Schack Opening Ready!

This biennial collection of Northwest artists features a well-rounded variety of mediums to produce an eclectic and visually stimulating exhibit.

Opening Reception: June 19, 5-8pm

Awards Ceremony at 6:30pm

One more of our WA SDA artists has been accepted into this eclectic art show: Terri Shinn.

Terri’s first piece, “Entanglement” is made from acrylic, molding paste, cotton, and wire.


Entanglement by Terri Shinn


Her second artwork, “Caste Relic” is also a unique mixed-media work made from abaca paper, acrylic, colored paper, linen thread, wood.

"Caste Relic" by Terri Shinn

“Caste Relic” by Terri Shinn

The exhibition has works of 87 different artists, with a wide range of work that will be of interest to our SDA members. The exhibit will run from June 19-August 2, 2014.   For more information on the artists and directions to the Schack Art Center go to their website at:

For more information on our other WA State SDA members represented in the exhibit go to:

Maura Donegan’s “Text-ural” Art


Maura Donegan with some of her 3-D cubes


Last week, SDA member Maura Donegan visited the Eastside SDA chapter meeting to share her incredible fiber art embroideries.  Born and raised in Ireland, Maura holds a diploma from the London Cities and Guilds Embroidery program which she started in the UK.  However, after completing her first year, she moved to the Puget Sound region… Luckily, she was able to continue and complete her studies under the tutelage of  Gail Harker here in La Conner, WA.  In 2011, Maura was one of four graduates of the Gail Harker Center to be featured artists at the “Four Embroiderers” exhibition at the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum.


imageMuch of Maura’s work features words embroidered with each letter within squares in a grid, like crosswords.   Memory and a historical tradition of handwork in both Maura’s family and women in general are honored in her work.  Some of her pieces are for the wall, while others are 3-D, such as her box of 108 cubes, each with a 6-letter word inscribed on it.  108 is considered a sacred number by several Eastern religions and is the “hyperfactorial of 3, as it is of the form:108Maura invites people to choose a cube from the box and then replenishes with more cubes as needed to maintain the number within.


Box of word cubes

Box of word cubes

Maura’s Irish heritage also is seen in some exciting new pieces she is making with machine embroidery on a heavy Japanese paper.  The designs are inspired by ancient art on the megalithic rock tombs that were near where she grew up.  The dense, beautiful embroidery is made with metallic thread, making elegant patterns and webs in the areas she has cut away which replicate the stone-age art.





imageSee more of Maura’s art on her website at

Made by Hand – Marianne Burr

Marianne Burr

Marianne Burr, silk painter, quilter, and Whidbey Island SDA member, is the featured artist at the La Conner Quilt Museum in La Conner, Washington in the show “Made by Hand” from March 26 – June 29, 2014.  She will be there Saturdays starting April 12th demonstrating her methods.


“Class of 1935” 68”H x 55”W

Marianne is currently in Tokyo receiving the Silver Award at the 12th Quilt Nihon Exhibition 2014-2015 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art for her work “Class of 1935”.  Her pieces are an inspiration to silk painters, surface designers, and quilters alike.  For more, see



“Class of 1935” Detail

Whidbey’s Pacific Northwest Art School to offer Sewing/Garment Design and Construction Program

Lovie Class mannekinPacific Northwest Art School (PNWAS) is pleased to announce a new program to add to its extensive fiber arts class offerings. Beginning this spring PNAWS will present classes taught by Fashion Institute of Technology-trained and SDA member Brenda Lovie. Lovie is known nationally for her work in the world of competitive ice-skating and dance performance. She’s also in demand as a maker of high-end couture garments for special events, weddings, and the performing arts. Lovie is a member of the Whidbey SDA chapter.


The new Sewing Program at PNWAS kicks off this spring with two linked classes. Other sewing classes such as Working with Fine Fabrics will be added to the schedule in the future.


Making a Flat Sewing Pattern from an Existing Garment

Website: under fiber program)

Time: 9-4, Saturday, March 15

Cost: $110

Cutting and Sewing a Garment from a Flat Paper Pattern

Website: (look under fiber program)

Lovie Class toolsDate/Time: 9-4, Saturday, March 22

Cost: $110


Brenda Lovie of Lovie Couture will be instructing the new sewing classes at the Pacific Northwest Art School

Brenda Lovie of Lovie Couture will be instructing the new sewing classes at the Pacific Northwest Art School



Your instructor, Brenda Lovie, the right brain of Lovie Couture, has been designing and making ice skating wear for over 20 years.  She is a member of SDA and a resident of Whidbey Island.

