Saturday, January 28, 2012

Meet Diane Shink - Collector and Appraiser

Let’s start by talking about your new book. Please tell us what it’s about and how you chose this topic?

I am a textile junkie and started collecting aprons to use for repairing quilts when I was in the quilt restoration business. In 2001 I had an exhibit of my star quilt collection scheduled for Mississippi valley textile museum in Almont, just outside of Ottawa. They gave me the large gallery, a huge warehouse and at that time I did not have enough quilts to fill it so I remembered seeing a display of aprons at the Waterloo Quilt Festival so decided to use aprons to fill in the spaces. Check out to see the original apron exhibit. I counted the aprons in my home and already had 50 so visited second hand stores and church bazaars and increased my collection to 200. At that time I paid .50 cents an apron and had a selection, today I am lucky if the stores have one or two and usually pay 3.99. I have always been drawn to fancy needlework and fine fabrics so on occasion I have paid as much as $65 for a fancy apron with Provenance.

I decided to write a book because I will be doing a lecture as part of the Kitchen party dinner at Quilt Canada in Halifax on May 30 and I wanted something with images of my aprons I still plan to write a larger book and have the outline and chapters, but need to find the time and hopefully a Canadian Publisher.

Can you tell us about your background and interest in fabrics and textiles?
I am a native of Nova Scotia so grew up surrounded by quilts. I had a great childhood free to run and plays some of those memories are recounted in the aprons boo. My neighbours taught me to knit and quilt, I think my mother did embroidery with me. I started sewing when my mother got a Singer featherweight in the early 1950’s and loved Home Economics in High school, which I went on to study in University. I made my own clothes until the 1980’s and still indulge in occasionally making jackets and scarves. Most of the spare time I have today is spent making quilts. I do machine quilting but always have a project on the go with hand quilting.

You are also a certified quilt and textile appraiser, what does that involve?
I studied for many years and “flapped hundreds of antique quilts” to get to know the patterns names, how to evaluate workmanship etc. My Home Economics studies in Textiles and Clothing and experience as a clothing construction teacher also helped. I visited scores of museums, apprenticed with a local appraiser and made many trips to AQS in Paducah for courses and workshops. I also attended the Vermont Quilt festival for 10 years when teachers such as Barbara Brackman were regulars and where there are always exceptional antique quilts on display. The testing by peers is rigorous and I am pleased to say that in 2000 I was the first Canadian born appraiser to be certified by AQS where the failure rate is 60 %. Only a small percentage of applicants are chosen to be tested. I will be submitting a report for my fourth re-certification in June2012. I travel to seminars and conferences all over North America and the best weekend of the year for me is when the AQSG quilt lovers meet somewhere in the USA.

Why would I need to have my quilts appraised? It is important to have your quilt appraised so you have a monetary value to use with Insurance companies. In case of loss or damage quilts are considered to be blankets unless you have a written appraisal to attest to their value. I also appraise quilts being used a gifts so the recipient will be aware of the value. In some cases my expertise has been enlisted to make an equitable division of property, in estates and divorce settlements. I also do Market value appraisals when makers want to sell their quilts and need a regional value. Market Value is also used to determine Donation value for quilts being donated to museums and fund raising events.

Where else can I read more of your writing?
I have been writing the Yesterday Quilts Column four times a year for Canadian quilter since 1998. In 1998 I co-authored the book Canadian Heritage Quilting with Karen Neary, published by Formac of Halifax. We close 15 quilts mainly from my collection. I write the historical information and Karen patterned and made them using today’s methods. I recently had an article published in Blanket Statements ( AQSG’s newsletter)about the oldest patchwork in North America which is housed in Montreal at the Mc Cord Museum.

 Do you teach and/or lecture as well as write?
When I first retired from High School teaching I taught a number of classes but after my husband retired he wanted me to be less programmed. I started doing only lectures and now I mainly do exhibit and or work as guest curators at Museums. Lugging quilts gets more difficult as one ages and soon I will loose the attic storage space in this 10 room home where we raised our two sons. Time moves on so I now am starting to place some of my quilts in Museums and part with others. The beauty of working with aprons is that they are small and lightweight and I can get a full lecture into one suitcase. The older I get the more time I spend on the computer so will be writing more and flapping quilts less...

Visit Diane's website at:

For further reading:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Show - The Old School House

I'm exhibiting in a new Fibre Show at The Old School House (TOSH) in Qualicum Beach over the coming month. the particiaptns are from all over Vancouver Ilsand and represent a wide variety of skills and techniques.

Remote Viewing will be shown at the Gallery

Plan a visit, the Gallery is full of wonderful art and includes a number of working studios in the lower level. Their website is

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Show - Blanket Statements

I'm thrilled to tell you about a new fibre show in Duncan, on Vancouver Island by my dear friend, Gloria Daly.

Gloria says: As a surface design fibre artist, my work is about texture and the relationship between yesterday’s discarded blankets and how they can have a new public image in today’s philosophy of “recycling”. The work itself is a unique combination of mending, patching, and darning. Each piece is made up of layers of cloth allowing the worn and weathered fibres to have dignity as they record the changes in temperature, the ravages of rust, tints and tones of tarnish and stain, along with shrinking and warping.

