Former folk singer Cathy Miller is doing what she loves best. She's passionate about quilting, a hobby she discovered when the director of a Quilts Canada conference asked her to help with composing music for a short presentation. As Miller researched the topic and attended quilt shows, she became progressively interested and took up the art herself. She's still doing it. And she's still a folk singer; it's just that her show has taken an unusual turn. Now, she's known as the Singing Quilter, and she and husband John Bunge have taken their show on the road. In the last few years, they've performed for over 200 quilters' guilds and events. "Our act just blossomed," she says. Their first quilting CD in 2000 gathered a collection of songs and stories on the subject, and the latest CD, A Quilter's World, is about to be released. "The stories just keep coming," says Miller, " and they're good."
The Victoria couple will appear in a special two-hour show on Thursday, Aug. 19, at the Heritage Playhouse organized by the Gibsons Landing Fibre Arts Festival. Songs will include "100 Ways to Hide Your Stash" and that perennial favourite sung by Bunge, "The Quilter's Husband's Lament."
"It brings down the house," says Miller.
Since there's usually a show-and-tell aspect to every quilter's event, Miller will bring quilts, including one made especially for her by women in Lansing, Mich., in which each block represents a song on her CD. The Singing Quilter event is open to the public; no knowledge of quilting is required.
The festival will also sponsor another evening event that welcomes the general public. On Wednesday, Aug. 18, one of the festival's instructors, Rosalind Aylmer, presents an evening of Turkish Delights in which she will explore through slides some of the oldest settlements in recorded history now found in present day Turkey. She has visited homes where the loom is still used and where traditional textile skills are still practiced. She will bring samples of this exquisitely worked handicraft. Aylmer teaches an advanced level textiles course at Capilano College in Vancouver and will also be teaching a Festival course in screen printing for textiles on Aug. 20 and 21.
For something completely different that requires no previous knowledge, the Fibre Arts Festival is offering a two-day course from paper artists Anne Vicente and Pamela Westhaver called Plant to Pulp to Paper in which participants have a hands-on experience in learning how to prepare pulp from a variety of fibres to create their own sheets of hand-made paper. This is usually a four-day course, now reduced to two. Ticket sales for the Singing Quilter and for Turkish Delights at $10 each will be available on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 17, at the registration desk at Elphinstone School. Many of the Fibre Arts Festival's limited enrollment workshops offered on the week of Aug. 18 to 21 are already full. For a list of those still available, including many woodworking and fabric arts courses, log on to www.gibsonslandingfibrearts.com or call 604-740-1229.