Sunday, March 25, 2007

An Evening With Judy Farrow

Last Wednesday evening our quilt guild was treated to a guest speaker: Judy Farrow. Because this was a special evening for the guild, we were invited to include our friends and members of other guilds in the night's activities. We had been told that Judy's presentation would appeal to the quilter and non quilter alike. I invited my mother along and as a non-quilter, she enjoyed the evening as much as I did.

Judy lived in the Northwest Territories in what is now Nunavut, for 30 years. During this time she travelled extensively with her husband, by dog team in the winter and freighter canoe in the summer. In 1980 she received a Canada Council Grant to conduct ethno botanic research on Baffin Island. In 1986, Judy and her husband moved to Yellowknife and in 1990 Judy began quilting. Judy received a Northwest Territories Arts Council Grant to make quilted fabric wall hangings. In 2001 the Farrows moved to Parksville on Vancouver Island.

Judy's list of accomplishments is long, but noteworthy is the Grand Prize awarded to her at Grand National Show in Kitchener-Waterloo 2005. This prize was awarded to her for her marvelous entry "Snowy Owl Meets West Coast Totems".

The owl is raw edge appliqued. The totems are part of the background and are constructed from various black fabrics including velvet. Because of the black colour, photographing the totems is difficult.

This photo shows the lower corner of the quilt as it was draped across the table. You can see the totems a little easier from this angle.

Judy's presentation was titled, "Baffin Island to Vancouver Island" and included both a slide presentation and a trunk show of some of her pieces.

This picture is the top of the quilt titled Aurora.

This is the bottom half of Aurora.
This is beluga whales.

This piece depicts the tall trees in the famous, Cathedral Grove Forest on Vancouver Island.

My mom loved these frogs.

Judy dressed in clothing from the north to help her "get into character". Judy talked about how she started quilting--quite by accident and by how her quilting journey has been influenced by 30 years of living in Canada's North. Judy's stories included travelling by dog sled across the ice and snow and her setting unrealistically short deadlines because of her naivety regarding just how long it takes to construct a quilt. Her lecture spanned traditional block construction to more contemporary techniques including batik, curved piecing, and embellishment. Judy inserted just the right amount of humor and true stories to make her presentation both interesting and entertaining.

Finally, this is a picture that my mom took of Judy Farrow (on the left) and I. Judy is wearing her traditional parka that she wore while living in the north.


  1. Her quilts are phenomenal! Has she written a book? I'd certainly buy it if there is one.

  2. Ohhh Norma, those quilts are just amazing. I can't even imagine how someone delves into their mind and creates something like that! Just eye popping!

  3. WOW - That looks like it was an awesome trunk show!

  4. Wow, amazing quilts. I also love the frogs. And Judy looks so adorable in her parka!

  5. Wow, what an amazing artist! I would have loved to have been there. What a treat it must have been to see these quilts in person. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience. Happy quilting!

  6. What a marvelous program! I can't imagine what it must have been like to see these creations in person. Lucky lucky you - all of you who got to see and hear this woman. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. What stunning quilts! I know you are tall but Judy looks like a little peanut. Did your mom have a good time at the program? I know she loves quilts!

  8. That was great to read Norma. I have heard of Judy Farrow but I did not know much about her. Beautiful quilts - great pictures. Thank you.