Singer Songwriter Storyteller Quilter Teacher
If I had a voice like yours, I'd sing all the time!
Peter Gzowski, CBC Radio, Canada
Cathy and John
Photo by Deddeda Stemler
For a short biography, suitable for introductions, click here.
Canadian singer/songwriter Cathy Miller used to be a folksinger with a slightly jazzy bent. She performed at folk festivals, clubs and house concerts all across Canada and released five CDs of her music. She was a member of Trilogy (with Eileen McGann and David K), touring a very successful Christmas show each year called Two Thousand Years of Christmas. After growing up in London, Ontario, she started her career in Ottawa, moved to Calgary Alberta in 1990
and in 2000 to Victoria BC, where she now lives.
But that was before.
Now, Cathy and her husband John Bunge (a former member of The Gumboots from Yellowknife) travel the world, singing for quilting events, guild meetings and shows, and she is known as The Singing Quilter. To date, they have performed for 700 quilting guilds and events on three continents. That's an audience of over 60,000 quilters in all!!!
They are having the time of their lives.
What Started it All
There weren’t many songs about quilting available when she first started this project back in 1991. Cathy was hired to write music for a play about quilting when Quilt Canada was held in Ottawa, and, with playwright Peggy Sample, set about reading every quilting book in the library. As part of her research, Cathy took a quilting class, and she was hooked.
The tales surrounding quilt history are fascinating, and tell a story of womens lives that dont often make it into the history books. Cathy delights in finding and writing songs about unusual and wonderful stories about quilts, such as Australias Rajah Quilt, made by female convicts aboard a ship bound for Van Diemens Land in 1841.
Cathy released her first CD of 12 quilting songs, One Stitch at a Time, in September of 2000.
Since then, she and John have been touring almost non-stop, throughout North America and the UK, and in Australia and New Zealand, singing for quilters.
They collected so many stories from quilters along the way that A Quilters Embrace" with another 14 songs was released in July of 2002 .
And in August 2004, another 16 songs on "A Quilter's World".
"In the Heart of a Quilt" was recorded in summer 2006.
The newest CD, "Little Crazy Quilt", was released in October 2010. And the stories keep on coming...
That's why, in 2011 Cathy wrote and published a songbook, featuring 68 songs from all five quilting CDs.
For years, she had been collecting stories that were wonderful, but not appropriate for new songs.
She was learning more about songs she had already written, and she wanted to capture the complete stories in one place.
While she was at it, she decided to score all the songs, with the guitar chords she uses,
in case people wanted to sing along with her.
And because she's a quilter too, she included some instructions on how to make things like crazy quilts, penguin sweaters and other blocks.
Quilting is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world. In the United States alone, it is estimated that there are over 21 Million quilters!
Quilt-makers are also found in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Europe, United Arab Emirates and many other countries.
Cathy is delighted to be a member of such a capable, creative and supportive group of women and men.
She brings her own quilts with her to display wherever she sings these songs.
Some of Cathy's quilts have received recognition as well as her music.
In 2000 she received a "Best of Show" at the Fred's Pass Rural Show in the Northern Territory of Australia for "Bali Stars".
In 2003 her quilt "Buddy and Strider Around Australia" was accepted into the Quilt Canada juried show in Fredericton, NB.
In 2004 she received a second-place ribbon at Victoria Quilters' Guild's spring judged show for "Geese from the Garbage".
In 2011 "Insanity", her miniature quilt made of 1/4" hexagons was accepted into the Houston Quilt Festival "World of Beauty" show in 2011.
(Click here to see these quilts.)
Cathy as Musician
Cathy is a guitar player, singer and songwriter. Over the last 30+ years of her career, Cathy has performed at hundreds of folk festivals, clubs, and concerts from coast to coast in Canada. She is known for her upbeat performances, which have made her a favourite at many events. In 2000, she was recognized in Australia, where she was awarded a national songwriting Special Merit award by the Australian Heritage Commission. She released this song on a CD single called "Grand Old Duchess". It was named by Ian McNamara (ABC Radio) as one of Macca's "Top 10 Songs of 2000" in January 2001.
