Archive for August, 2012

“Solitude” for the “Inspired by the Quetico” Collection

Quetico Solitude
Virginia A. Spiegel

There is nothing like coming back to your studio after the summer hiatus and feeling that crazy combo of fear and optimism.  I feel very fortunate to start off my Fall studio season by making an artwork to donate to the Inspired by the Quetico Collection of the Quetico Provincial Park as required by my recent residency.

Quetico Solitude is the first artwork in what I hope will be a series of Quetico Journal artworks.  As in the Boundary Waters series, the artwork is all about a specific place, emotion, and memory.

Quetico Solitude is a layered collage including inkjet prints transfers from my Quetico journal on silk organza, inkjet prints and transfers from Photoshopped photos I took in the Quetico on cotton cloth, ink, and painted silk organza.  It is both hand and machine stitched.  The artwork is 8×10 and will be mounted and matted to 11×14 inches.

I am waiting for my Ground Level: Ephemeral Art in the Quetico book to arrive from Blurb and then I will send them both off to Canada with thanks for providing the opportunity for such an inspiring adventure.




08 2012

Artist-in-Residence at Quetico Provincial Park: Inspiration and Adventure


I am just back from my residency in the Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. “Quetico is a protected, pristine wilderness retreat of international acclaim west of Lake Superior on the Canada-U.S. border. The park’s tangled network of lakes once formed water routes travelled by Ojibway and fur traders. Now it is primarily the destination of experienced canoeists seeking solitude and rare glimpses of wildlife by cascading waterfalls, glassy lakes and endless forests.”


I was inspired from the first moment by our beautiful campsite on Pickerel Lake that had rock exposures on both the east and west side.

I made MANY small found art installations while following Leave No Trace camping policies.  Some of the artwork barely survived long enough for a photo due to the wind, waves, and our own activity about the campsite. Ephemeral art at its best.

My sister Nancy, canoe partner now for 19 trips, made this residency in a canoe possible at the cost of making the start of her school year tres stressful.  Thanks, Nancy!  Both Nancy (shown here) and I had time to take many photos, to draw, to write …

and explore the twenty-mile lake.  We spent a lot of time looking at reflections, loons, mergansers, rocks stacked so carefully on the shore and underwater, the surprising sand beaches, and at the ever-changing water. We went to sleep each night with the gentle gurgling of water over a beaver dam . . .



except when all we heard was the howling of the wind. We marveled at how fast big waves develop on such a long lake.

No portaging, nine peaceful days filled with inspiration from sunrise to sunset, and time to take it all in.  Truly a memorable experience for both Nancy and I.  I hope to start the artwork to be donated to the “Inspired by the Quetico” collection very soon as I have many ideas percolating.

I am indebted to the Quetico Provincial Park for providing this wonderful opportunity. Thanks go to Jeff Bonnema, Quetico Provincial Part Superintendent; Susan Bourne, Park Naturalist who invited me to apply to the program; Jill Legault, Acting Park Naturalist for her enthusiasm and assistance with my talk; and all the rangers and wardens who made our stay so enjoyable.

***I strongly urge artists to consider doing a residency in the Quetico if you enjoy camping and Nature.  You do not need to canoe unless you choose to do so.  Most artists camp at Dawson Campground and avail themselves of a very beautiful lakeside studio.  Read more about the program here.***


08 2012

A Dream Collection: Archetypes and Artifacts

Susan Lane
Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness 

The Studio Art Quilt Associates’ Benefit Auction opens September 10, 2012 with 394 donated 12″ square art quilts.

It’s a lot of artwork to really see at one time, so you might want to start with SAQA members’ Dream Collections. These are six of the donated artworks chosen around a theme.  I chose Archetypes and Artifacts as my theme with artwork by Susan Lenz, Susan Lane, Averil Stuart Head, Gillian Cooper, Daniela Dancelli, and Kevan Lunney.

Kevan Lunney
Archeology #19 

See all my choices here; it is the third group down from the top.  Traces of the past and archetypes of death, birth, and fertility speak to us across time. 


08 2012

Fiberart For A Cause Wins an Award!

It’s not often that I can be surprised.  But my sister and the lovely volunteers with Relay For Life of the Forest Lake Area did it this year when I was presented with this beautiful award for Outstanding Contribution to the Relay.  I accepted it as the representative of all of you, artists and donors, who have so generously donated to Fiberart For A Cause.  FFAC has donated over $220,000 to the American Cancer Society.


The fun part of the award was that my sister, to the left, had made signs with the totals that FFAC had raised with each of our fundraisers.  As Diane Zak, to the right, read the amount, Nancy handed me a sign.  This total was for the amazing Postcard Project.

Of course, Relay For Life is the grassroots fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Relay For Life is always a family affair for everyone who participates.

I wanted to share this photo of three generations of fundraisers.  From left, Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman (chair extraordinaire of the Relay For Life in Forest Lake, MN for the last nine years), our niece, Jenny Spiegel (who is a music teacher and had her hair cut for Locks of Love after this photo; she also chairs her school’s Relay At Recess), me, and our Mom, Florence Spiegel (who taught us all the meaning of service and supports Relay generously).

Relay For Life is all about fun and fundraising as we celebrate, remember, and fight back.

Is Fiberart For A Cause really retired?  Of course not!  Watch for more news coming soon about Fiberart For A Cause’s next new and different fiber fundraiser coming in February 2013.



08 2012

Artist-in-Residence: Quetico here I come!

What could be better than doing an artist’s residency in a wilderness area?  I will be an artist-in-residence in the Quetico Provincial Park near Atikokan, Ontario in Canada this month.  The Quetico is very similar to the Boundary Waters, but, obviously, across the border.  The other differences are that their are no designated campgrounds, the portages aren’t maintained at all, and there are no pit toilets. Wikipedia has some basic info about the Quetico.

I’ll be doing a presentation at the Quetico Provincial Park about my art and then setting out for ten days of wilderness canoeing with my sister.  I plan on starting a Quetico series when I return to my studio (with one artwork donated to the Quetico Provincial Park for their Inspired by Quetico: Artist in Residence collection) and complete a print-0n-demand (Blurb) book of Quetico photographs also.



08 2012