Quilts were draped throughout Irene Roy's house – on her furniture, her dining room table and in other locations.
One quilt was on display in her front yard.
It was a testament to her skill and her proficiency with her chosen art form.
Roy was among nearly a dozen artists who participated in the Self-Guided Arts Tour hosted by the Estevan Arts Council from August 16 to 18. Artists, art studios and arts-and culture-connected businesses and attractions in Estevan, Roche Percee and North Portal were part of the tour.
“It's easier to show your quilts in your own house, than to take them to a show,” said Roy.
Dozens of people dropped by during the three days to view her quilts and the other art creations that are inside her house.
“They seem to like the quilts,” she said.
Roy's quilts have been on display at a number of different events in the past, and she expects that she will continue to be part of future art shows. Most recently, she was the featured quilter at a show in Torquay in late June.
She has also been part of a quilt show through Heart and Hands Quilting Guide – a group that she has been a member of for years. When the Souris Valley and Museum placed quilts around the city two years ago through Culture Days celebrations, Roy was among the participants.
Roy has also been part of the domestics show that happens during the Estevan Fair each year.
Quilting has been a part of her life for about 30 years. She said she has been making things with her hands all her life, whether it be through painting, stitching, quilting or other art forms, and she's a firm believer that everybody needs an outlet for artistic expression.
“It's a satisfying way of fulfilling my creative self,” said Roy.
She started quilting after seeing pictures of quilts in magazines. She initially lacked patterns and top-of-the-line equipment, but atoned for their absence with ingenuity, a keen interest and a willingness to learn.
It also helps that she is a member of the Hearts and Hands guild. The group of nearly 20 women has a get-together every Thursday to sew, and they have a monthly meeting, except during the summer. Sessions are at the Estevan Alliance Church.
“It's very good to belong to a guild,” said Roy. “I've learned a lot more since I've joined a guild. I think it started about 12 years ago, and I think my skills have improved a lot since then.”
It's not just older women who are part of the guild, either. Several young women, including some newcomers to Canada, have signed up. Being part of the guild isn't just a way to learn how to sew, but it's also a way for the newcomers to learn English, Roy said.
Guild members have completed a number of collaborative projects. Some have been donated to charity. A quilt was completed in honour of the Saskatchewan Centennial in 2005; that quilt, which has a variety of patterns and designs that celebrate Saskatchewan's unique culture, hangs in Roy's basement.
Her art interests extend to other mediums. She remains avid in stitching, and a few years ago, she dabbled in batik, a unique and tricky art form that involves the use of wax and dyes. She would dip a light pink cloth into a deeper colour to create another colour.
"It's a succession of dying, drying and dipping again into another dye to make a colour," said Roy.
She started to batik after attending a workshop a few years ago. But it was a messy art form, and that's why she decided to try other art mediums. But there were some examples of her batik work in her basement for people who visited her house through the tour.
Roy also had some rhinoceroses that she stitched in fabric for people to view. Those rhinos required every form of stitching.
She decided to start stitching the animals after seeing some beautifully engraved rhinos on her way home from a holiday in Hawaii.
"I decided to make the rhinos also in fabric in stitching," she said.
It was her stitching that led her to work with fabric, and eventually evolved to her love of quilting.
Roy said that she was raised to keep busy and to find different ways to make good use of her time. Her quilting, and her other art forms, have ensured that has happened, especially since, in her words, she now has lots of time.