Friday, October 28, 2011

A New Shipment from the Bitengye Designers

Just before I left for Canmore and Calgary, a new shipment of goods made by the Bitengye Designers arrived. This is always exciting. We unpack the large posho (cornmeal) sacks in which they come, and look to see who made what, and to exclaim over colours and fabrics and the women's craftmanship. We check off the order against Athens carefully listed inventory, and then begin taking them out to various sales. This being the season for Christmas sales, is our busiest time of year. We were delighted to receive cosmetic bags (we'd sold out of these), paper bead necklaces and beaded bracelets, as well as being able to replenish supplies of Alice bags in two different sizes. Trudy Thorne continues to be the one looking after all this inventory, and re-orders items from Athens whenever the stock is getting low. Athens then contacts Alice with the order, and Alice divies up the work amongst all the Bitengye members. You can also see that lots of paper bead necklaces and bracelets arrived in this same shipment, and soon - very soon - we will have the new and improved Kitambaa and Bitengye website up and running, so that you will be able to
order these items directly from the web, using paypal, if you're not close enough to attend one of the sales where these products will be sold. The great thing in all of this is how well all the women are doing, that the order system we set up is now working well, and that we're able to communicate with Alice via emails to Athens during the year, as well as when we travel to Uganda. Thanks again to all of you who support this project. Nothing would have been possible without all of you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Time Flies . . .

What have I been doing lately? Something I've never done before - taking an online class through Quilt University. The class was called Working in a Series, and it was instructed by Elizabeth Barton. What I hadn't reckoned on, was how totally absorbing it would be. I've posted a few photos of the sketches I made in class, which give you a hint of where I'm headed, but are only the beginning. Elizabeth gave us so much material to work with, referred us to many artists (quilt artists and other artists) who work in series, and I haven't quite finished it even now. Life intervened too, of course - visits to Nora and her parents in Victoria, the FAN (Fibre Art Network) retreat in Naramata, BC, teaching on Mayne Island and again in Canmore and Calgary this coming weekend. You know how it happens. I feel I learned so much and am looking forward to working with what I learned for weeks to come. More on that later. I'm also reading a book on creativity that recommended to me - Fearless Creating, by Eric Maisel - and there is lots of meat in this as well. Fall always seem to be a time of re-evaluating for me, this year as much as any. For
those of you who receive Robert Genn's Newsletter, you have already read a profound quote from Steve Jobs of Apple fame. But I think it bears repeating here: "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important." And "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the
noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your own heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."