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!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Donna Ward Best in Show Winner on The NZ Quilt Show Podcast

After the last podcast episode with Brenda Gael Smith, the chief judge of The NZ National Quilt Symposium 2017, and listening to her discuss the exhibition judging and the Best in Show winner, I thought the next interview to post should be with the lucky winner herself so we could get her take on her prize-winning work.

Donna Ward (R) and her daughter, Ashleigh.

Donna Ward was the Best in Show winner at symposium with her quilt 'Fly'.  Donna owns Donna's Quilt Studio in Hamilton with her daughter Ashleigh (who you will hear mentioned in the podcast), and she is a delight to talk to.  Her excitement at winning was infectious and you can hear the huge smiles we were wearing as we talked!
To see a better image, head over to the Symposium website by clicking here.

Donna also won the Best Piecing award with her english paper pieced quilt 'Chasing Rabbits' and 'Fly' won the merit award in this category.

To see a better image, head over to the Symposium website by clicking here.

Donna has some exciting news that I didn't get to share on the podcast.  Ashleigh and Donna are running a Quilting Spectacular Tour next year - a month long trip to the UK to visit the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, including a class at the Royal School of Needlework, a visit to the V and A Museum, a week long cruise on the Danube, and so many other visits and delights you'll just have to head over to the website to read them for yourself!

It sounds like an amazing trip and if the kids were older and not eating me out of house and home, I'd have already signed up!

This is just a short episode.  I am planning to combine some of my other short symposium interviews but I thought this one should stand on it's own.  Congratulations to Donna!

Thank you to everyone who supports this podcast and helps me tell the stories of our quiltmakers, artists and professionals.  If you would like to support me, head over to iTunes and leave a five star review, pop over to my podbean hosting site and leave a donation, or consider advertising your business by sponsoring an episode.  Email me at  Cheers!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Putting Down Roots Series II

Examples from my 100 days project

In my last post I showed a couple of quilts that were inspired by my paper cutting 100 days project.  They are showing at Kings Theatre Creative for the next few weeks, along with the quilt I'm showing today called 'Belonging'.

Belonging by Charlotte Scott 43cm x 55cm $195 

This quilt is a nod to landforms that have dominated the areas where I've spent much of my life.  Kapiti Island is the first.  It dominated the horizon in the area I grew up and whenever I see images of it something twangs inside me.

Kapiti Island.  The original uploader was Grutness at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0

The other peak that fills my horizon these days is up the far end of the Waikare Inlet.  It's constantly changing colour, sometimes wreathed in mist, occasionally covered in cloud.  I don't even know what it's called and can't find it on a map, but it forms one of the backdrops in my daily life.

These are the two areas in New Zealand where I've spent the longest time, where I've put down roots by growing up in the area or by moving there and consciously deciding to make my life there.

Belonging (detail) by Charlotte Scott 

I don't think I'm done with this series yet.  There are more variations with the branch and root imagery that I'd like to try.  Different ways of saying what I'm thinking or feeling.  And I like that it's the sort of symbol that has rich meaning for others too.

E noho rĂ¥!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Putting Down Roots

Kings Theatre Creative, in the main street of Kawakawa, is my local gallery.  They close down over Winter for the most part, only running some workshops and programs, and this Winter they did some renovations, but then they open up in Spring and it's always exciting to see what new work and what new artists are showing!

They opened last weekend after a last push to get the floor painted (I rolled up my trousers and lent a bit of a hand) and it looks fabulous.  I have three works hanging on the wall and I'm pretty pleased with how they look.  There are a couple of smaller works in the cabinets from the same series too.

Roots by Charlotte Scott 14cm x 57
Above is the first work in the series.  Do you remember my 100 days project - 100 days of scissors and paper cutting?  The branch shape emerged again and again for me during that project so I wanted to explore it further, but in my favourite medium - fabric.

Some of my 100 Days of Scissors project
And of course I got to thinking about what these branch shapes mean, and how they are also root shapes, which lead to thoughts about how I'm always wondering who I am and whether I actually belong anywhere in particular, whether I have strong roots in this area I've been transplanted to.

Establish and Spread by Charlotte Scott 24cm x 85cm
Unfortunately these wide shaped quilts don't fit blogger very well, but they look pretty cool on the wall!

The second quilt in the series continues my pondering of putting down roots and then using these as a foundation to shoot away and 'bloom where you are planted'.  I was still working with the branch shape.  It's such a fascinating shape and the patterns are reminiscent of rivers, tributaries, neuron pathways - all sorts of meaningful things.

This one has some hand stitching on it too.  The cross stitching joins two pieces of the grey silk together and it was a bit of a metaphor for stitching together disparate parts of my history into the person I am today.

Establish and Spread - detail by Charlotte Scott
I'll show you another of the quilts in the series in my next post, but in the meantime, if you are visiting Northland, then call in at Kawakawa, use the famous Hundertwasser public toilets and visit Kings Theatre Creative and tell me what you think.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Interview with Brenda Gael Smith on The New Zealand Quilt Show

Brenda Gael Smith is an award winning artist who designs and creates contemporary textile art in her home studio in Copacabana, NSW Australia.  Born in New Zealand, she made her first traditional quilt in 1984, but it took until the turn of the century before Brenda returned to quiltmaking, which has since developed into a compelling and rewarding avocation.

Brenda is also an experienced curator, having curated and managed several themed textile art exhibitions that have travelled internationally to great acclaim.  Brenda also teaches, judges, writes and exhibits her own work widely.

I got to speak to Brenda in person at the Christchurch Quilt Symposium where Brenda was teaching, lecturing, accompanying the exhibition ‘A Matter of Time’ (one of her curated travelling textile art exhibitions) and last, but definitely not least, was the chief judge for the symposium exhibition.

Brenda and I have a wide ranging discussion covering topics such as her journey into becoming an artist, how she became an exhibition judge and curator and her upcoming solo exhibition (Gosford Regional Gallery, NSW, Australia, January 13th till February 14th 2018). 

We also discuss what influence her role as one of the 'twelves' - the international 12 x 12 textile art challenge - has had in developing her voice and her series work.  We also learn how Brenda has recently completed another regular creative practice project, completing 52 weekly textile sketches , abstracting the natural world she sees on her daily walks around her home town.
Week 49 Cochrone Lagoon
Brenda and I talk about her role as head judge of the National Quilt Symposium, including how the process worked for her and the other two judges, Philip Trusttum and Marianne Hargreaves and what made the best in show winner, Fly by Donna Ward, stand out from the crowd.

The final exhibition of A Matter of Time will be at The International Quilt Festival, Houston, Texas, from 28th October till 5th November 2018 with floor talks with Brenda at 11am and 2pm Thursday 2nd till Sunday 5th with one at 5.30pm on Saturday 4th.

Thanks for chatting with me Brenda!

Where to find out more about Brenda or to get in touch with her:

Thank you to everyone who supports this podcast and helps me tell the stories of our quiltmakers, artists and professionals.  If you would like to support me, head over to iTunes and leave a five star review, pop over to my podbean hosting site and leave a donation, or consider advertising your business by sponsoring an episode.  Email me at  Cheers!