TN&TN collective member.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Feature Friday: Monika Kinner-Whalen / My Sweet Prairie

Hello!  I'm Monika Kinner-Whalen.  If you ever meet me, you'll need to practice saying that right.  It throws people for a loop when I introduce myself.  It goes like this:  Moe - nee - kah.  (Not Mawnicka).  
Monika Kinner-Whalen, Saskatoon SK

I live in Saskatoon with my family of 5, and I started the My Sweet Prairie blog about 2 years ago.  I'm a full time artist who quilts, embroiders, and is learning to hook.  I've been doing art since childhood.  Quilting started about five years ago.  I discovered fibre art 2 years after that.  I suppose my claim to fame is my prairie thread paintings based on local photographs that I take, as well as my love for 'art-to-mail' postcard.  
'Wish You Were Here # 42 (sold)
It all started when I returned back with great homesickness to the prairies after living near the mountains for a decade.  Out came my camera.  4,ooo photos later, I was given a stack of fibre art and quilting art magazines.  I had never heard those terms before.  I was SO excited because I never enjoyed other art mediums nearly as much as I love thread.  I jumped right in and have been swimming along happily every since.
I work from my own photos and stitch scenes I love... 'Spring Greens' in progress

I was asked to list my top three accomplishments in the past year.  If you read my blog, you know there are about four dozen things I could list.  I'll try though!

This baby was a personal dare to myself.  I heard the term 'quilted wearable' and POOF!  There was this vision of my art on a corset style dress.  I managed to pull it off last fall for our quilt show.  This was a GIGANTIC learning curve for me.  It was included in an exhibit with the Saskatchewan Craft Council this winter.  Now it's going to Halifax!  I just got word of it's acceptance into the National Juried Show with the Canadian Quilters' Association.  I am a bundle of jitters!

#2.  I Am Juried
Earlier this month, my work was accepted by a jury for the Saskatchewan Craft Council.  The whole point to that is that I am now credited with the term 'excellence in craft'.  It also gets my foot in the door for some juried members-only opportunities.  I am super-thrilled about this achievement.

#3.  Featured Artist for ANPT
This was pretty significant too!  Last year, the editor for A Needle Pulling Thread magazine asked if I would be one of the featured artists.  After picking myself up off the floor, I said "yes!!".  That feels like a long time ago, but the issue just came out last week!  It is beautiful - they did a terrific job.  It's hot off the press.  You can find it in Indigo, McNally Robinson Booksellers, and local needle arts shops too.  They ARE NOT in the supermarkets or grocery stores. 

Shortly after that article for ANPT was written, I started THIS blog - The Needle & Thread Network!  Case in point - you can't find Canadian content in any supermarkets or grocery store stands!  I wanted to gather us creative Canadians together to have a platform where we can see each others' work and show off our talent.  I came up with the name so that it would be diverse enough to cover all crafts in the field of fibre.  I didn't want all the WIP Wednesday traffic on my blog because this was not a tactic to get more followers.  My agenda was to find all those Canadian needles-in-the-haystack.  ; )  Here you are!  This is awesome.  I hope you are enjoying the Network as much as I am.
machine stitched and hand embroidered (sold)
My future includes more opportunities to teach creative sewing locally.  That's been fun!  I have three art exhibits booked annually, plus one BIG show in Winnipeg next year.  (Stay tuned!!!)  I'm constantly pestered to do video classes or make a book.   Some day!  It's all in my head... but that's as far as I've had time for up to now.  I will continue with my art and my guilds (Saskatoon Quilters' Guild & The Bridge City NeedleArts Guild under the EAC), and my three kids and my husband and my pets and my big messy house... and that is lots!  It a fun ride.  I was a full time social worker / trauma counselor in the 1990's.  My Husband was a 'computer guy'.  Now we are both entrepreneurs.  We're a very close and happy family, doing what we love.  It's all good!
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.


  1. Monika , your work is an inspiration and I am amazed how far you have come in such a short time , I am so looking forward to seeing your prairie dress in person in Halifax in May . Keep up the wonderful work!!

  2. Congratulations on a great year....and more exciting things to come!!

  3. Congrats on a fantastic year and more to come!

  4. This was great to read where and how you got started with your art. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishments!

  5. what a wonderful year you have had - here's to many more of them! Your work is so wonderful. I can't wait to see your dress in person in Halifax.

  6. Wonderful. Good luck with many great things in the future and then we can all say, "I remember her when she just started out."

  7. Wow and wow. Your prairie postcards are just amazing! I've lived in coastal BC for 18 years but I grew up in Calgary. To me there is nothing prettier than a great big prairie sky! And your prairie dress? *swoon* is fantastic! Just beautiful!

  8. Great feature, Monika. See you in Winnipeg. Can I have your autograph??? ;^)

  9. Great post. Congratulations on all you have accomplished this year:) I think it's fabulous that you have created this blog because there are so many talented Canadians and they need a forum to show what they do.I just wish more of them would join in and show us their stuff:)

  10. Sure am glad that you created the Needle and Thread Network -- I especially love to see fellow Canadian blogs... I too pine for the prairies, I started in Manitoba and then came to BC, but I will never go back, I just really dislike the cold winters... I go down to the ocean it gives me the feeling of the prairie so I am happy.
    Congratulations on your accomplishements this year - they take alot of work beforehand to reach those goals. Continue with that motivation and you will go far -- to Halifax anyway!

  11. Wow, what a year you've had! It is so interesting two read about people's lives, particularly that you were a social worker. When I was working,I taught adult Ed and worked closely with my student's workers.
    It looks like you'll have another busy and creative year coming up.

  12. Great post! And look at all the people going to Halifax! Count me in too!

  13. Hi Monika, it is so nice to hear about what excitement that stitching and quilting can bring to life. I enjoy reading your blog, and you are a great ambassador for the Prairies! Keep it up!

  14. You really are an inspiration! Thanks for telling this story, and for launching TNTN. I'm glad to hear we will get to see you in Winnipeg. I am practicing: Moe-nee-kah not Mawn-nee-kah!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.