Sunday, April 24, 2016

Meet SAQA Oregon Member Bonnie Bucknam

Bonnie Bucknam of Vancouver, Washington
1.  How would you describe the work that you make? Do you have an elevator speech? Have you found your "artistic voice"?

Most of my pieces are made using my own hand-dyed fabrics.  I work large and abstract.  My designs can be based on landscapes, my own photos, or ethnic textiles and crafts.

2.  What brought you to making fiber art? What is your art, sewing, or fiber background? When did you make your first quilt that you considered "art"?

I have been sewing since I was a small child.  I started a business in high school making purses out of burlap and cotton fabrics.  After making thousands of these bags, I had lots of scraps left over.  I decided to make a quilt, knowing nothing about it.  That first quilt took me years to finish, but by then I was hooked.  I have made quilts for the last 48 years! I made my first art quilt in the 1970's.  I made line drawings of rock music stars and machine quilted them. But I really began to focus on art quilts in the 1990's when I started attending the Quilt/Surface Design Symposium in Columbus, Ohio.  That is where I met Nancy Crow, who changed my life.
Stones Stars III - detail (Patti Smith)
1979 - Bonnie M. Bucknam

3.  Describe the steps involved in your art-making process.

My process varies.  Sometimes I sketch and abstract a design from a photo that I've taken or an idea I've developed.  If the proportions seem critical, I may blow up the sketch to a full-size pattern and cut my pieces from there.  Other times I just cut into the fabric and sew.  Then I usually make chunks which I piece together in some way. Sometimes I pre-select a palette from my hand-dyed fabrics, and sometimes I just add fabrics and colors as the mood strikes.  I machine quilt with a longarm.  Sometimes I hand stitch over the machine quilting.

Example of freecut quilt
2015 - Bonnie M. Bucknam
Photo by Mark Frey

4.  What is your one favorite or most common source of inspiration?

Most of my work is inspired by travel, things that I see.  I take lots of photos and abstract many of my designs from those.

5.  Do you enter your work in shows? What would you say have been your top three exhibits?

Quilt National 2011 - Best of Show
Example of piecing from full-size pattern
2010 - Bonnie M. Bucknam
Photo by Mark Frey

I enter exhibits all the time.  My three top are probably:

Quilt National - Best of show in 2011
Solo exhibit at the Portland International Airport in 2015
Color Improvisations - an invitational curated by Nancy Crow that was exhibited in Europe for two years
2010 - Bonnie M. Bucknam
Photo by Mark Frey

6.  Describe your studio space.

My "studio" is about 1/2 of my house.  Half of the garage is set up as a dye studio.  In the other half I paint.  My car has never seen the inside of the garage.  My "living room" is my longarm room.  My "dining room" is my office.  Upstairs I have one bedroom as the sewing room and the loft for fabric cutting and storage.  The guest bedroom and the master bedroom also are quilt storage areas.

7.  How much time do you spend on your art? How do you balance your life between art, family, friends, day job, etc.?

I spend time every day working on quilts, painting, or other crafts.  During the day I might paint, dye fabric, quilt on the longarm, do paperwork or work on show entries.  After dinner I spend at least 5 or 6 hours in my studio/sewing room, piecing, or doing some sort of sewing or handwork.  Most of my outings - other than going to the grocery store, the library, painting class, and the pool - are quilt or art related.  I have a very small family and my son who lives with me cooks for himself, so I have very few obligations other than those I create for myself.  I do love to travel. Traveling inspires many of my designs.

8.  Do you work in other mediums or use unusual materials in your work?

I paint in acrylic but also use collage and  oil and cold wax.  I dye fabric, make hand-bound books, knit, make purses, and occasionally bead. Other than the dyed fabric, I seldom use these other media in my quilts.  Some of my quilts are hand-stitched as well as machine quilted.

Reflection - detail
2009 - Bonnie M. Bucknam
Photo by Mark Frey

Since 2009 I have also been working on sending quilts to needy kids in Guatemala. These are scrap utility quilts.  Lots of my quilting friends and acquaintances have donated their time, fabric, and talents to the project. To date we have sent 212 quilts!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Central Pod Meeting Highlights Art in the High Desert

What makes good art? 

At SAQA Central Oregon's April meeting, metal artist and co-founder of Art in the High Desert, Carla Fox, spoke about art and how it is juried into that premier show. 

Jury criteria for 2016 Art in the High Desert included:
*strong overall concept
*original thought and intent, going beyond the expected, the usual
*excellence in craftsmanship
*consistency of style and presentation 

Promoting visual arts in Central Oregon was the founding goal of Art in the High Desert, Carla said. Jurors for the August show include two local artists and two nationally known artists who judge entries on computer images of the art, no other data. In the nine years since its inception, the show held in Bend's Old Mill area has been ranked 12th nationally based on sales. 

Thursday, May 19 will be the next SAQA Central Oregon meeting at the Stitchin' Post from 3-4:30 pm. Deb Wilkinson will speak about wearable art and show some of her work. The fun of Philadelphia SAQA national will be shared.

Arnold Exhibits in Cannon Beach

Mary Arnold will have a solo show of her quilts and paintings at the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum, located at Sunset and S. Spruce Streets, Cannon Beach, Oregon. The exhibit, Coastal Reflections, will feature Mary's quilts and paintings of the forest, river and coast. The opening, on May 7th from 6 - 8pm, will feature a slide presentation of Mary's work and techniques.  The exhibit will run from May 7th until September 11th.

