Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Encouragement for the Kitambaa Sewing Project

This month has been one of encouragement for the Kitambaa Sewing Project and the Bitengye Designers on several fronts. Five new sponsored students have been chosen to attend Alice's Sewing School. Two of the sponsorships were given by the Blue Mountain Quilters' Guild in Port Coquitlam, and also include treadle sewing machines to be donated to these young women upon graduation. Langley Quilters' Guild has undertaken to raise funds for another sewing machine, and just this morning I received a request for the greeting cards we've made up with photos of various aspects of the sewing project, to be used to this end. Donations both large and small are coming in, and will go toward this year's workshop with the women. Our flights are now booked and all being well, we'll depart on October 21st. Back on the home front, I've started to make "Kitambaa Cozies" - bean bags to use heated or iced for comfort of aching shoulders and backs. The pattern was generously shared with me by someone who used to make these as part of the outreach program of the
organization for whom she worked as a counsellor. And several volunteers have come forward to help me with these. Meanwhile a fresh order of newly-made items has just arrived from Uganda and more jackets are on their way (photos of these will be posted as soon as they arrive). What's been most encouraging of all is  that Alice's school is now finished, with the sewing machines moved in and classes being held there regularly. I can't wait to see it in the fall! Lastly, I wanted to show you this photo of an African-inspired quilt made by Joanne Colleaux of Armstrong, BC. She is one of the featured quilt artists at the Shuswap Quilt Guild Show being held on June 7th and 8th at the Salmon Arm Recreation Centre. She'll have this quilt as part of her display, and is using it to raise more funds for the sewing project. I just love it - yet another way to use all these wild and wonderful African fabrics, and benefitting the Bitengye Designers at the same time. Wonderful!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Importance of a Space of One's Own

Mark Rothko
Jackson Pollock
Lisa Congdon
For the last month I have been doing a fair bit of travelling. I've met old friends and made new ones in Victoria, Langley, Nanaimo and Vancouver. I've visited La Conner Quilt Museum for the first time, where I saw an amazing exhibit of Karen Franzen's, as well as a marvellous collection of antique quilts. And I was treated to a trip to the Schack Gallery in Everett, Washington, where fibre artists from Whidbey Island were exhibiting. While I was away, I have had my studio painted. We live in a 1970's house, and the studio is in the basement. It came complete with wood panelled walls and shag carpet. Now I love wood, but it made it very dark, and painting the walls has made all the difference in the world. Once I saw what a change it made, I was determined that instead of just putting everything back in place where it was, I would go through all my containers and collected papers and artifacts, and only hang onto those things that have significance for me. This process could be called purging, and it feels great. I still have the old carpet, but will get that lifted and replaced with new soon, and then last on the list is hiring an electrician to optimize my lighting. So, long story short, I haven't done a lot of work in the last month, but I am feeling very excited about the possibilities in my new work space. It's important to feel good where you go to create. Rarely will it be perfect, but we are powerfully influenced by our surroundings, so considering what works best for your own creative efforts is huge. I had been mulling over such matters, and then yesterday was introduced to an article that looked at 40 famous people and where they work. Fascinating stuff. Everything from white and pristine to absolute chaos (to me, the viewer, but clearly not to the artist). I've included just a few on this post, but if you're interested in seeing the whole article, this is the link:
David Hockney
Georgia O'Keefe
I'd be really interested to hear what's important to you in your work space or studio? Happy creating, wherever it is, and whatever you're making!