Thursday, June 27, 2013

Early Days of Summer

The month of June has been full of a number of marvellous thing. Most recently, I was pleased to be able to visit FibreArts in Madeira Park (on the Sunshine Coast), for the opening of the exhibit Architextiles. The yurts gallery was the ideal venue in which to exhibit five pieces from each of six artists. The interpretations of the theme varied widely, from inukshuks to cod fish to gargoyles, but each grouping formed a cohesive whole - each was an example of "working in a series". I had never been to the yurts before, but it was well worth the two ferry rides and very long day to do so. I would highly
 recommend it to anyone venturing up the Sunshine Coast this summer. Most of the month of June has been spent over on Hornby Island, though, where I have gathered images, both in my mind and in photographs. I'm not sure where they might crop up in my work, but am certain that observing keenly and just be-ing time is just as important to the creative process as making art. It's as though in so doing, I am training myself to really see. Sometimes I chose to put the camera away, and just be in the moment - watching a pod of killer whales swimming close in beside the ferry on our way to Powell River
on Saturday, or drinking in the scarlet and magenta of the sun setting that night, hearing the birdsong of at least 6 different birds early in the morning, gathering rocks with my grand-daughter on the shore, and later, watching her sturdy little naked body going running across the hard packed sand and into the water at Tribune Bay. All of it is part of living a creative life, and I love it. I wish each of you a summer full of great adventures and small wonders.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Incomparable Buttons - from South Africa

I have been carrying buttons made by the Incomparable Button Company of South Africa almost since I started Kitambaa Designs seven years ago. These are handmade buttons, and hand-painted too. They're all made of clay, fired at a very high temperature, which means they can withstand washing in a washing machine. If you drop them on a cement floor they will break, but otherwise they stand up very well indeed. I have just put the collection I carry up on my website - - so you can access them easily year round, and not just at quilt shows. The uses for these buttons are endless. The knitters amongst you may see them as buttons on a cardigan, while embellishers will see them as ways to add an extra something to your quilts. Someone sent me a photo earlier this year of these buttons used to decorate the top of wooden boxes, and many people have used them on greeting cards. You may well have seen the wall-quilts I've made incorporating these buttons - the most recent one became one of my "Limited Edition Kits" - "A Gathering of Guinea Fowl" - and sold out almost immediately. There are more designs in the works at the moment, and I'll be sure to post them here as soon as they're ready. In the meantime, I thought you'd be interested in seeing a photo of the women who make these buttons, all dressed here in traditional costumes. If I ever make it back to Johannesburg again, I hope very much to be able to visit them. In the meantime, I am
 delighted to be able to carry their products. Perhaps they might challenge you to create a quilt using one or more cards of buttons? Until next time, Happy Quilting!