Mariners Quilt Guild

Nothing is ever lost: Susan Tilsley Manley

Susan Tilsley Manley

Susan Tilsley Manley

As Mariners celebrated our 10th anniversary, Nova Scotia quilter Susan Tilsley Manley came along to share her joy of quilting with an eclectic trunk show. Much of her work focuses on the precious impermanence of life.

Growing up in a family of quilters, Susan has always been surrounded by quilts and the stories they tell about memories, families and friendship. Deirdre Scherer’s Work in Fabric and Thread motivated her to create a series of art quilts focusing on the human face, many featuring members of her family. Crows, with their nimble intelligence, are a motif appearing in many of her works and remind her of her father.

The Tilsley farm, 1929

The Tilsley farm, 1929

Susan enjoys playing and experimenting in her quilting. She has tried different dying techniques to create clear images on fabric, including using thickened dye paste and bleach paste made from toilet bowl cleaner. Stencils hand-cut from freezer paper and hand-cut rubber stamps form part of her low-cost, low-tech and low-chemical tool box She share two of her favourite go-to books are The Painted Quilt (in the Mariners Library) and Textile Art.

Wind and rain and salt and sun
In time make all things come undone,
and everything becomes
a rusty thing.”
– John Manley 1998

Susan has recently created a series of art quilts that focus on what she refers to as the “accelerated corrosion” of rural life in Nova Scotia. She has developed a technique that reproduces old family photographs in rust, creating an appearance reminiscent of sepia photos. She brought a number of her Rusty Things quilts along to show us. (And Susan gave us a peak at what she’s creating for her art guild’s upcoming show, the Provocative Show.)

Here’s some of what Susan showed us in her trunk show:

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