September 28-29, 2019 Weekend Workshop: Natural Imagery in Cheesecloth

This innovative course gives an insight into the skills of employing cheesecloth to depict natural imagery onto textiles. You will learn how to translate your ideas into representational or abstract images with the assistance of photographs or sketches and how to apply the finished images to a background fabric. This course is designed for those who enjoy experimentation and new methods of using colour, texture and a variety of techniques and processes. All levels of experience are welcome.

The first day, all students will be given a simple tree pattern to learn the basic techniques. On the second day, students will work on independent projects building on what they have learned.

We will be focusing on the cheesecloth technique, not sewing. The appliqué stage will be explained and demonstrated in the class, but students will complete that step at home between classes, so sewing machines do not need to be transported to the studio.

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Saturday and Sunday, 11am-5pm

Contemporary Textile Studio Co-op 401 Richmond St W, Toronto

Registration is now open.

Haliburton July 1-5, 2019

Lovely group of students who learned a ton, laughed a lot and had a fantastic week at Fleming College.

Cheesecloth Imagery on Fabric students 2019

Cheesecloth Imagery on Fabric students 2019

Calgary Visit May 27-31, 2019

Wonderful visit in Calgary. Had an amazing group of students in the workshop and a great turnout for the Trunk Show on the evening of Thursday, May 30 at Foothills Mennonite Church.

Private commission

Private commission

Summer Camp for Grownups is on! Join me in Haliburton in 2019.

Cheesecloth Imagery - July 1 - 5, 2019

Experience the magic of a week in Haliburton: Architecturally inspiring campus - Creative energy - Faculty exhibition, entertainment, and art talks - Self-guided walk-about exhibitions - Local galleries, shops, studios, and the Haliburton Sculpture Forest

Here is what Cheesecloth Imagery students have said about the class:

Mary was a warm, down-to-earth person - she took time needed to help each and everyone. I felt out of place at the beginning ... for about 1 hour and then it was full speed ahead. The classroom was perfect with perfect amount of students. Her teaching skills are that of a mother: patient, knowledgeable, welcoming and positive attitude at all times.”

”Mary Pal is an exceptional communicator and teacher. Not only does she facilitate a fluid and compassionate learning environment but brings out the best in all of her students. This course was exhilarating and refreshing - a must-have at Haliburton!”

”Fantastic! Awesome! Mary is an excellent teacher and I learned so much! She was particularly adaptive to student needs .... She was inspiring, thoughtful and incredibly generous - an instructor who I would come back for again and again.”

”Very well organized! Excelent examples - wonderful teaching skills - use of various teaching methods - extremely knowledgeable - well timed. Gave me the ability to produce wonderful new art in a medium I otherwise would not have experienced.”

”Mary is one of the best skilled teachers I have had the pleasure to learn with. She works with group dynamics, professional and seamless in her understanding of teaching techniques. She is positive, flexible, supportive, inclusive, professsional. (I am an educator and leader).”

What is the workshop about?

Cheesecloth - a humble medium with unexpected and remarkable creative potential! Beginning with simple exercises exploring figurative imagery – portraits, landscapes, animals - or abstract designs, you will then select a specific image to create a larger piece. Master the fundamentals of composition by playing with cheesecloth and glue, learning about value, transparency, and contrast. Discover new ways to include a variety of textures in your fibre art. The focus is on black and white for dramatic results, though you will see how you can add colour with paint, ink or dye. Learn how to adjust photos - or choose from thousands of copyright-free online images - on a laptop or tablet using simple computer programs and apps, or even a photocopier. Understanding that not everyone is comfortable with technology, the instructor can, with your guidance, prepare your pattern to design the composition and imagery for your main project. Sew as much or as little as you want. Finished pieces could be machine quilted or hard-mounted on stretcher bars. Visual presentations, the instructor’s significant collection of completed cheesecloth pieces, and art quilts will inspire and demonstrate every step of the process.

September 2018

Have moved to Toronto and thrilled to be working out of the Contemporary Textile Studio Co-op at 401 Richmond. Due to my upcoming exhibitions in October, which will keep me out of the country for most of the month, I am taking a sabbatical from teaching (other than my previously booked workshops). This will allow me to spend more time in the studio producing new work. I will post pieces in my gallery as they are completed. Thank you for your interest in my work!