Rock and Roll
Mary Arnold
Photo by Mark Frey

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bucknam Has 4 Exhibit Openings in May

Mastery: Sustaining Momentum
An Invitational Exhibit Curated by Nancy Crow
May 27 - November 27, 2016
Gallery Talks May 27, 2016, 10am
Artists' Reception May 27, 2016, 5 - 7pm
The Dairy Barn Arts Center
8000 Dairy Lane
Athens, Ohio 45701 
(Photos will be posted after the show opening.)

My Corner of the World
Work by Members of SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates
May 21 - August 14, 2016
Stratford Perth Museum
Stratford, Ontario Canada

Willow Wood
c 2010 Bonnie M. Bucknam
Photo by Mark Frey 
Artist as Quiltmaker
FAVA's 17th Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Quilts
May 15 - July 31, 2016 
Members' Reception May 14, 2016
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 5pm, Sunday 1-5pm 
The Firelands Association for the Visual Arts
39 South Main Street
Oberlin, Ohio 44074

Seismic Activity
c 2014 Bonnie M. Bucknam
Photo by Mark Frey 

Form, Not Function: Art Quilts at the Carnegie
May 13 - July 9, 2016
Opening Reception May 13, 2016
Carnegie Center for Art and History
201 East Spring Street
New Albany, Indiana 47150

Red Lightning
c 2014 Bonnie M. Bucknam
Photo by Mark Frey

Pre Order "Mastery: Sustaining Momentum" Catalog

You can pre-order the catalog for Mastery: Sustaining Momentum from the Dairy Barn Arts Center Shop for $20.

The catalog is a 54 page full color 11 x 11 catalog featuring the twelve master quilters.  Mastery was curated by Nancy Crow and presented by the Dairy Barn Arts Center and sponsored by The Chaddock Group.  This is a pre-order item and will be mailed out May 27, 2016 or it can be picked up at The Dairy Barn Arts Center’s Gallery Shop.

Product Description: 54 page full color 11 x 11 inches catalog with photographs of the three quilts by each of the 12 artists. The catalog will be shipped on May 27, 2016 for all pre-orders or you can choose to pick up the catalog here at the Dairy Barn Arts Center at the opening on May 27, 2016 or during the exhibition.

The Twelve Artists in the catalog are:
Margaret Boys Wolf
Bonnie Bucknam
Nancy Crow
Marina Kamenskaya
Kirpich  Judy
Colleen Kole
Helen McBride Richter
Leslie Joan Riley
Arturo Alonzo Sandoval
Gerri Spilka
Heide Stoll-Weber
Kit Vincent

Jane Dunnewold Lecture and Trunk Show

August 7, 2016 - August 7, 2016

Book cover
In addition to writing books on creativity and surface design, Jane Dunnewold teaches and lectures internationally, and has mounted numerous one person exhibitions, including Inspired by the Masters (Visions Quilt Museum 2016). She is the former President of the Surface Design Association.
This lecture is an entertaining overview of the concepts in Jane Dunnewold's book Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Stories to Encourage Artistic Genius.
• Defining creative stamina
• Cultivating the inner Rebel Artist
• Dismantling the Committee
• What makes work distinctive
• What is alignment and how do we find it
• Discovering grace through acts of making
The lecture will be accompanied by a trunk show featuring books, and one of a kind art cloth items.
Register Now
Open to SAQA members and the public. Tickets are $10 each ($12 at the door, space permitting). 

Sunday, August 7th, from 1pm - 4pm at the Willamette Heritage Center, Salem, Oregon.

For more information, contact Georgia French, or Sheryl LeBlanc,

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

SAVE THE DATES - Two SAQA Openings in Oregon June, 2016

The National SAQA exhibit "Concrete and Grassland" at the Grants Pass Museum of Art opening reception will take place Friday, June 3rd 2016 from 6 - 9pm. We're told by the curator the openings are very well attended by 300-400 people. The exhibit runs from June 1st to July 29th.

The Regional SAQA exhibit "Blending Poetry and Cloth" runs June 3rd to July 29th at The Rogue Gallery in Medford with the reception taking place Friday June 17th from 5pm to 8pm.

Attend both shows by stopping by The Rogue Gallery from 10am to 5pm on June 3rd and then taking the 30 minute drive to Grants Pass to attend the opening there.

Central Oregon Pod Meets April 14

The founders of the annual Art in the High Desert show, Dave and Carla Fox, will be the guest speakers at the Central Oregon SAQA meeting, Thursday, April 14 from 3-4:30 at the Stitchin' Post in Sisters. In the nine years since the Alfalfa artists founded Art in the High Desert, the show has received national acclaim.  This year there were 596 submissions for the 115 spots for the festival. This year the festival will be Aug. 26-28 in the Old Mill area of Bend. The Foxes will speak about art in Central Oregon, how to promote it and the jury process used for Art in the High Desert.

Bring show and tell and be prepared to talk about your work, completed or in progress.

For more information contact Jan Tetzlaff at

Portland Pod to meet April 20

The next Portland Pod meeting will be on April 20, at 10:00AM, at the Beaverton Community Room, 12350 SW 5th St, Beaverton.  One of our members will be presenting a sampling of her quilts, and another member, Terry Grant, will show us how to prepare our photos for entry into an exhibit.  Any additions to the agenda or questions, can be sent to Annette Mcfarlane,