Alberni Valley quilter Patti Dance has come a long way since learning to quilt via paper piecing some 10 years ago. This month three of her quilts will go stitch-to-stitch with the country’s best at the Canadian National Juried Quilt Show in Halifax.
Dance is as excited by the show as she is surprised that her quilts made it in with the nation’s top contenders. This is the first quilting competition she has entered. There are prizes awarded at the show, in the guise of both money and rosettes. Dance is uninterested in both.
“The fact that my quilts made it into the show is enough for me,” Dance says. “Getting selected was the best.”
Dance stumbled upon quilting over a decade ago almost by accident. She had been looking for a hobby, something in which to lose herself during free time away from her lengthy career as a lab technician. She tried many outlets, but none of them tweaked her passion or held her interest for long.
Dance has tried her hand at batik, sewing, and stained glass. Quilting won her over.
“My husband is a birder,” Dance says. “And I wanted something in my life that I could see myself doing well past retirement like his hobby for him. Quilting was the first thing that I got really passionate about and stuck with. ”
Dance says that the methodical, mathematical, and exacting nature of quilting helped to hook her early on. She likes that it is an art in which one can follow other people’s patterns when learning.
Although the Canadian National Juried Quilt Show is Dance’s first real competition, she is no stranger to displaying her art. Last year, Dance’s quilt ‘Lone Wolf’ was one of 28 pieces to form a national collective called ‘O Canada’ that was a traveling exhibit. ‘O Canada’ traveled to three states in America (Ohio, California, and Texas), exhibiting 28 artists’ work for 11 months.
Dance also exhibited her quilts at Rollin Art Centre in 2008 in a solo show.
Dance’s three entries to the Canadian National Juried Quilt Show are: ‘Bear Country’, ‘Jack and the Pulpit’, and ‘It Really Is Your Grandmother’s Quilt’.
The Canadian National Juried Quilt Show runs May 29 – June 2 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Winning quilts will appear in a national quilting magazine that is published and distributed countrywide.