Friday, May 31, 2013

What Else Have I Been Doing?

In the gaps between shows, and the tired moments sitting in my cosy spot on the couch at the end of the day, I have managed to work on a few smallish projects of my own over the last few weeks. The arrival of Molly Mae Shepherd at the end of April awakened a somewhat dormant desire to knit. And knitting little things is so much more do-able than big people sweaters. Molly's first Gabby-knitted sweater is being blocked as I write, and only needs one button sewn in place before I can present it to her. I've already given Nora her first knitting lesson, as you can see, and she was only too happy to get involved, winding the yarn around herself with great enthusiasm. So I've just started knitting a cardigan for her, to match Molly's.
Meanwhile I'm getting back to an African improvisational piece that's been on the go for some weeks. I've been using African textiles and crafts as my inspiration - making up the design after a few preliminary sketches. The plan is to make six more of these, then to hang them together, joined by brass beads from Ghana. Still a way to go. This project is collaborative. I do the piecing and quilting and then hand it over to my friend Joan Darling, who adds the beading.
And ever since my copy of Quilting Arts arrived on the doorstep about three months ago with a photo of one of Dijanne Cevaal's Travellers Blankets on the front cover, I have been seeing hand stitching everywhere, and am very drawn to it. While in Gibsons I started stitching some African indigo scraps in bright perle cottons. And I can't seem to stop. Someone asked me yesterday what it was going to be when it's finished, and I have no idea. I'm just enjoying the rhythm of sitting down and making up where I put the threads as I go. I put wool on the back of each piece to help keep it firm, and have loved needling through it. Now I wish I'd never taken the old family blankets to the Goodwill! I'll have to keep my eyes open for somebody elses castoffs.

And lastly, I've been doing some more screen-printing. I had some African fabric with guinea fowl on it last year, but ran out. These drawings are my own rendering of that fabric, and intended to be used with fusible web on the back, and then cut out and added as detail to a composition. I think I might try it next time on some brighter gold fabric, but there doesn't seem to be any of that in stock right now. I guess I'll have to put it aside and get to work on my piece for the La Conner show - "Abstracted". It's due at the end of this month, so no more procrastinating! So that's what I'm up to, and I plan to blog about the process for my abstracted piece, so stay tuned. And Happy Quilting until next time!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nanaimo Quilt Show - and a Few of my Favourites

May is a busy month, by any standards. For the quilt show enthusiast, it is full of so many possibilities that one must pick and choose what events to take in. For me this meant attending the Sunshine Coast Quilt Show and the Nanaimo Quilt Show. And there was so much to see at both - such a variety of quilts - something to please everyone. I've selected photos of just a few of the quilts from Nanaimo - those with an African theme - because I just can't show you everything. The first quilt is Avril Valentine's. It began as a Kitambaa kitted wall-hanging, but wow, what she's done to expand it is fabulous! Avril was so excited to show it to me, as well she should be. The second quilt, made by Bev Cottrell, has a wonderful story to it. She attended my African Collage class just shortly after the death of her husband of 60 years. A friend had persuaded her to go, and she really felt as though she was drowning in class. In fact I think she wanted to crawl into a little hole in the ground when we did the walkabout at the end of the workshop. But she took her beginnings
home and laid all the pieces out on the floor. She rearranged what she had made and she took some bits apart and she made other new elements, the whole design process taking her weeks. But it all came together in the most beautiful way, and when she looked up, and it was done, she had also come through the worst of her grieving for her husband. Thank you, Bev, for sharing your story. You are a strong and courageous woman, and your story is a gift to us. Lillian Charron made the third piece, and I just love the simplicity of it - the implied story and the sense of space and possibility. Kathy Calder's African Collage comes next, and I am wowed by the
 colours and the movement in it, and the balance between all the elements. When Kathy was in class, she kept apologizing for doing something quite different from everyone else. I thought it was terrific at the time, and still do.  And lastly are two pieces from the grannies exhibit in aid of the Stephen Lewis Foundation - the first by Pat Cruzcor and the second by Noreen Duncan. There were many powerful pieces in this exhibit, but these were two of those that touched me most. The entire exhibit is still to be seen at many locations in BC, and you can go online to Royal City Gogos to see where it will be in the future. As for me, I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the quilts on exhibit, but am happy to be home again, getting the website in a bit better shape, and making new work. Thank you to all of you who visited my booth and supported me at both shows, and to the show organizers too, who helped things run as smoothly as possible. By the way, I heard a rumour somewhere that I was going out of business. Well I want to reassure you that it just isn't true! I have narrowed my focus considerably, and am now sticking with all things African and quilt related, at least from the Kitambaa point of view. But I'm still very much alive and well as is Kitambaa. I hope each of you out there in blogland is enjoying your own creative life. Good to catch up with you, and I hope to share more of my journey more regularly with you over the coming months. Until next time, Happy Quilting!