Fabulous in Fibre

Three Peace Area Artists
By Wendy StefanssonGeorge Henn, Where Hope Meets Help, tapestry

George Henn

George Henn became interested in weaving while on a trip to the American southwest. There he saw Navajo people using their simple, portable looms to create traditional blankets. When he returned home, he went out into the bush near his Beaverlodge home, cut down some dried trees, and built his own Navajo-style loom. Since that time, he has taught himself to weave increasingly complex works.

George makes textiles, but primarily he makes tapestries. Tapestries were originally a medium for telling stories, George says; like a comic strip today. They were a sequence of pictures depicting a religious or historical event. People in less literate “Weaving mostly communicates a message.”

George’s Where Hope Meets Help tapestry is a case in point. Handicapped people occupy the foreground beneath the peaked-roof logo of the Family and Community Support Services, for whom the piece was made. Above that are two swans in flight, representing the City of Grande Prairie; and a cluster of buildings representing the idea of a prairie community, a grain elevator, a church, and a log home. Higher still is a tilled prairie landscape backed by mountains and sky. George says the whole piece represents the idea that communities used to do for their members what the FCSS does now.

George admits that “weaving is a solitary pursuit,” but it’s clear that he likes this aspect of it. And although he works alone, through his craft he is participating in a larger conversation. Like the tapestries of old, George’s tapestries tell stories.

Susan Loland, Radiant Christmas, quilting/hand-painted

Susan Loland

Susan Loland feels that her whole life has been leading up to this moment. When Susan first got into quilting about 12 years ago, she did traditional piecework quilts, then moved on to appliqué techniques. Some of her best-loved works in this medium feature a “stained glass” style, with bold outlines and simple, organic shapes. Because these quilts were so popular, Susan taught herself to use design and quilting software to reproduce and share her patterns. Most recently, she learned to paint her own fabrics, giving her latest quilts a delicate, painterly quality. They have the washy look of watercolours, rather than the collaged look of quilts made with found fabrics.

Susan also loves teaching quilting. She sees teaching as an opportunity to support and encourage women in their struggles in life. She shares with them not only her successes, but also her false starts and her challenges, which are all a part of the process. She encourages them to keep working through the difficulties to reach their goals.

“I know that’s what God has for me to do,” she says; “to encourage women and support them through whatever they’re going through. And I get to use all the extra goodies He gave me to do it.”

Susan teaches out of the Patchwork Cottage in Grande Prairie, as well as in several locations in the Okanagan Valley. Her designs and her teaching schedules can be found on her website at www.blackeyedsusandesigns.com.

Sarah Alford, Millefiori Tapestry, hot glue

Sarah Alford

Sarah Alford’s work is not what you typically think of as fibre art. Her background is in jewellery-making; her materials are various. Her techniques include drawing, wrapping, leafing, and papering. Her context is often the landscape outside her home.

When she first arrived in the Peace Country, Sarah was amazed by all the miles of barbed-wire fences. She felt that, like a wedding ring, a fence says “I belong to somebody.” It’s a “promise to tend and nurture.” Sarah wrapped gold wire around sections of fence to give visible form to this idea.

Later, likening the white picket fence around her house in Demmitt to “a dress for the yard,” Sarah took reproduction William Morris wallpaper, and began papering it. The paper, with its repeating floral motif, was like a textile or a tapestry. It was Morris’ attempt to bring natural shapes and subjects into the home, but Sarah has reintroduced it to the outdoors. The place where the handmade and the natural meet, is a place of creative tension and possibility for Sarah.

In another recent work, Millefiori Tapestry, Sarah recreated the repeating patterns of lace, drawing them with hot glue. Piecing together many panels of this glue work, she created a 16 foot long “fabric,” which she took outside and installed along an existing barbed-wire fence. She photographed the piece in all seasons and conditions: embellished by spiders’ webs in the summer, and hoar frost in the fall. Like a lace curtain hung out on the line to dry and never taken in, it became a part of Sarah’s landscape. “It made me think about how people use craft and art and lacemaking, and it was sort of the beginning of the idea of making ourselves at home in the world.” Sarah sees us taking a wilderness that is so foreign and projecting ourselves into it. “We turn it into all these human stories, into a place where we recognize everything.” Sarah is currently working on her Master of Arts in Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


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Twenty years after the Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art, watercolour and landscape still reign supreme with these former students.

