Double Vision: Canada’s landscape in fabric

Double Vision exhibits the unique perspectives of twin sisters Debbie Richards (left), a quilter, and artist Diane Stewart

Admiring Diane Stewart’s work from afar, you’d never guess her medium: minuscule fabric swatches, applied painstakingly to canvas, sometimes augmented by embroidery stitches. Three years ago, she and her twin Debbie Richards, a talented quilter, had an idea. They would interpret the same images of the Canadian landscape using their own particular art, and exhibit the two side by side. The resulting show Double Vision opened last night, running till September 30, 2012, in the Rotunda Gallery of Kitchener City Hall. I’ve heard it’s scheduled to make six more appearances in the months ahead.

Diane and her work have been familiar to me for some time thanks to her good friend and my neighbour Jan. In fact, I lust after the Diane Stewart landscape that’s above Jan’s mantlepiece just about every time I visit, which is often. So it was a delight to see the show and to meet Debbie, whose textile arts combine quilting, felting, appliqué, embroidery, beading and other embellishments.

Behind the sisters in the shot above is a perfect pairing, with an intricately multi-layered quilt by Debbie mirroring Diane’s astonishingly realistic fabric composition. Diane lives in Blind River, in Northern Ontario, while Debbie makes her home a 2,000-km (1,200-mi.) drive away in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. In preparing this show over the past year, they must have been grateful for twin ESP.

Last night, I arrived dreaming to own, and that dream might come true – though my eyes are bigger than my wall space. If you head west of Toronto this month, do drop by and dream for yourself.


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