Meet Hilary Rice

Hilary Rice is an award-winning Canadian textile and mixed media artist, for a start.  She is also an art quilt pattern designer, publishing under the label Mother Earth Designs.  She teaches, she lectures, she judges – and this week she’s been doing all of these things in Toronto for the York Heritage Quilters Guild.

I first met Hilary in May 2009 while we were both attending Part 1 of the Canadian Quilters Association’s Quilt Judge Certification Program in Saskatoon SK.  Hilary lives in Corner Brook NL – over 2,000 km (1,500 miles) from where I live in Ontario!  But we started corresponding by email, and met again a couple times this past spring – at Quilt Canada in Calgary AB and later in Ontario when Hilary was here teaching.  We found a lot of common ground – as quilters often do – and have started a lovely, albeit long-distance, friendship.

Hilary graduated from Queen’s University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Education.  She completed her Bachelor of Education a year later at the University of Toronto and attained a Specialist Certificate in Music in 1982.  People often notice the influence of music on Hilary’s textile art, saying that her work virtually sings!  Hilary feels that “in a mysterious and profound way, my music and my art are deeply connected.  A beautifully orchestrated melody makes my soul soar, equal to the sensation which overwhelms me as I seek to create its equivalent in fibre”.

Her fiber art is beautifully orchestrated.  Hilary composes with a wide variety of materials, including metal, paper, foils, leather, felt, gauze, and even plastic shopping bags.  She loves to discover the wonderful textures that result from applying heat, but admits to hearing many nervous giggles in her workshops when she brings out her blowtorch!

Hilary’s art has been exhibited extensively in galleries as well as quilt and textile shows.  This year alone, her three-panel piece “The Go Between” received the Viewer’s Choice Award at the Grand National Quilt Show.  And her amazingly detailed “Gaerbhyth – Ambassador for Peace”  was displayed at the Canadian National Juried Show in May.  It is the cornerstone for a new series of work, called Rare Reflections, which will exhibit March – April 2011 at the Craft Council of NL, St. John’s NL.

Quite rare for a fiber artist, Hilary also designs and markets a line of art quilt designs for Mother Earth Studios.  Patterns and kits are available from Bytowne Threads.  I really like her floral patterns (I would, wouldn’t I?), especially “Morning Glory”.

Hilary teaches workshops all across Canada, and will be one of the featured instructors at Quilt Ontario 2011.  While she was at York Heritage Quilters Guild this week, she taught “Easy-Peasy Curves: The Basics in Top-stitch Curved Piecing” and “All Wrapped Up: Creation of a Book Wrap”.  I attended the latter class, so stay tuned next week to see what I came up with!

Hilary feels that the flow of creativity is endless, and I agree.  She states, “wherever life takes me, I am sure it will involve sharing from the well of creativity, which comes from the depth of my being”.  I look forward to seeing where her journey takes her next and sharing the creative path alongside her.

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  1. Audrey MacKay says:

    Just wanted to write and tell you that I recently did one of Hilary’s patterns (Day and Night), and I was very glad that I had the opportunity. I am currently finishing the day one and I can’t wait to get started on the Night one. You see, I have never done one like this and I was very intimidated to see all that was involved, but our instructor was very good and made it all seem very exciting. I am really glad that I bought the pattern and took the class.
    You see when it comes to the sewing machine I am very much a novice at it. I know the basic stitch and that’s about it.
    I would very much like to buy more of Hilary’s patterns when I see them in stores. It’s people like her that keep people eager to quilt. I would just like to thank her for what she does.

  2. Marie Black says:

    Hello Hillary

    I met with Marnie last Saturday at a meeting for Northern Ontario Fibre Artists. She brought her book cover with her, talked about her class with you and the Fearless Designer project. It all sounds very interesting and exciting.
    Have fun.


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