Thursday, 10 May 2018

Quilt Canada 2019

I got word this week that my application to teach and give my Backpack Lecture at Quilt Canada, 2019 was accepted!
I am thrilled, humbled, and terrified all at the same time.
I've been working wildly on more Double Disappearing Nine Patch variations and will get them posted here very soon.  Some of them are pretty traditional (for me), and a couple take my breath away.
Life is good!

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

I Am


I Am

I remember the first time I thought that I might be.
It didn’t make sense that I was.
But how was I to know?

I wasn’t a hair dresser, or a florist, or a cross dresser.
They were the only ones I knew. I wasn’t like them.
So, I couldn’t be.

Maybe everyone had the same feelings as me. Felt like me.
That would make me normal.
And I lived my life as if I was.  Normal.

I dated. Women
I married and bought a house.
It was all as it should be.

Once I fell in love.  With a man.
We had a torrid affair.
And again, I thought that I might be.

But I had an infant son.
And I couldn’t be.
Dads couldn’t be.  It was 1975.

So, I forgot about it.  For the most part.
I remembered to straighten my wrist when the topic came up. Deepen my voice.
I acted more like a man. And I wasn’t.

Time passed. Years passed.
The world changed. I changed.
I rarely wondered if I was.  I knew.

One night, standing on a bridge. Contemplating.
I knew that I had to be. To go on. To survive.
And so … I am.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

For Baby and Me

'For Baby and Me'
48" x 60"

The last quilt that I made, 'It's a Breeze', was actually pretty challenging for me.  
The challenge ... to keep it traditional and regular.  No 'funny stuff' in that one!  
That's not my usual style, but I like the end result!

This one is made with my friend Kelly Panacci's wonderful fabric line, Panda Love, by Ryley Blake Designs.  The fabric is the part 'for baby'.
'And me' ... the asymmetry, the partial border, the odd block ... :-)
This one was so much fun to do!

This will eventually be included as a pattern for my Double Disappearing Nine Patch Workshop.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

'It's A Breeze'

Well that was quick!
Dropped it off yesterday morning and it is done by this afternoon.
And it looks amazing.

Here, it is shown on a king size bed because we don't have a queen bed in the house.
On a queen bed, the blue sashing would be at the edge on top of the mattress and there would be a 12" drop.
Quilting by 
Deanna Gaudaur

'It's A Breeze' ... a pattern featuring the Double Disappearing Nine Patch

'It's a Breeze' ... 85" x 108" ... too big for my design wall, so backyard photos!
This quilt is more traditional than most that I make, but I needed a traditional version for my 'Double Disappearing Nine Patch Variations' class that I teach.  I hope to have the pattern available over the summer.

It's a breeze ... refers to how easy the quilt was, how it reminds me of clouds blowing around in the sky, and of how wonderfully easy it is for me to live this life.

It is with my quilter, Deanna Gaudaur , so that she can work her usual magic.
ShweShwe fabric is from Meerkat Shweshwe
I LOVE to work with shweshwe!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

National Juried Show at Quilt Canada 2018

 At the end of February, while in Tasmania (I know ... my life is amazing), I got notice from the Canadian Quilters' Association that three of my quilts entered in the National Juried Show at Quilt Canada, had been juried into the show.
I am humbled beyond words.

Here they are ...

Art - Abstract category

Change is like a constantly churning cog.  If I accept changes, it turns faster and faster, until it envelops me.  As it continues to speed up, it hurls me through open doors that lead into the unknown, and the grandness of my life continues to grow.

Quilts From Patterns/Books/Workshops category

(Skils for creating this design were developed in a class with Jacquie Gering)

On August 15, 1997, I began living a new life as a gay man.  On August 15, 2017, during a design class, there was a realization of anniversary, and I created this block using rust dyed fabric.  This quilt is an acknowledgement of the glorious changes over those twenty years.

Modern category

Telling a story with simplicity and clarity has been a goal of mine.  Inspired by the simplicity of Georgia Okeeffe's 'Winter Road', and the clarity of Joni Mitchell's 'River', this is my attempt.  I have had a river.  And I have skated away.  That is the story.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Catching Up ... Canada 150 Quilts For Grand Kids

I made each of my grand children a quilt to commemorate Canada's 150 Celebration of Confederation.  I better post them all together here, so that they don't get forgotten!
For each of them, I used the 'With Glowing Hearts' line of fabric, designed by the young and amazingly talented Grace Noel.  I love the energy in her designs!

Each of these quilts is a variation of a traditional double disappearing nine patch block.





Thursday, 11 January 2018

The Colour of Night

This one is a labour of love.  All of the fabric is my own hand dyed fabric.  It is also made using my Double Disappearing Nine Patch Variation block.

The Colour of Night

I love the night. 
In the still of its darkness; in the quiet; in the calm ... there is a peace.
And there is always light ... from the heavens ... and from within us all.

From that light comes ... the colour of night.

