Helen Benninger


Helen Benninger

Select PAst exhibits

Start the Holidays, Stratford
The Maker's Hand, Picton
The Wearable Art Show
The Dundas Studio Tour
+ more



I am a maker. I need to make things!  My tool of choice is a threaded needle. 

My mother and her mother sewed, and I was fascinated by the process from an early age. I watched my mother and bugged her to let me make things. I think she finally taught me to use her good old Singer sewing machine (which I now have and still use occasionally) so that she could get a little peace. I've been sewing and embroidering and beading and stitching one thing or another ever since.

The practical me went to university and got a teaching degree (dramatic arts & math).  The maker me sewed costumes in a number of theatres around Ontario including several seasons with the Stratford Festival. I alternated between one career and the other for about 25 years.

In 1993, on a leave of absence from teaching, armed with lots of old issues of Threads magazine, my extensive sewing knowledge and a trunk load of fabric scraps, I made my first quilt. I was very fortunate to find and join the York Heritage Quilters' Guild of Toronto in 1994. There I learned how to make a quilt easily and properly and began to experiment with my own designs.

I discovered Rosemary Eichorn's fabric collage techniques in Threads Magazine # 66. When my fellow quilt guild members saw my first fabric collage vest they made me teach it to them and another career was born. In 2005 I took a workshop with Australian quilt artist Olga Walters. It inspired the scrappy scarf. I have always loved scarves and after I made the first one I just kept making more...and more... and more…..

I have 3 Berninas and I just can't stop sewing...

One day at a sewing show a tiny packet of beads called my name.………  They shouted at me until I bought them.  They were lonely, being the only beads in the house, so I bought more to keep them company.  Then they insisted that I couldn’t just keep them in the drawer so I took a couple of beading courses…

Sewing is a never ending journey!

CV available upon request.