Colleen Payer – “Under the Covers”

Opening Reception 7-9 pm Monday, May 2

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Colleen Payer’s Bio

I was born on the north shore of Lake Superior in the town of Terrace Bay and our family moved to Deep River in 1964.

I have always loved fabric and loved to sew. My mother was a good seamstress and she was always encouraging and supportive. When I left home in 1971, I received a brand new Singer sewing machine for my 18th birthday. Starting out with few funds to buy fabric I became adept at making things fit and recreating and reinventing things.

In high school I was lucky enough to have Ruth Bishop as a sewing   teacher who showed me how to do things properly and Hazel Herriot as an art teacher who brought out my creative side. I went on to study Graphic Arts at Sheridan College and lived with a classmate who also loved to sew, was very creative and we remain friends to this day.

I made clothes to wear on a regular basis but I started quilting when I was in my mid 20’s and expecting a child. I thought I would attempt to make a quilt for our child to be, it was a very simple Sunbonnet Sue and Sam, mostly applique. I had finished the quilt when we discovered we were expecting two babies not one and I finished a second quilt with a pre-printed top after they were born.

Very busy with two babies I didn’t do much quilting but I did continue to sew and embroider and to fuel my passion for creativity. I spotted a simple quilt on the front cover of the Canadian Living Magazine and they happened to be selling most of the fabrics at “Atkin’s Fabric and Yarn” in Chalk River at the time so I attempted it. I hand quilted it which took a long time but was a great learning process and I needed to take that journey.

I have tried many forms of creative expression, Traditional Rug Hooking, English Smocking, Crewelwork, Felted Wool, Watercolour Painting to name a few but I always come back to fabric. I find pleasure in just seeing and touching fabric in a store setting and if I don’t have a quilt in mind I usually find some inspiration. I also love the purr of the sewing machine. I have two machines a 35 year old Husqvarna and a 1946 Singer Featherweight, you do not need a fancy machine to create quilts.   

If there is one thing I am not, it is a perfectionist. I have too many ideas swimming in my head to spend my time trying to be perfect, I need to bring those ideas to fruition.

Please do not examine my work with a magnifying glass looking for perfect technique, you will not find it, just enjoy the collection, find something that appeals to you.

Colleen Payer has recently retired after 20 years working locally as a Realtor with Re/Max. In 2008 she became a member of the DRDH Foundation having previously sat on both the Deep River Police Board and the Renfrew County Real Estate Board. Colleen has an interest in People, Art, Music, Nature and Travel.