Boys Just Want to Have Fun

These two quilts are on their way to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, in Golden Colorado for the Biennial Men's Quilt Show.

Honoured to be included in this show. 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

My Christmas Quilt

In June, I took a class with Victoria Findlay Wolf.  More on that in another post, but suffice to say ... it was an amazing experience and I learned a LOT.  I also got to visit her shop and came home with some awesome 'Christmas' Fabric.  It is her Green and Red line.  Check it out in her on-line store Victoria Findlay Wolf Quilts.

This quilt is my first ever Christmas quilt. I love it because it doesn't SCREAM Christmas and I can use it all year.  I also LOVE lime green.

I tell folks that this one is called 'Unexpected Interuptions', which is the story of the season ...
but ...
for my Canadian friends, the REAL name for this one is 'Dave Cooks the Turkey'.
As Canadians, we know that THAT is the real story of the season!

Monday, 2 October 2017


Days before his eighth birthday my Grandson told me … “My Dad doesn't think that you act your age Grandpa.'  
In an attempt to discover how old I do act we continued to chat.  
We discovered that we had similarities. 
We both like to get our own way; we both get grabby when we’re tired;  we both like to eat ice cream;  we both like Lego and making things;  we both  tease our sisters;  we both laugh when we hear farts; and  we both have no intention of kissing a girl.  
Our conclusion … we are both eight!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

'August 15th ... a Tale of 20 Years'

Back from my quilter, Deanna Gaudaur, where it was made into a 'silk purse' ...

On August 15th, 1997, at the age of 47, I rented an apartment on my own, and began living a new life as a gay man.
Twenty years later, on August 15th, 2017, while taking a design class with the amazing Jacquie Geering there was a realization of anniversary, and I created this block using rust dyed fabric.
This quilt is not an attempt to pass judgement on any part of my life ... it was good before and it continues to be good now.
It is just an attempt to celebrate the fact that my life thrives through change.
My life has been an adventure! May this continue through the next 20 years.

Friday, 14 July 2017

I Wish I Had a River I Could Skate Away On

''Winter Road'' 
by Georgia Okeeffe

I Wish I Had a River I Could Skate Away On
Designed and pieced by Bill Stearman
Hand-guided long arm quilted by Deanna Gaudaur

I am so impressed with Georgia Okeeffe’s ‘Winter Road’. 
For me, it represents the greatest lesson that I need to learn with my own art … to simplify.  In this painting, she has removed layers and layers of detail, until all that remains is line.  And the power of that simple, gentle, and beautiful line, tells a story that Georgia had no words for.
I start so many pieces with grand ideas of how the quilt will tell the story, yet much of the time they just fail … until I pull away the layers, and the details, and the excess. Until only the story is left.
Joni Mitchell is another of my favourite artists.  For me, she always has the words to tell my stories, simply, without all the layers. 
Looking at Georgia Okeeffe’s ‘Winter Road’ has always made me think about Joni Mitchell’s song (poem) ‘River”.
This quilt is my attempt to tell a part of my own story, using Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ … simply …  in a way that is inspired by Georgia Okeefe’s ‘Winter Road’.

And happily, I have skated away on that river.

And the back is pretty cool as well!

Monday, 26 June 2017


Dear Bill,
Congratulations! Your quilt Reflections of the Sydney Opera House has been selected for inclusion in the special exhibit Tactile Architecture™ 2017. This year was a difficult year for the jurors because so many beautiful quilts were submitted.

I am absolutely thrilled and humbled that this quilt will At the International Quilt Festival in Houston this Fall, along with one of my other quilts ... It's Cloud Illusions I Recall, which will be in the Celebration of Colour special exhibit.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Reflections of the Sydney Opera House

Artist's Statement

While in Australia recently, I fell absolutely and totally in love with the Sydney Opera House.  

I dragged my poor husband onto boats, through gardens, up a bridge, across a harbour, into a train station, onto a roof top, and to a zoo ... just so that I could view and photograph it from all angles!

Of all the views captured with my camera, I love this iconic view of the sails of the Opera House best.  The sails are traced from an enlarged copy of one of my own photographs.  To me, this view captures the grandeur of the structure, as it reflects over and over in the waters of Sydney Harbour, and in the hearts and minds of visitors from all corners of the world.

There is the most amazing and positive energy under the sails of this UNESCO World Heritage site and I never tired of viewing or visiting it.  For me, it needed to be incorporated into a quilt that I could wrap myself up in.

With this quilt I have attempted to capture how stunning the Sydney Opera House is.

The ‘water’ is my own hand dyed indigo fabric.  The ‘sails’ are from fabric designed by Australian, Shauna Scicluna.  Jorn Utzon, the designer of the Opera House said that his design was inspired by the ‘simple act of peeling an orange’, so the orange fabric colour seemed perfect.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

What's Next?

While in Australia, I fell absolutely and totally in love with the Sydney Opera House.
To me, it is quilt, after quilt, after quilt, waiting to be made!