In 2010 two of her songs were used in the documentary "Stitched", which followed three art quilters -
Caryl Bryer Fallert, Hollis Chatelain and Randall Cook - as they prepared for the Houston Quilt Festival.
The same year, her song "12 Step Plan for Quilters" was used in the audio tour of the
Quilt show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England.
Cathy as Teacher
Being a daughter of teachers means Cathy's ability to help students understand and learn are in her DNA.
For 30 years she has been an accomplished singing teacher, also dabbling in teaching songwriting and -- very occasionally -- guitar.
Now, she's also set her hand to teaching quilting.
"It's a great way to get to know people, and I love watching students learn to step beyond their comfort zones", says Cathy.
Being a creative person in many ways, Cathy is never interested in "cookie cutter" workshops,
preferring to encourage the creative spark in each and every class.
Quilting has taken Cathy and John to many corners of the world. Here are some of the highlights:
Southern Cross Quilters annual retreat (Auckland, New Zealand)
Jinny Beyer's Hilton Head seminar (Hilton Head Island, SC)
Road to California conference (Ontario, CA)
Quilt Canada conferences (Edmonton and Ottawa)
Wisconsin Quilters' Association Symposium (Oshkosh WI)
International Machine Quilters' Showcase conference (Springfield IL)
Jinny Beyer's Hilton Head seminar (Hilton Head Island, SC)
Southern Cross Quilters annual retreat (Queensland, Australia)
Hearts and Castles quilt guild in Heidelberg, Germany
Quilt Canada conference (Ottawa, Ontario)
Quilting Cruise to Mexican Riviera (Holland America)
Annual Meeting of the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles, Scarborough, Yorkshire
American Quilters Society Nashville show, Nashville TN
IQA World of Beauty Quilt Festival, Houston, Texas
Home Machine Quilting Show (Salt Lake City)
Project Linus (Bloomington IL)
Quilting Cruise to Hawaii (Carnival cruise lines)
Quilt Nebraska (Lincoln NE)
Utah Quilt Guild quilt fest (Layton UT)
Virginia Consortium of Quilters (Wirtz, VA)
Minnesota Quilters annual show (St. Cloud MN)
Quilting cruise to Alaska (Holland America)
Association of Pacific West Quilters show, Tacoma, WA,
European Patchwork Alsace, France
Houston Quilt festival, where Cathy was on the teaching staff for the first time
(and had a quilt in the show!).
Her song "12 Step Plan for Quilters" was used in the audio tour for the Victoria & Albert Museum quilt show
Quilting Cruise to the Caribbean (Holland America)
We taped an episode of The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson in August.
Then we flew to England to sing and teach at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.
On television, Cathy has been a guest on Alex Anderson's "Simply Quilts" (Show #833 first broadcast in February 2003), Linda MacPhee's "Sew Much Fun" (on PBS) and has a song on every one of the first season's shows of "Thimbles and Threads" (on HGTV, Access and The Knowledge Network).
You can see her sing "Why Don't You Have Plain White?" on YouTube, from the Satin Moon Quilt Shop in Victoria BC.
"She's capable of astounding an audience with her vocal ability
and simultaneously charming them right out of their socks.
People love her."
Michael Smith, Chicago songwriter
Short bio suitable for introductions:
Cathy Miller is a Canadian quilter and folksinger from Victoria British Columbia. Since September 2000 she and her musician husband John have toured a program of songs, stories and quilts to guilds and quilting events across North America, Australia and New Zealand, the UK, France and Germany.
They have performed at over 700 quilting events for more than 60,000 quilters worldwide. These include appearances at the (pick a couple)
International Quilt Festival in Houston
AQS Nashville Show
Quilters' Guild of the British Isles
Birmingham (England) Festival of Quilts
European Patchwork (France)
Ricky Tims' La Veta Colorado gallery
Eleanor Burns' Quilting retreat
Alex Anderson's now defunct TV program, "Simply Quilts"
Southern Cross Quilters' Retreats in Australia
"The Quilt Show" with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson
To date Cathy has released five CDs of songs about quilting and a book of her songs and stories. The songs range from the historical, through the poignant, to the drop-dead funny!
Please welcome The Singing Quilter.
How do I order CDs?
How do I arrange a performance for my guild?