Thursday, September 18, 2014

Landscape Workshop with Gloria Loughman

Several weekends ago, I headed over to Salt Spring Island, one of the Gulf Islands between the British Columbia mainland and Vancouver Island, where I had the opportunity to participate in a 2 day workshop given by Gloria Loughman (  Gloria, an Australian textile artist whose work focuses on landscape quilts, has written 3 books to date, and travels the world teaching the various techniques she uses to create her quilting art. The first time I saw Gloria's work on "The Quilt Show", Episode 612,  June 7, 2010,
(, was the first time that I had any inclination to dabble in landscapes. She made the process seem manageable; there is a certain element of structure in her technique, while still leaving ample room for interpretation and creativity. When to my delight I noticed that "Stitches" ( on Salt Spring Island would be hosting several workshops taught by Gloria, I jumped at the opportunity.

The workshop I participated in, called "Light Up Your Landscape", focused on mosaic tiling, a technique she has highlighted in her latest book "Radiant Landscapes" published by C & T Publishing Inc., 2013.

Gloria Loughman has written 3 books to date.
(See the list at the bottom of this page).

Along with discussing basic design and colour principles, Gloria introduced us to her method of mosaic tiling with fabric. Hundreds of tiny fabric tiles, in an assortment of shades and colours, carefully chosen to create the desired background effect, are all cut to the identical size and shape, and fused onto a solid fabric background. This creates the mosaic canvas on which to build the rest of the landscape.

"Fern Pool", (below), gracing the cover of her latest book "Radiant Landscapes", is a perfect example of this technique, where the graduated rectangular colour tiles create the intended backdrop for the trees and foliage of this forest setting. As you can see, these tiles are not randomly placed; there has been much fore thought and skill.

The cover quilt, "Fern Pool", was hanging center stage n the classroom.

Close-up of "Fern Pool", showing the detailed free motion machine embroidery Gloria used to add variation and texture to the surface of trunk.

Below are 3 more examples of  her work in which she has used the mosaic tiling technique.

"Cypress Trees of Florida", by Gloria Loughman.

"Early Morning at Mission Beach", by Gloria Loughman.

"The Baobob Trees of Madagascar" by Gloria Loughman.
Rectangular tiles placed on the diagonal develop the mood for this piece.

The next piece shows a variation of the mosaic process, where instead of the defined geometric shapes, Gloria has used fluid, linear lines to create her mosaic.

In this piece she has used linear mosaic piecing.

Although the "Light up your Landscape" workshop focused mainly on mosaic tiling, it is only one of a number of techniques Gloria uses in her work. In some of her work, hand painted fabrics provide the background canvas, as in the forest scene below.

A forest scene by Gloria on a hand painted background.

Gloria demonstrating the finishing of a wall hanging.

Because the gradation of colour is subtle, hand-dyed or hand painted fabrics, can also be used effectively as tiles in the development of the mosaic background to a landscape.

A sample made for class illustrating a richly painted sunset (or sunrise?) canvas.

Although this type of work takes me seriously out of my comfort zone, I appreciate the opportunity to expand my horizons and broaden my knowledge by participating in a workshop taught by one of the best in the field.  In my next blog entry, I will post a sampling of the work created by some of the students during the 2 day workshop.

The 3 books written by Gloria Loughman to date are:
"Luminous Landscapes", C & T Publishing, Inc., 2007
"Quilted Symphony", C & T Publishing, Inc., 2010
"Radiant Landscapes", C & T Publishing, Inc., 2013

All photographs of Gloria Loughman's work were taken by Elizabeth Janzen, and are posted to this blog with the permission of Gloria Loughman.


  1. Those quilts are incredible! Do you think you'll want to try your hand on a full size quilt?

    1. You're absolutely right; Gloria's quilts are amazing! I'm not so sure, however, if I'm ready to, or have the time to jump into another full size quilt right now. (Too many things on the list!!) I do hope to work on the little wall hanging that I started in her workshop and will post photos of the progress from time to time. Having said that, I do really like her technique and see it as a new challenge. I would love to spend some time working on it.

  2. I have not seen this new work from Gloria yet. It is wonderful! I love the effect with the tiled backgrounds, and the layers behind and in front of the tiles. That free form one looks very Group of Seven to me. Lucky you! Sounds like a great time.

    1. I do feel fortunate in having had the opportunity to learn this technique from Gloria and would gladly take another class with her in the future. It's fun to dabble in something so very different from what I normally do. It's a bit of a "reset/refresh" all on it's own.

      And now that you say it, the linear tiled mosaic does look somewhat "Group of Sevenish".