Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Anna Hergert with one of her "art" quilts

Alisdair has expressed an interest in learning how to quilt!  He would like to make a "Paddington Bear" themed quilt for his own room.  While I'm not sure exactly how we will accomplish this creative endeavour, I decided I should take him along on a local writing assignment late last month.

There is a vibrant group of quilters who meet regularly in Neilburg.  They call themselves the "Manitou Creative Quilters" and they stage a show every two years.  On Friday, November 26th, this group held a special evening presentation with Anna Hergert, a professional fiber artist, who came to the Neilburg Seniors' Centre to speak to the club.

I attended the event so I could write an article about the evening for the local newspapers but Alisdair and I went home inspired to try to be a bit more creative as we go about our daily lives.

While in Neilburg, Hergert gave a presentation titled "Choosing Creativity."  It is a lecture that is near and dear to her artist’s heart. She says, "Staying motivated, overcoming creative blocks, fanning the fire of desire, and fighting self-doubt are important topics any serious quilter has encountered. How do you stay focused and excited about your work?"  She shared tricks and proven techniques to keep the artist within alive and full of enthusiasm.  One of these tips included showing photographs of actual landscapes and then displaying the quilts that were inspired by those same scenic views.  She also suggested exploring creative acts in other areas of life - such as flower arranging or baking a delicious meal.  She believes that if you begin trying to be a little creative, this will start to "flow" out  into other areas of your everyday life.

As well as a digital slide presentation, Hergert brought a "trunk show" of various art quilts she has produced over several years.  These were embellished with everything from saran wrap (to make a realistic looking wine glass) to packing material she melted with a heat gun before stitching on to a quilt.  Members of the local quilting club were also encouraged to bring along a prepared "quilt sandwich" so they could practice some needlework embellishments they may wish to use on their own future projects.  Refreshments were served at the conclusion of the meeting.  The following day Hergert gave another interesting presentation in Unity.

Hergert was born and educated in Germany and was exposed to fiber art at an early age.  She says "Handwork was a regular part of the weekly school curriculum and my passion for art and textiles became a lifelong pursuit."

She was "originally an Early Childhood Education graduate and she recalls that her path rarely took her too far away from creating and sharing new skills in the fiber arts field."  Later, she taught handwork at the Calgary Waldorf School, operated The Fiber Hut for 10 years in Calgary’s North West, and taught spinning and knitting classes." These were only a few of the stepping stones that eventually led Anna to obtaining diplomas in Art, Design, Contemporary Embroidery as well as Patchwork and Quilting from London City & Guilds.

Anna says, "This lifelong focus on the arts makes me a passionate and committed artist, teacher, lecturer and writer."  In 2001 she committed to establishing herself as a full-time professional artist.  Since 2003, Anna's work has travelled further and visited more exotic countries than she has! Korea in 2007 & 2009 and Quilt National ’09 are just a couple of the interesting places where her work has been showcased. Commissions can be found in Canadian, American and European homes and public spaces."

In 2007, Anna and her husband packed up their household and moved from the big city to rural Saskatchewan where they now make their home just north of Moose Jaw at Buffalo Pound Lake. When she is not traveling to lecture or teach, Hergert creates art in her dream studio overlooking the breath taking scenery that serves as constant source of inspiration.

For more information on Anna, and her work, take a peek at her personal blog.  She has a photo gallery and also a link to a regular newsletter that she produces.  Both are inspiring in their own way.

Alisdair has found some Paddington fabric available on ebay and, after Christmas, we will see how this project takes shape!  It could be sew much fun!

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