2015 New Zealand Quilt Symposium

Mary & I headed to Palmerston North for a few well deserved days of classes and shopping (of course!) The weather was fantastic and the hospitality great as we spit up to go to our various classes. I was doing a two day workshop with Rosalie Dace (www.rosaliedace.co.za) whose work I have admired forever. If you get the opportunity to meet or workshop with Rosalie, don’t turn it down – pure gold! Inspirational, challenging and grounding – Loved every minute of it. I actually finished the piece I started working on in that workshop (a rare feat) and it is one of my favourites. Entitled, “Turangawaewae”, (A place to stand), I dedicated it to my daughter Kiriana. It tells the story of her growing up in New Zealand, grounded in New Zealand culture and values and then the transition to Australia where now, as a grown woman, she teaches in remote Aboriginal communities in Cape York. It was Rosalie who supported and helped me believe that I could complete this piece – I love it!!!


Together we did a one day workshop with Karen Stone where amidst tons of laughter we made some clamshells and also Karen demonstrated her new hexagon method which certainly appealed to me! I think there will be a book out shortly so watch for it. Below are photos of the workshop and some of the samples we made. Sadly neither of us made our samples into anything but we did learn a few new sewing techniques and Karen’s quilts were a joy to look at.



2015 Symposium cont…

Mary completed a Helen Godden workshop, where she had fun free motion quilting one of several set designs shared by Helen and then learning to paint the details – it was wonderfully relaxing and ‘self soothing’  Sadly not quilt finished….

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A happy bunch of ladies and their painted quilts.

Mary also had two pieces exhibited at the Symposium. The first was in the Aotearoa Quilters Challenge ‘Purple’ where she was awarded a merit prize – yeah!!!

Her second piece was a collaborative quilt. Mary designed and pieced the work entitled “Kiwi Habitat” and Susan Trendall quilted the work. I think it was absolutely spectacular – It is very big!!



I’m back….sorry about the delay…. (long post!)

I realise that it has been a long time since my last post, but 2014 turned out to be a year that will not go down as one of my favourites! Tumultuous to say the least!  Anyway, this post will give a brief recount of 2014, as I look positively towards a smoother 2015!

April 2014 – The Dorothy Collard Challenge is an annual challenge run by the Auckland Quilt Guild – the theme was ‘The Space Between’ and there is an emphasis on ‘something different’ in the execution of the art pieces. I entered two pieces. The first was entitled ‘Two Sisters Quilting – my version of Picasso’s ‘Two Sisters Reading’, the current logo on this blog, and when I get a minute will replace it! This was made mainly with shot cottons, which added a depth to the quilt. I loved the way this quilt came together and replacing the original book with a 3D quilt reinforced the depth of field that I am currently trying to achieve in my quilt making. The rationale or the link between the quilt and the theme was that the mutual passion for quilting narrowed the space between two sisters.

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The second piece was entitled, ‘The Rose Between .. . ‘

This was a fun quilt – I had started knitting my discarded selvedge strips, knotting the strips together rather than stitching them. I had had no clear intention of what to do with them, but had simply been adding to the knitted rectangle whenever the selvedge basket started to overflow! I decided that it was time to do something with this floppy rectangle, so I cast off and dropped it onto my quilt table. I could see the shape of a dress if I squashed it in at the waist and then I decided that an ample cleavage was required. I unpicked the past few rows and knitted it up again with two strips, slightly shaping it as I went. The bust was padded and a rose was strategically placed in ‘The Space Between’. A fun throw away piece!

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Neither of these quilts tickled the judge’s fancy, but the exhibition was a delight to behold. The interpretation of ‘The Space Between’ was eclectic and fascinating.

A gallery of all of the quilts can be found at http://www.aqg.org.nz/galleries/gallery_collard.htm

The winning quilt was created by Patricia King and was entitled, ‘Seeing the Wood for the Trees’. Val Williams’s quilt, which I have included with her kind permission, was entitled “Retirement! How did I find time to work?”


Shortly after the Dorothy Collard Challenge, our Mum passed away very peacefully, after battling dementia for quite a few years. Apart from the sadness of the loss, my time was now no longer focused on dementia care and all the challenges that that brings. It was back in the paid work force for me!

Teacher librarianship as a career option is a rare commodity in New Zealand and jobs are certainly few and far between. I did manage to secure a position, but it meant that I had to move from my rural retreat and head back to the city.  Not a day goes past when I don’t cast my mind back to the tranquillity of the countryside, as our new neighbour’s started their home renovations the week after we moved in and the sounds of tui’s calling, sheep bleating and cows mooing have been replaced with the sounds of hammering, skill saws and screaming kids! This has been going on for six months and I found that my studio work has suffered. It is very hard for me to be creative in a less than tranquil environment!! Anyway, I managed to pull together two pieces for the Festival of Quilts  and was delighted with my second place in the Amateur Wall Hanging with ‘Roadblock’.


This was a piece that I had started when exploring ideas for  ‘Living Colour’, the exhibition of which starts in NZ at Symposium this weekend (very exciting!) However, my favourite piece was entitled ‘Pyjama Party’ and is hanging in my lounge at the moment. Hours of work went into that piece with nearly all of the predominately Kaffe fabrics cut up, flower by flower and then appliqued down with gold hologram thread. Perhaps it was a statement of where my brain was at the time! I love it  Mary thinks the flamingos need eyes and she may very well be right! In the meantime, it makes me smile and after the year I have had in 2014, that all I can ask for.


The following are a few photos that I took while constructing the flamingos.

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Apart from quilting, I am often called upon by my daughter, who I unfortunately have not managed to teach to thread a needle, and who teaches in a remote community in Cape York, Australia to magically produce fun dresses for her to wear to school which will engage the kids she teaches. It is kind of a mass production but it is fun. This was last year’s supply and I am just completing this year’s collection. Must admit not having them in front of you to fit them simplifies matters –  we agreed on a style and I just cross my fingers that it works!!

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She is also getting married at the end of 2015, so wedding preparations are starting to get underway. Organising a wedding from Cape York & New Zealand to be held in Northern New South Wales, Australia could be fun. Watch the stress levels rise over the year!!!

Apart from the usual baby quilts, I don’t feel as though I have achieved very much in 2014. My older brother, Michael, who is charged with the task of naming my quilts, had the final say with the last two quilts I produced in 2014, both of which were displayed in a Modern Quilt Display at the Festival of Quilts. The grey and pink quilt he named – ‘Normally I Dress to the Left!’ (alternative title ‘Pink Fizz’) and the circular quilt was named ‘Harvest Moon Rising’.

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Well, that’s my catch-up and the clearing of my conscience. Next post will be from Symposium in Palmerston North. Mary and I are leaving early in the morning and are looking forward to our classes. I am attending Karen Stone’s & Rosalie Dace’s two day workshops so hopefully the creative juices will be reactivated!