My art challenges the accepted need to find beauty in what is new, it asks the viewer to look for the inner beauty of the old and used. Using line, shape and colour with hand stitches creates a balance between the ripped and the repaired. Proven techniques such as appliqué, sashiko, patchwork, piecing, Victorian crazy quilting, and embroidery (particularly the blanket stitch) will be incorporated.
If you are in the Duncan, BC area, plan to stop and see the show! Call the Cowichan threatre for open times.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

One Word Wednesday


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Off to the Caribbean!

I'm getting packed and ready to leave tonight  on the "Quilters of the Caribbean" cruise that visits 7 different ports over 10 days. I'll be teaching two differerent workshops, Botanical Leaf Study and Your Creative Space. I'm supplying the kits for each student so I'll be packing those in the suitcases!

But I also like to take some sketching supplies and papers to grab the inspiration and colours when I see ideas....... plus I got a set of Inktensepencils for my birthday last month that I'll be packing. I've painted some papers with light washes of colour to prepare and my Pitt markers, plus glue stick and scissors. I hope I don't forget anything!

I'm also going to take part in the Sketchbook Challenge this year, the blog has lots of great ideas, tips and suggestions to get you started. Please join me through the year, try some sketching ideas of your own? Let us know if you are part of the Challenge as well!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Books on Sunday

I know that normally I review books that have to do with quilting and fibre arts but I couldn't resist telling you about one of my Chrismtas gifts!
I can claim to be an avid gardener who doesn't spend nearly enoguh time doing what she loves in the veggie and flower beds, but this year I have made plans to change all that! I've resolved to spend at least 3 hours a week this winter, cleaning up the beds, pruning  trees and generally getting it all ready for spring....there, you've heard me say that, be sure to keep me on track!
Who doesn't love to eat fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden and here in Victoria we are fortunate to be able to garden pretty much year round, so I'm excited to be using The Zero-Mile Diet book as inspiration for growing more food and eating healthier. You may be familiar with the 100 Mile Diet that has helped to change the way we feel about food and where it comes from, now The Zero-Mile Diet is an excellent source for teaching us how simple changes can make us healthier!
And I figure that since my husband gave me the book, he'll be wanting to join me in the garden and help with the complete redesign that I'm planning!
Important Tip! I know there are hundreds of quilting blogs....did you know there are also hundreds of gardening blogs too? I'm off to visit some right now................

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Give and Take Applique - Special Offer for January

To thank you for your support and celebrate the changes I've made, I'm offering a discount off my Give & Take Applique book, DVD and Stencil Pack. Order all three HERE and get the special price of $60.00. This offer is to thank you for your support.
Give &Take Applique is an exciting technique using postive/negative design with surprising results.

Here are some images from the book and DVD:

Sunflower   Tablerunner                                                                                                  Everyone's A Star!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just Blogging Around!

I've spent a little bit of time compiling a list of interesting blogs I've found. I'd like to share a few with you over the coming weeks. Some blogs are insightful and full of deep thoughts, others are more photos and illustrations and others have interesting quirks or ideas that appeal to me and perhaps to you as well. Let me know your favourites too!

Subversive Stitchers: Women Armed with Needles
A writer's look at the quilting and quilt art community and anything else fabric.

Selvedge Magazine
British magazine that is absolute eye candy and treasure trove for anyone who loves textiles.

Diane Gaudynski
Machine quilter extraordinare and an delightful teacher!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Word Wednesday


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Five Different Ways to Kick Start Your Creativity

Here are some "no-sew" tips you will find useful to get going in 2012:
  1. Grab one of your quilting books and pick a project, choose fabrics only from your stash, decide on the layout and size. Get inspired, 'cause you aren't required to make the quilt, just get excited about what you already have!
  2. Make a Design/Inspiration Board for your studio and pin photos, ribbons, postcards and anything with colours, patterns or designs that you love. You will enjoy looking at it all through the year! If any item begins to bore you, take it down and tuck away for another time.
  3. Pick out a magazine you already own, find an advertisement with colours that appeal to you and choose all the embellishments, threads and beads that match those colours. Take a photo and pin it to your Inspiration Board.
  4. Pick a few pieces of china, glassware or jewellery from the cupboards, group them together on a little table and add a small bouquet of flowers.
  5. Group some fat quarters together and tie up with a pretty ribbon. Keep them in your studio ready to give to a friend who needs some hugs!

Mish Mash and Bash 2011

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year - New Beginnings

I love the start of a new year, so many possibilities open up, its time for a fresh start and its exciting to look ahead to the future. Its like opening a window, taking a deep breath of fresh air and gazing out at a new vista (personally, I picture Tuscany outside the window)!

This year is going to be an especially different year for me; I have changed my business model and have sold my half of Patchworks Studio (my pattern design business) to my business partner, Daphne Greig. This decision was an amicable one as I decided to spend more time in teaching, writing and my own art work. I am very excited to have more time to be creative and delve into colour, imagery, pattern and more.

I am also embarking on a busy schedule of teaching and travel with trips to the Maritimes, the US and the Prairies planned.  I have new classes planned through and new products for my website.

Most importantly, I am now the proud Grandma to two wonderful little babes and I’m looking forward to that new part of my life as I watch these two little ones discover the world and learn about all the wonderous things in their lives.

We can never be creative in isolation and its only through the support and inspiration of others such as yourselves that we can fully realize all that we can be, so thank you! I’ve decided that this year is going to be my best yet, and I’m thrilled with all the possibilities!