Summer 2018

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Elora, ON

July 8, 2018

I'll be Back teaching in Haliburton in 2018! Hope you can join me - July 16-20 AND/OR August 6-10  


An experience like no other...

Hope you can join me for a glorious week at the Haliburton School of Art + Design

I  am delighted to be returning to the breathtaking Haliburton School of Art & Design to teach for five art-filled days learning how to use cheesecloth to sculpt portraits and landscapes, how to add colour with Neocolor II wax pastels, and how to finish and display textile art. A week in Haliburton is a week you will never forget - a retreat like no other. I am looking forward to connecting with fibre art afficionados near and far and spending a week enjoying the beauty of the Haliburton campus and creating wonderful art!


Cheesecloth Imagery on Fabric (July 16-20, 2018)

Learn to use cheesecloth fibres to portray transparency and contrast

Learn to use cheesecloth fibres to portray transparency and contrast

Textiles – Imagery to Art (August 6-10, 2018)

Discover the pure joy of creating your own compositions using textiles as your medium, learning surface design techniques and experimenting with a variety of processes to create original fibre art. Hands-on painting and printing techniques – including foiling, gold leaf, stamping, stenciling and resists on assorted textiles using a variety of paints – are complemented by learning the basics of the visual language of art.

Painted andd stitched on canvas fabric

Painted andd stitched on canvas fabric

We will take advantage of our location in the beautiful Haliburton Highlands with a trek to take photographs for inspirational imagery (using your phone or digital camera…or a sketchbook) and to collect leaves and grasses for printing; back in the classroom, you will learn how to look at your subject matter, analyze it, abstract it and translate it to fabric using several different methods to help you accomplish your goals.

Through demonstrations, group discussions and individual critiques, you will learn to work intuitively using a camera or sketchbook, a computer or tablet, or a sewing machine (optional) to manipulate imagery and design compelling compositions. Guided, creative free time is balanced with clear and structured exercises throughout the workshop. Each participant creates one or two larger works along with several small studies. These studies may become completed projects and/or works-in-progress. All levels.

Note: This is not a quilting class, though that is one method of completing fibre art. It is possible to take this workshop without a sewing machine, but the supply list will suggest alternative products for finishing artworks.

Past Workshops

The Mane Event

Sunday, March 19, 2017 - 12:30 - 4:30 pm

at Carriageway Studios, Almonte

An adventure in colour and texture on fabric

Cost: $75 (includes all supplies)

Remember Colour by Number? This is almost that easy, so it is perfect even for someone who has never painted on fabric before. Complete beginners will learn how easy it is to add flowing colour to fabric with water-soluble wax pastels and then embellish with texture by adding sculpted cheesecloth for the mane. Then you will mount your finished piece on  an 11x14 canvas panel to take home, ready for framing. 

I will provide you with the pattern, show you both my trademark technique of sculpting cheesecloth for the mane and teach you how to achieve a luminous watercolour look on fabric. No sewing required!

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June 5-9, 2017

CEG London, Western University, London Ontario

5-day Workshop:  Cheesecloth Imagery on Fabric

July 10-14, 2017

Haliburton School of the Arts, Fleming College, Haliburton Ontario

5-day Workshop:  Cheesecloth Imagery on Fabric

Recent  Workshops

October 15-16, 2016

Espanola Fibre Arts Festival 

Lecture: One Artist's Journey, October 15, 7:00-8:00 pm

Workshop: Cheesecloth Sculpted Landscapes 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

October 27, 2016

Thousand Island Quilt Guild

Lecture: Accidental Artist, October 27, 7:00-8:00 pm

November 5, 2016

Carriageway Studios, Almonte

Workshop: Cheesecloth Portraits 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

November 15-16, 2016

York Heritage Quilters Guild

Lecture: Accidental Artist, November 15, 7:00 - 8:00 pm

Workshop: Introduction to Cheesecloth Portraiture, November 16, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm

November 19-20, 2016

Common Thread Quilt Guild

Workshop:  Cheesecloth Portraits and More, November 19-20, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

December 4, 2016

Carriageway Studios, Almonte

Workshop: Paintstiks from Start to Finish, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm



Received my complimentary copy of Art Quilting Studio in the mail today. It is such a beautiful publication and the article about my work is so thoughtfully written.  I feel quite honoured to be included.  Not sure if it is available in Canada, though.... I'll be looking! 

