended a trunk show and presentation by Vancouver quilt artist, Catherine Nicholls. This took place at a favorite local shop, Out of Hand, where there is a most incredible selection of supplies for people who love to stitch. It was an enjoyable evening with a surprising outcome. I was delighted to run into my friend, Lorraine, as we haven’t seen each other for quite a while. Due to circumstances beyond her control, Lorraine was unable to attend the upcoming 4 day workshop which she had registered for. She offered me her spot.

The workshop called “exploring the natural world with Catherine Nicholls.” The course description read as follows: “Using the natural world as our inspiration, we will experiment on fabric to re-create and interpret nature’s wide range of textures and colours. For the first two days we will explore the use of ink, paint, crayon and discharge in a variety of techniques creating samples and generating ideas. Students will then be guided through the process of developing their own original composition, pattern and fibre art masterpiece.” Here’s a photo of Catherine at the trunk show and details from 2 of her pieces.

trunk show presentation by Catherine Nichollsquilt detail - Catherine Nichollsnest quilt detail - Catherine Nicholls
I hesitated about attending the workshop as I have a lot on my plate now. My silk screen class wraps up in a couple of weeks. I’m busy working on blocks for 6 new quilts and I need to find some time to get to my print studio. But I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from a visiting instructor, so I said yes to Lorraine’s offer. I had to juggle my schedule a bit, but figured I could make most of the class.

The first 2 days were packed with numerous techniques using inks, paints, colored pencils, crayons, paint sticks and bleach to alter the surface of our fabrics. It was great gaining exposure to some materials I’d never worked with. Photos below show black fabric masked with a stencil, then what it looks like after being sprayed with bleach, and the result after the bleach is rinsed out. Removing the dye from the fabric with bleach is a discharge technique. This was much better than when it happens accidentally in the laundry!

star stencil star sprayed with bleach finished square

The next 2 days were spent developing a quilt design based on photos from nature. I didn’t develop a design. I worked on homework for my silk screen class, listened to teaching segments and tried not to be disruptive. Catherine showed us her method of free motion machine quilting, how to apply a beautiful  binding to the quilt edges and how to add an exhibition sleeve for hanging quilts professionally. You can see more of Catherine’s work on her website.

freehand quilting cutting to square

The very best part of the class was getting to know some of the other women taking the class. It’s always fun to find kindred spirits, and even better when you find that they live close by! Thanks, Lorraine. We need to get together so I can tell you ALL about it!

2 thoughts

  1. I’ m glad you enjoyed the class. It sounds like it was fabulous. It will marry well with your silkscreening. You definitely owe me a play date


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