By Eileen Coristine http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/bernice-trider-summer.jpg" title="Bernice Trider, Summer from Seasons of the Peace Series" alt="Bernice Trider, Summer from Seasons of the Peace Series" align="right" height="199" width="275" />

Bernice Trider

“You didn’t know there was so much art going on in Fairview back then did you?” Bernice asks, referring not only to the Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art, but also to three-day Peace Art Festivals and university credit courses that she took part in during the 1980s.“The Landscape School was great, really intense,” Bernice says. “I wished I was staying at the college instead of at home so I could have been totally focussed on it.” She loved the field trips to Whitelaw, Sand Lake and other local spots. Those locations inspired many paintings. One of those paintings, of Cliff Paul’s farm, won her the Peace Watercolour Society “On the Spot Painting Award.”Bernice began painting in 1969, returning to her childhood love of art. “At school I couldn’t wait for Friday afternoon art classes,” she remembers. “Once, after my children were a bit bigger, I saw a local art show in all the store windows in Fairview. I was enthralled. I haven’t missed a possible workshop since.”Oils were the starting point for Bernice’s painting career, but that all changed after a 1980 course by Robert Guest. “I fell in love with watercolour because I liked what I did,” she explains. “My work was now so much more soft and subtle.”Bernice is an avid art student who does a lot of research and reading. “I would have liked to have gone to college and learned design,” she says. Still a very active painter, Bernice is currently toying with the idea of watercolour portraits. Although a different subject, portraiture is consistent with her style, which she describes as realistic.Clearly Bernice has enjoyed her times of learning and painting in the Peace. “I’ve hada great time,” she tells me, her smile the picture of pleasures recalled.http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/bernice-trider-summer.jpg" title="Greg Jones, Harold's Murcury. Photo by Ziggy's, Fairview" alt="Greg Jones, Harold's Murcury. Photo by Ziggy's, Fairview" align="left" height="331" width="225" />

Greg Jones

“My mother put a set of paints in front of me when I was nineteen and convalescing from a motorcycle accident,” says Fairview painter Greg Jones. “That’s how I started.”Greg then began taking local workshops and the credit courses that were held at Fairview College through Grande Prairie Regional College. Teachers like Jim Adrain and Robert Guest were very encouraging and helpful. “Those classes were filled mainly with older ladies, many of whom became good friends,” Greg remembers. Since then many of those ladies have attended workshops by Greg and are always asking for more.In 1984 and ‘85 he attended Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art. Greg spent many hours in the field with the instructors. “I really latched onto Laine Dahlen’s way of painting,” says Greg.Greg had taken some drawing classes from fellow Summerschool student Doris Reynolds, but it wasn’t until later that he really appreciated the influence that she had had on him. “After I came back from art school, I recognized Doris’ talent. It was a great influence to see this in a local person.”While doing further studies at Red Deer College, Victoria College of Art and Alberta College of Art and Design, Greg tried out many materials and genres, but has always returned to what he calls his "minimalist landscapes" in watercolours. "I'm not sure where that came from, but people really respond to them because they are stark, like a relief."An event that resulted from the Summerschool had a huge impact on Greg's future. "Fairview College bought a piece of mine and tucked it away in the president's office. One month later I saw it, in the same room as their A.Y Jackson. That inspired me so much."Greg now resides near Calgary but visits Fairview every month. He says he is planning more workshops for his old friends from the Peace.http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/bernice-trider-summer.jpg" alt="Doris Reynolds, Russian Orthodox Church at Hines Creek, pen and ink" align="right" height="219" width="275" />

Doris Reynolds

"I paint what I see," says Doris. "I've never done abstracts. My favourite subjects are landscapes, and the Peace Valley and Mountain Parks provide never-ending inspiration for my work."Doris was directly involved as a planner of the Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art throughout the four years in which it ran. "The courses ran ten days, started with a show and sale by the instructors and ended with a show and sale by the students, both at Fairview Fine Arts Centre," she remembers. "The school's main emphasis was to work directly from nature when possible."Although the instruction by such accomplished artists as Robert Guest, Euphemia McNaught, Laine Dahlen and Inez Demuynck inspired and motivated her, Doris was already an established local artist and instructor in her own right. She remembers: "My mother was artistic and we always had paper and pencils." To this day, Doris says, "I like to make detailed sketches. My sketch pad and pencils are always part of my gear, wherever I travel."Doris began painting by teaching herself to use oils. That inspired her to go to classes, where she met Robert Guest and Jim Adrain. "They encouraged me to try watercolours, and I tried but struggled. I couldn't switch until I took two weeks just playing. Then I sort of got the hang of it." Doris had soon left oils behind and begun using watercolours or pen and ink for her realistic, detailed work.This past summer Doris painted enthusiastically and framed half a dozen new works, following a field trip to Buffalo Lakes with other Peace Watercolour Society members.
11 years ago

Twenty years after the Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art, watercolour and landscape still reign supreme with these former students.