Quilt Canada 2016

June 15-16, 2016

June 15-16, 2016

Art Quilt Elements

Excited to be getting ready to attend the opening of Art Quilt Elements in Philadelphia at the end of this month:

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2016 Teaching Schedule:

My teaching schedule for the next while looks something like this.  I will add others as contracts become finalized.

Tuesday, April 12-Lecture: Getting From Here to There-Orleans, ON - Common Thread Quilters Guild

Monday, April 18-Lecture: One Artist’s Journey-Almonte, ON - Almonte Quilt Guild

Friday, May 6-Vernissage: Fiberart International-Pittsburgh, PA - Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

Sunday, May 15-Vernissage: My Corner of the World: Canada-Stratford, ON - Stratford Museum

Tuesday, May 24-Workshop: Cheesecloth Portraiture-Perth, ON - Lanark County Quilters Guild

Wed/Thurs, June 15-16-Workshop: Landscape Basics-Toronto, ON - Canadian Quilters Association

Fri/Sat, June 17-18-Sculpting and Painting the Natural World With Textiles-Toronto, ON - Canadian Quilters Association

August 8-12-Workshop: Cheesecloth Imagery on Fabric-Haliburton, ON -  Haliburton School of Art & Design

October 14-16-Workshop & Lecture - Cheesecloth Sculpted Landscapes - Espanola, ON - Espanola Fibre Arts Festival

November 15-16-Workshop: Sculpting in Cheesecloth-Toronto, ON - York Quilters Guild



March 2015
I am delighted to have been invited to participate in the "Contemporary Fiber: Breaking Tradition" exhibition at the Lore Degenstein Gallery at Susquehanna University in PA.  I'll be there for opening night on April 11th!

December 2014
I was honoured to be invited by Sheila Frampton-Cooper to participate in the Vision Quilt Museum's exhibition "Expressions of Equality," running January 17 - April 5, 2015. A sneak peek of my entry, entitled "The Other 1%," which is concerned with socioeconomic equality, can be seen on the Welcome page of my site. The finished piece is now in the Portraits section of the Portfolio. 

November 2014
My piece "Equus" is featured in an article in Machine Quilting Unlimited Nov/Dec issue.

October 2014
My piece "Precious Time" is featured in an article in British Patchwork & Quilting November issue.

August 2014
My work is featured in an article in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine's Aug/Sept issue.

October 2014
The Celebrating Silver exhibit opens at the Houston International Quilt Festival, which includes "Precious Time."

September 2014
Lovely three-page spread of my work in Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine.

August 2014
Teaching in Brazil, first in Curitiba at the 2014 Quilt & Craft Show sponsored by Janome, and then to Studio Q in Porto Alegre.

August 2014
Six of my works have been selected for Viewpoints 9 exhibitions:

  • Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza, Sept. 18-21, 2014

  • QuiltFest Oasis Palm Springs October 2-4, 2014

  • International House, Davis April 8 - May 6, 2015

July 2014
My solo exhibition, Conversational Threads: Impressions in Fibre, opens at the Shenkman Arts Centre.

March 2014
My work will be included in 1000 Quilt Inspirations by Sandra Sider, to be released in early 2015.

May 2014
Invited to teach at Quilting by the Lake, July 20-24, 2015: Sculpting with Cheesecloth and Cheesecloth Portraits.

January, 2014
Invited to participate in special exhibition "Expressions in Equality" to open January 2015 at Visions Quilt Museum, San Diego.

September 16, 2013
Art Quilt Matters interviewed me on the topic of "What is an Art Quilt?" and published it today on their blog

September 1, 2013 
Just learned that two of my works will be included in Linda Seward's upcoming book, The Ultimate Guide to Art Quilt Techniques.