If you’ve been wondering what to do with that beautiful cloth you’ve created in another class or frustrated by using commercial patterns, these two classes will provide the logical next steps in the process of sewing a simple garment from a garment you already own. Register now as these classes will be limited to ten students.

The Pacific Northwest Art School is an Art School located on beautiful Whidbey Island in Washington State.  Each year they hold workshops and classes in Fiber Arts, Mixed Media, Painting, and Photography.

Barbara Nepom Converges with Lopez Island

"Converge" by Barbara Nepom

“Converge” by Barbara Nepom

WA SDA Member Barb Nepom takes her love or order, patterns and geometry which she used in a career in medical research, to a fantastic new level in her art quilts.  Her pieces feature her own hand-dyed fabrics, discharged materials, and geometric stitching.  She feels her pieces seem to portray “how nature builds beautifully functioning organisms from an array of lifeless fragments.”

Barb’s home and studio are on Lopez island, where she is presented with inspiration every day, just by looking out the window.  Not only that, but a vibrant artist community abounds on the island.  One of the many places that supports the arts is the Lopez library.

"Urban Red" by Barbara Nepom

“Urban Red” by Barbara Nepom

Should you be on Lopez this week, Barb invites you to stop in the Lopez Island library to see a display of her quilts through November 21.  The library is located at 2225 Fisherman Bay Rd, Lopez Island, WA.  Their hours are:

Mon, Sat 10-5
Tues, Thu, Fri 10-6
Wed 10-9

You can read more about Barbara and see additional photos of her textile art on her website at

Quick reminder… if you’re interested in showing opportunities with Washington state SDA, please make sure to take a few minutes to fill out the WA SDA exhibitions survey at:  We’d love your input on  holding future shows for SDA members!

“Hive” Installation Art on Camano Island


Barbara De Pirro

Barbara De Pirro

Many of you have heard of or attended a Golden products lecture or workshop led by Barbara De Pirro.

A wonderful artist and SDA member, Barbara shares her knowledge regularly on how to use all sorts of acrylic art materials, from gels, pastes and mediums, to paints, grounds, and glazes!  Barbara’s most recent project is an installation piece- “Hive” which flows out of and over a grand old Cedar tree at the Matzke Sculpture Park on Camano Island.

Barbara created this amazing sculpture using reclaimed plastic bottles, stitched together with staples and stainless steel pins.  Light plays off of the material, illuminating it in an organic way.

Detail view of "Hive"

Detail view of “Hive”

Barbara is “fascinated by the brilliance and resilience of nature while at the same time its fragility & vulnerability.”  She states, “I surround myself with its many forms, surfaces and textures. Nature is as much a part of my life as it is the impetus for all my artwork.”

The Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park is located at 2345 Blanche Way, on Camano Island.  Make sure to stop by, if you’re in the neighborhood!


A detail shot that shows how "Hive" is stitched together with stables.

A detail shot that shows how “Hive” is stitched together with stables.

Member Spotlight: In the Studio with Margaret Liston

Every month Lorraine Edmond will give us a closer look at an SDA member, their studio and practice.  This monthly post is a great opportunity to get to know our fellow SDA members a little better and to be inspired by our community. 

1. Describe your current medium and how you came to it.

Margaret-portrait seriousWhen I have to explain what I do to someone new, I describe myself first as a fiber artist, then an art quilter, but I explain that I print my own fabric.  I screen print and I also use a printing press.  (I mix some commercial fabrics into my quilts as well.) I got an MS in physiological psychology. While in graduate school, I saw a picture of an optical illusion, what I’d later know as a baby block quilt in traditional quilting.  I tried to construct one, but I could not do it! After that degree, I decided “no more school—ever!” I would just be self-taught. I ended up in art school anyway—for 6 years—in my mid-40s.  I went to the UW and because I had a degree already, I got to take only art classes. I would work all day in the surface design studio on campus.  I studied mostly surface design and painting, and near the end, I took printmaking and got totally hooked.

I’d go in on a sunny Saturday and no one else would be there. I’d print on fabric and fill the studio up with pieces that were drying.  Printing and layering were such a high—I thought each piece was great! (Then the next day, I wondered where all those great ones went.)  I’d try every printmaking technique—they were all exciting to me. Mike Spafford was one of our teachers—he was very challenging and always made us think.