By Eileen Coristine http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/bernice-trider-summer.jpg" title="Bernice Trider, Summer from Seasons of the Peace Series" alt="Bernice Trider, Summer from Seasons of the Peace Series" align="right" height="199" width="275" />

Bernice Trider

“You didn’t know there was so much art going on in Fairview back then did you?” Bernice asks, referring not only to the Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art, but also to three-day Peace Art Festivals and university credit courses that she took part in during the 1980s.“The Landscape School was great, really intense,” Bernice says. “I wished I was staying at the college instead of at home so I could have been totally focussed on it.” She loved the field trips to Whitelaw, Sand Lake and other local spots. Those locations inspired many paintings. One of those paintings, of Cliff Paul’s farm, won her the Peace Watercolour Society “On the Spot Painting Award.”Bernice began painting in 1969, returning to her childhood love of art. “At school I couldn’t wait for Friday afternoon art classes,” she remembers. “Once, after my children were a bit bigger, I saw a local art show in all the store windows in Fairview. I was enthralled. I haven’t missed a possible workshop since.”Oils were the starting point for Bernice’s painting career, but that all changed after a 1980 course by Robert Guest. “I fell in love with watercolour because I liked what I did,” she explains. “My work was now so much more soft and subtle.”Bernice is an avid art student who does a lot of research and reading. “I would have liked to have gone to college and learned design,” she says. Still a very active painter, Bernice is currently toying with the idea of watercolour portraits. Although a different subject, portraiture is consistent with her style, which she describes as realistic.Clearly Bernice has enjoyed her times of learning and painting in the Peace. “I’ve hada great time,” she tells me, her smile the picture of pleasures recalled.http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/bernice-trider-summer.jpg" title="Greg Jones, Harold's Murcury. Photo by Ziggy's, Fairview" alt="Greg Jones, Harold's Murcury. Photo by Ziggy's, Fairview" align="left" height="331" width="225" />

Greg Jones

“My mother put a set of paints in front of me when I was nineteen and convalescing from a motorcycle accident,” says Fairview painter Greg Jones. “That’s how I started.”Greg then began taking local workshops and the credit courses that were held at Fairview College through Grande Prairie Regional College. Teachers like Jim Adrain and Robert Guest were very encouraging and helpful. “Those classes were filled mainly with older ladies, many of whom became good friends,” Greg remembers. Since then many of those ladies have attended workshops by Greg and are always asking for more.In 1984 and ‘85 he attended Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art. Greg spent many hours in the field with the instructors. “I really latched onto Laine Dahlen’s way of painting,” says Greg.Greg had taken some drawing classes from fellow Summerschool student Doris Reynolds, but it wasn’t until later that he really appreciated the influence that she had had on him. “After I came back from art school, I recognized Doris’ talent. It was a great influence to see this in a local person.”While doing further studies at Red Deer College, Victoria College of Art and Alberta College of Art and Design, Greg tried out many materials and genres, but has always returned to what he calls his "minimalist landscapes" in watercolours. "I'm not sure where that came from, but people really respond to them because they are stark, like a relief."An event that resulted from the Summerschool had a huge impact on Greg's future. "Fairview College bought a piece of mine and tucked it away in the president's office. One month later I saw it, in the same room as their A.Y Jackson. That inspired me so much."Greg now resides near Calgary but visits Fairview every month. He says he is planning more workshops for his old friends from the Peace.http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/bernice-trider-summer.jpg" alt="Doris Reynolds, Russian Orthodox Church at Hines Creek, pen and ink" align="right" height="219" width="275" />

Doris Reynolds

"I paint what I see," says Doris. "I've never done abstracts. My favourite subjects are landscapes, and the Peace Valley and Mountain Parks provide never-ending inspiration for my work."Doris was directly involved as a planner of the Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art throughout the four years in which it ran. "The courses ran ten days, started with a show and sale by the instructors and ended with a show and sale by the students, both at Fairview Fine Arts Centre," she remembers. "The school's main emphasis was to work directly from nature when possible."Although the instruction by such accomplished artists as Robert Guest, Euphemia McNaught, Laine Dahlen and Inez Demuynck inspired and motivated her, Doris was already an established local artist and instructor in her own right. She remembers: "My mother was artistic and we always had paper and pencils." To this day, Doris says, "I like to make detailed sketches. My sketch pad and pencils are always part of my gear, wherever I travel."Doris began painting by teaching herself to use oils. That inspired her to go to classes, where she met Robert Guest and Jim Adrain. "They encouraged me to try watercolours, and I tried but struggled. I couldn't switch until I took two weeks just playing. Then I sort of got the hang of it." Doris had soon left oils behind and begun using watercolours or pen and ink for her realistic, detailed work.This past summer Doris painted enthusiastically and framed half a dozen new works, following a field trip to Buffalo Lakes with other Peace Watercolour Society members.
11 years ago

Twenty years after the Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art, watercolour and landscape still reign supreme with these former students.

By Eileen Coristine http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/bernice-trider-summer.jpg" title="Bernice Trider, Summer from Seasons of the Peace Series" alt="Bernice Trider, Summer from Seasons of the Peace Series" align="right" height="199" width="275" />

Bernice Trider

“You didn’t know there was so much art going on in Fairview back then did you?” Bernice asks, referring not only to the Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art, but also to three-day Peace Art Festivals and university credit courses that she took part in during the 1980s.“The Landscape School was great, really intense,” Bernice says. “I wished I was staying at the college instead of at home so I could have been totally focussed on it.” She loved the field trips to Whitelaw, Sand Lake and other local spots. Those locations inspired many paintings. One of those paintings, of Cliff Paul’s farm, won her the Peace Watercolour Society “On the Spot Painting Award.”Bernice began painting in 1969, returning to her childhood love of art. “At school I couldn’t wait for Friday afternoon art classes,” she remembers. “Once, after my children were a bit bigger, I saw a local art show in all the store windows in Fairview. I was enthralled. I haven’t missed a possible workshop since.”Oils were the starting point for Bernice’s painting career, but that all changed after a 1980 course by Robert Guest. “I fell in love with watercolour because I liked what I did,” she explains. “My work was now so much more soft and subtle.”Bernice is an avid art student who does a lot of research and reading. “I would have liked to have gone to college and learned design,” she says. Still a very active painter, Bernice is currently toying with the idea of watercolour portraits. Although a different subject, portraiture is consistent with her style, which she describes as realistic.Clearly Bernice has enjoyed her times of learning and painting in the Peace. “I’ve hada great time,” she tells me, her smile the picture of pleasures recalled.http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/bernice-trider-summer.jpg" title="Greg Jones, Harold's Murcury. Photo by Ziggy's, Fairview" alt="Greg Jones, Harold's Murcury. Photo by Ziggy's, Fairview" align="left" height="331" width="225" />

Greg Jones

“My mother put a set of paints in front of me when I was nineteen and convalescing from a motorcycle accident,” says Fairview painter Greg Jones. “That’s how I started.”Greg then began taking local workshops and the credit courses that were held at Fairview College through Grande Prairie Regional College. Teachers like Jim Adrain and Robert Guest were very encouraging and helpful. “Those classes were filled mainly with older ladies, many of whom became good friends,” Greg remembers. Since then many of those ladies have attended workshops by Greg and are always asking for more.In 1984 and ‘85 he attended Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art. Greg spent many hours in the field with the instructors. “I really latched onto Laine Dahlen’s way of painting,” says Greg.Greg had taken some drawing classes from fellow Summerschool student Doris Reynolds, but it wasn’t until later that he really appreciated the influence that she had had on him. “After I came back from art school, I recognized Doris’ talent. It was a great influence to see this in a local person.”While doing further studies at Red Deer College, Victoria College of Art and Alberta College of Art and Design, Greg tried out many materials and genres, but has always returned to what he calls his "minimalist landscapes" in watercolours. "I'm not sure where that came from, but people really respond to them because they are stark, like a relief."An event that resulted from the Summerschool had a huge impact on Greg's future. "Fairview College bought a piece of mine and tucked it away in the president's office. One month later I saw it, in the same room as their A.Y Jackson. That inspired me so much."Greg now resides near Calgary but visits Fairview every month. He says he is planning more workshops for his old friends from the Peace.http://www.artofthepeace.ca/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/bernice-trider-summer.jpg" alt="Doris Reynolds, Russian Orthodox Church at Hines Creek, pen and ink" align="right" height="219" width="275" />

Doris Reynolds

"I paint what I see," says Doris. "I've never done abstracts. My favourite subjects are landscapes, and the Peace Valley and Mountain Parks provide never-ending inspiration for my work."Doris was directly involved as a planner of the Peace Summerschool of Landscape Art throughout the four years in which it ran. "The courses ran ten days, started with a show and sale by the instructors and ended with a show and sale by the students, both at Fairview Fine Arts Centre," she remembers. "The school's main emphasis was to work directly from nature when possible."Although the instruction by such accomplished artists as Robert Guest, Euphemia McNaught, Laine Dahlen and Inez Demuynck inspired and motivated her, Doris was already an established local artist and instructor in her own right. She remembers: "My mother was artistic and we always had paper and pencils." To this day, Doris says, "I like to make detailed sketches. My sketch pad and pencils are always part of my gear, wherever I travel."Doris began painting by teaching herself to use oils. That inspired her to go to classes, where she met Robert Guest and Jim Adrain. "They encouraged me to try watercolours, and I tried but struggled. I couldn't switch until I took two weeks just playing. Then I sort of got the hang of it." Doris had soon left oils behind and begun using watercolours or pen and ink for her realistic, detailed work.This past summer Doris painted enthusiastically and framed half a dozen new works, following a field trip to Buffalo Lakes with other Peace Watercolour Society members.
11 years ago