I dragged poor Larry onto boats, through gardens, up a bridge, across a harbour, into a train station, and to a zoo ... just so that I could view and photograph it from all angles!

And from all of those different angles and views, this is the one that I've decided to capture in a quilt first!

I realise that it is the 'standard' Opera House photo ... but it just seems to say ... 

I'll keep you posted if my idea gels!

Playing With Japanese Fabrics

I have this wonderful bin of Japanese fabrics that I've collected, mostly from my friends at Kallisti Quilts.
I had no idea what I'd ever do with them.

Then, I came across Tula Pink's City Sampler book on a shelf in my studio, and an idea began to gel.

I don't usually like patterns ... or projects that take a long time ... but this idea is totally fun!

Tula Pink is known for her bright, modern colours.  
So ... I decided that the dichotomy of a Tula  quilt ... made with traditional Japanese fabrics ... would definitely keep me smiling.

I'm doing the blocks whenever I have just a few minutes to sew, and as a warm-up exercise before longer sewing sessions.

Here are the first nine blocks out of the 100.
I can't believe how much I am enjoying this!

Jet Lagged

'Jet Lagged'

I had the strips for this quilt cut out before we left for a month in Australia.
The plan was that it would be fairly regular in layout.

After a month away from my machine, I went at it like a mad fool the first day home.

And then ... jet lag set in.  
I have difficulty putting the concept of jet lag into words ... but this quilt pretty much sums it up for me.

It is ready for my quilter, Deanna Gaudaur.

'It Should Be as Simple as This'

'It Should Be As Simple As This'

I made this quilt for the Threads of Resistance Show.  Deanna Gaudaur ( ) did an amazing job with the quilting.

The response to the Threads of Resistance Show was phenomenal.  They had over 500 entries, for 62 spaces.

Mine was not selected for the show, but all of the quilts entered in the show, and the artist statements, are posted on the Threads of Resistance website.

The folks running this show get top marks from me for the class that they have shown with this event!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Sacred Threads

'At Peace' and 'The Rest of the Story' have been juried into the 2017 Sacred Threads show in Herndon, Virginia.
I am thrilled and humbled.

The Art of Changing the World

These three quilts were selected for display in 'The Art of Changing the World' show, at the Core Gallery, during the Downtown Belleville DocFest.

My World 

 This quilt started as play at a men's quilting retreat in Vermont, using up bits left over from other quilts.  As it grew, it quickly took on a life of its own, and it began to tell about my own life.
I live with Attention Deficit Disorder and the variety in colour, the randomness, the undisciplined nature of the arrangement, the pops of bright colours, the irregular and irrational shape, the movement and flow, the joy ... all captured in a sea of happiness ... that is my world; the way my world feels to me.
I smiled all the time that I worked on this quilt, and I still smile when I look at it today.  It always reminds me that ... life is good.

 Reconciliation: a Father and Son Story

 I was an odd child and certainly not what my father had expected.  We weren't close. There were no obvious signs of affection between us; from either of us. It was like we had both given up the other, for the good of the family; keeping up appearances.

At the age of 47, I came out to my father. By then, he was widowed, blind, and living alone in a retirement home. I travelled to Edmonton to tell him face to face.

That visit was life altering for both of us. We talked for hours about the moments that we hadn't shared; the little things that mattered; our secret dreams. For the first time in my life, I understood, what I had sensed others were feeling, when they spoke of their fathers. During the remaining four years of his life, I visited whenever I could, and we spoke almost daily. We were father and son.

I will never forget saying good bye to my father after that visit. He hugged me, and told me for the first time in my memory, that he loved me … and then sobbed ... “If I had only known. If I had only known. Think how different our lives might have been.”

This quilt is my attempt to tell that story.

Comfort and Joy 

The fabric in this quilt is my favourite to work with.  It is an African batik fabric, hand-made in small batches. No piece is longer than a few metres.  It is made in Tanzania by a woman who supports her family by selling this fabric to fair trade dealers.  
It changes her world everyday.
When I work with this fabric, I know that she was happy and I can hear her humming.  The energy is so positive.
I do my best to add my own positive energy when I work with this fabric by free hand cutting the pieces within the blocks. 
When I wrap myself in this quilt, I am always comforted by her joy.

International Quilt Festival ... 'A Celebration of Color'

This quilt was juried into the 'Celebration of Color' exhibition that will first appear at International Quilt Festival, Chicago, in April. 

It will tour with IQF, and be returned in December, 2019.



This quilt reflects on my life. 

To say that my life has been a colorful one is an understatement. Certainly, it has been disjointed and chaotic. And much of what I remember is hazed over, as if by clouds. But always there has been color … brilliant, joyous, vibrant, shining through the cracks color! Color is what got me through the times when … 'clouds got in the way.'

Sometimes I wonder if Joni Mitchell was right and it is only 'cloud illusions I recall'. I guess it doesn't really matter, as long as I can have color.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

My Left Brain


104" X 113"

Quilted by Deanna Gaudaur,