I took a quilt-making class from Marcia McCloskey—just so I could learn how to make the corners of my quilt pieces meet.  Back then, calicoes were just about all that was available for quilt-making. I started using big graphics, Margaret quiltHawaiian prints, whatever I could find. I made only tops at first—they take up less room and you can do so many more in the same amount of time! I made wall quilts, too. My machine was set up in the dining room—I had to clean everything up each night so the family could eat. Then I moved to a corner with one small bookshelf in the master bedroom.  Then I moved across the hall, then to a spot in the basement, then to an upstairs bedroom, a more studio-like space.

Finally I moved my studio out of the house, to Pioneer Square.  The building was cheap and I shared the space with two other artists who were never there. My third of the rent was something like 70 dollars a month, but I felt like I really had to work hard so I’d deserve that. I had been told that most people who graduate art school do not continue to be artists. They have to make money, life happens… I was determined to stay an active artist.  I got involved in the early days of the Contemporary QuiltArt Association.  I brought in the first non-quilters as program speakers— Marita Dingus was one of the early ones.

2. What is your creative process like? (How do you begin? Do you draw to work out your ideas? Do you have a vision before you start or does it develop as you work?)

Margaret-quilt2I always have 15-20 things in my head that I could make next, usually continuations of things I’ve been working on. It can be pretty random as to which one I land on in the moment I’m deciding what to do next. It may be because of a pile of fabric I see on my table.  I make baby quilts for friends, the store I show work in needs more bed quilts, or I need to make work for an upcoming show. I do use a sketchbook, both for doodling around and for problem-solving for specific pieces.  Most of my quilts are done improvisationally, though. I pull out colors, start with two, then think of what type to use—silk or not?  Then I arrange and rearrange the pieces on the floor (I have a design wall, but it got covered up by stacks of boxes and stacks of fabrics!)

3. What is your current workspace like?

I’m in the Rainier Oven Building. It’s a wonderful old brick and not so long ago, they actually manufactured commercial ovens here.   And it has an incredible art collection in the halls and even the bathrooms! I’ve been here for twelve years now. It has several art studios and other businesses.  A drapery shop down the hall lets me go through their trash before it goes out—I snatch up slivers of fabrics that cost hundreds of dollars per yard, lots of silks.  My studio space is a cube, 20 ft x 20 ft x 20 ft.

4. If this isn’t your first studio– tell us about some the other work spaces you’ve had– what worked and what didn’t. How does your physical space influence your work?

I was in the Pioneer Square studio for 6 or seven years, until the earthquake send the front of the building into the street.  I had 700 square feet there, so printing was easier. This space is smaller at 400 square feet plus my fabric collection has grown, so I have to shuffle things around a lot. I used to be able to stop and print a fabric in the middle of making a quilt—now I have to switch back and forth and set up for each process.

5. Do you have a favorite piece of equipment or technique for keeping your  studio organized?

Margaret-stashFirst: the fabric shelf!  I made it after I graduated.  To get an art degree, we had to take wood shop, so I was able to make this myself out of plywood.  I sort each color from dark to light and then there’s a section at the top for Margaret-threadlarger pieces of that color. Second: my secondhand industrial Bernina sewing machine.  It looks like a home machine, but the motor is below the table. It sews about twice as fast as a home machine.

6. Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?

When I got the Pioneer Square studio, I would drive my husband to work downtown, then go to the studio. I didn’t pick him up til 5:00, so although I could waste time, I was at least “in the studio” for the whole day. So I just ended up putting a lot of time in. Then he retired and now I might get in by lunchtime and at least have a productive afternoon.  (I also took up the ukulele and got grandchildren so most of my studio time is now weekends and half days.)

7. What is the best art tip you’ve ever received (or discovered)?

From Jacob Lawrence: (1) always put something repetitive in your painting—something to provide a pattern. (2) For each color you have in a painting, it should also be present in a tint (the color plus white) and a shade (the color plus black). In the case of red, the tint will then read as a highlight, not as “pink.”  (3) from Hazel Koenig, who taught fiberarts at UW: always have a piece of a black and white patterned fabric near you when working. It encourages you to use the full value range in each piece—you may or may not use it in the piece but it affects how you work.

8. What inspires you to work and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

If I don’t come in, I’m just not whole. Making things is what I like to do and this is where I do it. It’s just a part of me. It’s what I do. It’s who I am.

You can see Margaret’s quilts in person at the Northwest Woodworker’s Gallery in Seattle. See hours and directions here: