Laurel Francis began quiltmaking in the early 1980s exploring a craft that was a hobby of her grandmother. From the onset, Francis was not satisfied to be a traditional quiltmaker so she studied quiltmaking techniques with leading quilt artists and innovators that would allow her to be innovative and push the boundaries of the craft. She is also a fibre artist.
Francis’ original quilt designs quickly drew the attention of the quilt community in Calgary and she was asked to showcase her work in several local shows. She began teaching and giving special quiltmaking workshops at local fabric shops in Calgary (Fabric Cottage and Traditional Pastimes). In addition, her original quilt patterns were picked up by several quilt shops and several of her designs were featured in local and national fabric magazines. Francis established her own design company Shaggy Dog Designs (1997) as a business platform to design, create and market her work as well as offer workshops. The popularity of her Shaggy Dog Designs in part led to her founding Fibre Arts Week- an annual celebration of fibre arts that featured a week of workshops, exhibits in her hometown of Pincher Creek which she produced for four editions 2010-2014.
In 2006 Nova Scotia based artist/curator Woods chanced upon one of Francis’ quilts through on of her siblings who lived in the province. Woods invited Francis to submit work to two exhibitions Visions in African Nova Scotian Art (2006, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia) and Our Ancestor’s Garden (2007, a touring exhibition of the Black Artists Network of Nova Scotia). In 2011 Francis participated in The Secret Codes- a collaborative exhibition between Woods (quilt designs) and a collective of 11 mostly Nova Scotian quiltmakers. The exhibition was a hit of the 2012 Quilt Canada national conference in Halifax and has been touring galleries ever since. Francis work with Woods and the African Nova Scotian quiltmakers introduced her to the world of art gallery exhibitions widened the vision of her work as an artform and vehicle of African Canadian cultural expression. It also began Francis’ interest in creating quilts for gallery exhibitions- a path that the artist is now fully engaged in.
Fine Art Gallery Exhibitions
Picher Creek, Alberta since 1990