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My class with Phyllis Cullen in Hawaii and why I just had to bring her to the Okanagan!

My class with Phyllis Cullen in Hawaii and why I just had to bring her to the Okanagan!

Winter 2023 was spent on the Big Island of Hawaii! a place I like to call my second home. After a few winters there, I've made some great quilting friends and am well aquainted with the fabric and quilting stores. I was walking through some art galleries and came across several that were displaying art quilts!

For one, I was thrilled to see quilts in an art gallery (where they are righfully displayed and sold) and was in awe of the quilts themselves! I snapped a couple pictures and looked up the artist. 

The artist was Phyllis Cullen. I was especially in love with this stained glass looking quilt of two brightly coloured macaws! I'd been wanting to learn a stained glass technique for so long and this was some real inspiration! Especially since I was working on a brightly coloured tropical quilt (that I haven't yet finished) that have some bright macaws on it for the outer border. This wall hanging art quilt would be the perfect compliment! 

In another shop, I saw a variety of smaller art quilts including some beautiful portraits that were remarkably life like all made out of fabric! There were gorgeous florals, birds, and other artistic pieces too. 

I was talking with my friend Katherine about it and she told me that she's taken a class with Phyllis and there was another coming up that we could take together! I was in! How much fun to meet Phyllis, see more of her work and learn some new techniques! 

The class was offered at a local quilt shop, but it was full! What a bummer! But there was a waitlist, and a lot of interest. They created a second class and ended up being over 20 of us crammed into the back of the store with students from all over the place. There were piles of fabric scraps and we were given two landscape options. 

I chose this beautiful hawaiian landscape. Phyllis called this technique painting with fabric! Using a brushstroke of fabric to create a piece of art! No sewing machine was required! I was a bit scared to get started as I had never done anything like this before and I was doubtful I would end up liking my version. 

As we progressed, Phyllis would stop us, and give us a talk and slideshow on different topics that pertained to the class, demontrations on how to achieve different objectives and some stretching to keep us limber! I gathered a lot of inspiration also just from moving around the room to see different interpretations of how others were building their landscapes! 

Although we had quite a few students I had plenty of time to chat with Phyllis, get 1 on1 direction, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of class. I took my time and did not quite finish in class, however finished at home in the following days. I couldn't quite remember how to put the tulle layer on top so I reached out to Phyllis and she invited me to her studio and she would help me get it done.

I also thought this would be a great opportunity to discuss the possibility of having Phyllis come out to the Okanagan to teach some workshops!


I pulled up and immediatey knew I was in the right place. I could see art quilts through the windows.

Phyllis walked me through her house and every bit of it was covered in fantastic works of art! including one piece that filled an entire wall! She was full of stories and I was like a kid in a candy shop! So many things to look at, handmade dolls, trinket boxes, felted flowers, paintings, and so many different styles of art! 


I just knew I had to make it happen to bring Phyllis to the Okanagan. I know so many quilters here that would so appreciate having a teacher like Phyllis come to us and provide workshops! And I wanted to take ALL of her classes! 

Fast forward to now and it's happening! I thought I can't just bring Phyllis out for one or two classes, how would I pick which workshop? If she was willing to come, lets do a full lineup of workshops! and that is just what we have planned! 

Phyllis had the idea to make special Okanagan inspired art quilts for two of the classes! The stained glass technique workshop will have the option for a vine, wine and glasses piece, or any of her stained glass patterns, like the macaws!

As well the Landscape class will be of our beautiful mountains, lakes, pine trees, and vineyards. Phyllis will be finishing these up to show us when she returns from teaching at the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach California. Stay tuned to our newsletter and social media. 

We will have a total of 4 different classes over 6 days. In addition to the two already mentioned we will have her teach her Portrait class, and Wild animal collage class! We also have 2 lectures that you can register for and learn more about Phyllis and her work, journeys and inspirations! 

Registrations are coming in and we are approaching half-full for some of the classes already! For the Portrait and Animal class, Phyllis will be making a unique pattern for each student if desired from one of your own photos. See the Kingfisher Craft Company website for full class details and the schedule. You can essentially build your own retreat. (I have affordable accomodations available too!) You don't need to bring a sewing machine! All of these pieces are build without a sewing machine and can be quilted once complete!

Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity! register soon before spaces are full. It's going to be a very fun week! Oct.1-8, 2023

If you register for all 4 classes you will get a $50 gift card to our quilt shop to spend during our retreat style workshop series! 

Next article Sewing Space Essentials (Jason's favorites of 2021)

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