My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Hitting the Wall

I am so buggered.  Just mentally and physically exhausted.  Over the last few weeks I've finished four quilts to exhibition standard, the last one today.  I delivered that one to the exhibition this afternoon and then I suddenly felt deflated.

I didn't realise how much I had been running on adrenaline, but boy, I realise it now!

So what's been going on?  The NZ Quilt Symposium exhibition submission deadline was midnight Thursday (yesterday).  And Wednesday afternoon I got a call from my good friend asking me if I had anything for the Matariki (Maori New Year) exhibition they were holding at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where she works.

A while ago I had agreed that I could probably have something for that exhibition and then promptly forgot all about it.  So I asked Monika when she needed the quilts by, and bless her heart, she said, "Friday!"

So not only was I hurriedly finishing, photographing and documenting symposium quilts, I also had to rustle up another quilt or two for the Matariki exhibition.

I sat down and took stock.  First up, did I have anything in my collection that would fit the bill?  And actually I did.

Matariki occurs when the Pleiades star cluster rises above the Eastern horizon.  There are lots of stories associated with Matariki and it is a time of year for reflection and celebration.  One of the Maori myths is about how the Matariki cluster was formed.  When Ranginui (sky father) and Papatuanuku (earth mother) were torn asunder, Tawhirimatea (one of their sons, the god of winds) was so angry that he tore his eyes out and cast them into the sky where they formed the Matariki stars.  Cool story, huh?

And I happen to have a quilt that has Ranginui and Papatuanuku featured as a subtle quilting design.  It's called "I don't feel lonely".

Phew, so that was one quilt, and it was completely finished with hanging sleeve and all.

Then I looked over everything I was working on.  I had four quilts lined up for symposium exhibition, and one that I had decided not to finish for symposium.  But now that I looked at it with Matariki eyes, I could see it would be perfect.  Matariki is a time when people say goodbye to the loved ones passed away the previous year.  It's a time of renewal, a time of remembrance and a celebration of the harvest along with holding portents for the coming growing season.

Here's my artist's comments that I wrote for the quilt:
Matariki reappears, Whanui starts it's flight.  We say goodbye to those we lost in the year gone.  We look towards the new season and send our hopes flying to the stars.

In the close up you can see the star cluster that I hand embroidered (with metallic thread - never again!).  Maori often flew kites at Matariki, so the birds are a fitting symbol of that, along with being symbols of remembrance as well as hopes and dreams for the year to come.

So everything got finished, photographed, documented, uploaded, delivered - whatever had to happen to each quilt happened and now I'm done.  I'm sitting here, writing to you, drinking a comforting hot chocolate (it would have been wine, but I forgot to put some in the fridge) and thinking that I could easily not sew another stitch for at least a week.  My brain hurts, my shoulders hurt, and my hand-sewing finger has holes in it.

I was listening to a podcast by Tucker Harley the other day and he said something that resonates with me today.  Creativity can be like breathing.  Sometimes you are breathing out, creating, giving, making, sharing.  And then sometimes you have to stop, and breath back it.  That's what I feel like today.  I've breathed every last drop of air out of my creativity lungs and now I need to pause, and take a big breath in.

So I'm going to go relax and breath and when I next write I'm sure I'll be feeling more alive!

PS - I feel like I never share photos of my boat, so here's the wheelhouse/office where I'm sitting right now.  It's full of boat thingies but my computer, printer and paperwork crams in too.


  1. Busy you! Wow, you sure need to take a breather! Looks like the perfect piece for Matariki.

  2. Breathe! Yes, I agree--sometimes we're expending, sometimes we're renewing. Pausing is good. (And the quilts are beautiful!)

  3. ...and I hope to see some of them at the symposium (and you too of course). I am still hopeful of making it to at least see the exhibition stuff.


  4. Loved reading your post! I knew it was written by a Kiwi from the very first sentence! So, hope the hot chocolate did the trick and made you breathe. Good wishes for the success of your quilts in the two exhibitions.

  5. You are a hero and I hope your friend appreciates the extra effort you went to for her exhibits. The stories are cool and it sounds like there is a lot of scope for creative influence there. I would suggest that you chain sew some four patches if you were in a creative block. In your case, I would read some fashion magazines or sit in a cafe or on the beach. No creativity for you!;-)

  6. Well done Charlotte! The exhibition entires freaked me out a bit too. I kept worrying that mine wouldn't be finished in time. Your Matariki quilts look perfect for the display. They show a different side to Matariki rather than just being the Stars.

  7. Great effort Charlotte!! You deserve the hot chocolate, as you say, pity about the wine. I'm guessing you'll be heading down to Symposium, tell us all about it. Enjoy being in recovery mode now.

  8. Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts for me. I've had two really good nights sleep and it's amazing how that makes a difference. I've stayed away from my studio and just done family stuff. I'm almost ready to rejoin the world!

  9. Quilts are beautiful as always Charlotte - even though it is a lot of work, it is so worth it, and you must be very proud. It sounds to me like you just need to play with some fabric for a while.

  10. Enjoy your breathing-easy - you deserve it, what a power of work you have put in! Great Matariki quilt; it can be amazing what we can create under pressure sometimes.


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