When my husband Murray and I moved to Fernie eight years ago with our son Jack, looking for a change from the fast-paced intense corporate life we had in Calgary, I brought with me a love for lots of creative pursuits, from interior design to crafts, but I had never really landed on one artistic form of expression.
Life in Fernie presented me with so many opportunities to get involved and so many things to do that I eventually began to feel overwhelmed – something I dislike – but also was loving the life that my family and I had created for ourselves here. I knew I needed to start carving out time for myself and to let go of some things, but with so much to do, and so many important things competing for my attention, I didn’t know how to do that.
Then, in the winter of 2018, hoping to help my mom get out of the house more, I joined the Fernie Quilt Guild with her, even though I’d never sewn a quilt before.
That first workshop taught me many things. For instance, I learned I can’t sew in straight lines, much less keep an even seam allowance, so traditional quilt patterns weren’t for me. I also learned I love collage quilting. It’s like paper collage I loved as a kid, but a lot less messy. I’d been exposed to art quilting through a good friend and incredible fibre artist, Alison Cowitz (onestraypin. com) and she’d been encouraging me for years and now something finally clicked. Choosing textures and colours and finding just the perfect fabric for a piece scratched an itch I didn’t know I had.
I sold my first piece in the Christmas 2019 group show at the Arts Station where all pieces were eight inches square. The group show offered me a really wonderful, unintimidating way to put myself out there. This first show was also where I learned that I love working on little things, even though it means putting on magnifying glasses to work. I’ve been exploring that format ever since.
But now I had to find time for sewing as well...
Queue the pandemic and suddenly my plate cleared of everything but work (fortunately) and family. Although it left me feeling a bit untethered and lost, the pandemic also gave me the gift of the space to reflect and understand what I need for myself and my artistic expression.
What started as hobby now has me prepping for my first solo show at the Arts Station starting February 25. It will give me a chance to understand what people like and don’t like and I’m looking forward to the critical feedback. I’ve also had fun creating some short videos to help describe what I do and the different styles of quilt work that will be available online as well as in the gallery.
I’m still busy, but it’s a different kind of busy. The pandemic has brought with it so many challenges and difficulties, but it also brought opportunity. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during this time, but carving out time for creativity and the important things in life can be an art form on its own.
A huge thank you to the Fernie & District Arts Council and everyone at the Fernie Arts Station for creating space, support, and opportunity for emerging artists.
You can follow Sam long her artistic journey on Instagram @sam_sedlowsky_ art.