The Remarkable Symposium was all I expected it to be and more. The first morning there made me very glad that I'd packed my gloves and merinos - the snow was so far down the hills even the locals were saying it was cold!
The autumn colours were just stunning. They are always so much more vibrant down South than they are in Northland - I guess it's the crisp weather that does it.
I thought the exhibitions were very well hung and there was some fabulous work on display. I've promised myself (as I do every two years) that next symposium I will have something to enter. It would be an honour to have something juried in to hang up with work from such talented quilters as we have in New Zealand.
I didn't take any photos of the exhibition quilts, it was just too big a task, so I ordered a CD instead.
On the first day of classes I spent a fascinating day with Yvonne Brown, melting synthetics and making celtic designs. She's given me a real kickstart and I'm now all enthusiastic to try out the same techniques at home.
I then spent two days with Jane Sassaman, playing with patterns and I now have a whole new way of playing with design. She really opened my eyes to all the patterns and design possibilities around me and I can't wait to finish the piece I started in her class. I have to say that her workmanship on the quilts she brought to show us is just immaculate - something to aspire to.
And then finally, two days with Jeanette DeNicolis Meyer, playing with line. She might be coming to New Zealand again in February and if so, she has my details to organise a workshop in Northland. Jeanette is an amazing tutor and I'd jump at the chance to do any of her classes.
I met lots of new people, saw lots of great quilts, met a fellow blogger in real life, had peaceful evenings with no kids, gained stacks of inspiration and enthusiasm and I can't wait to do it all again in Taupo, 2013.
Once Symposium was over for another two years, I travelled to Amberley, just north of Christchurch to visit with my good friend and her family. I trained as a midwife with her more than a decade ago and don't get to see her very much, but she is one of those friends who you can just pick up where you left off, comfortable as ever. Thanks M!
Thankfully their house hasn't sustained any major damage from the earthquakes, but they are fearful and a bit strained. Her hubby and I took a drive round the suburbs of Christchurch and it was kind of hard to take in the scale of the damage. Sometimes you would look at a street and wonder why it didn't look right, even though there was no obvious damage. Then you realised that all the rooflines were just slightly out of horizontal. Sobering stuff.
Take care everyone. It's good to be home.