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 21, 2019

Auckland Symposium 2019

I haven't written anything about symposium yet. Even though it was three weeks ago! It's such a 'big' experience that it's always hard to know where to begin.  So I'm going to start with Aotearoa Quilters, as I'm super passionate about the good work they are doing to support and encourage NZ quilters.

I began my symposium week by arriving the day before it officially opened. My aim was to help out the Aotearoa Quilters committee hang the silver colour challenge quilts and the New Zealand through our eyes challenge quilts. It took me a while to navigate scary Auckland traffic (remember, in my town there is only one set of traffic lights and they are for a pedestrian crossing!) but I made it in time to help Shirley get everything sorted and hung to the best advantage.

From left to right: Donna, myself, Shirley and Mary. I'm not on the committee anymore, but these other women are and they work so hard as volunteers to run AQ, think up challenges, organise the Great NZ Quilt Show, support regional groups, and promote and support NZ quilters in as many ways as they can.

Here's the wall of the silver colour challenges. This year, being AQ's 25th anniversary, the colour was silver. The hexagon shape was to shake it up a bit as some folks were getting bored of the 12" square. We thought there may be a few less entries because of the changes, but happily there were just as many as usual, so good to see NZ's aren't scared of a challenge!

The winners and merit quilts nicely displayed in the centre. Thanks to Mallee Textiles and Cottage Flair for the sponsorship of the awards.

And better shots of the winner, by Kat Martin.

Merit for Fyvie Murray.

Merit for Caro Stewart. 

And Merit for Mary Metcalf.

Here's my entry. I decided to have a bit of fun with this one. I hate working with metallic thread and I'm pretty sure there are many others who share my feelings! So I let my frustrations run riot, illustrating what happens to my rolls of metallic thread when my back is turned.

I'm really excited to let you know that we signed up HEAPS of new members at symposium (here's Flicity and Kerry at the AQ table waiting to tell you how awesome the organisation is), which means NZ's are getting behind the spirit of the organisation. AQ's mission is: to provide New Zealand quilters the opportunity to expand horizons, to share work, and to learn. We do this by supporting quilters and textile artists at all levels through offering a variety of classes, exhibitions, regional meetings and professional development opportunities.

Of course, the more members we have, the better we can do that, so it's great to see the organisation growing and thriving.

There was also a short and sweet AQ breakfast to give out the prizes for the suitcase exhibition winners - this is a travelling exhibition of small quilts picked from the main symposium exhibition and supported by Aotearoa Quilters - to meet and greet and to hear some of our life members talk about the history of the organisation. We were encouraged to dress up in silver, and above you can see my scary silver mask I found at the $2 shop!

If you'd like to hear more about what Aotearoa Quilters is up to you can follow their page on Facebook, or their Instagram feed, or even better, become a member and get their newsletter and access to the members only FB page.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Learning to talk about your work

I believe that learning to talk engagingly and intelligently about your work is one of the most important skills an artist can develop.

How many times have you listened to someone talk about their piece and gained a whole new appreciation for it? And how many times have you heard people point out flaws, put themselves down, or say a variation of, “I just liked those fabrics so I made it.” Hmmm. 

And it’s FINE if you DID just 'like' the fabrics! But perhaps you could say, “I liked the way these fabrics worked together and I wanted to play with the proportions and see how it altered the conversation between them.” Same thing really, but just said with a little more agility.

I'm making this blue quilt at the moment because I liked the indigo-dyed napkin that I printed with fern fronds, and I found some other blue leftovers. But instead of saying that, how about, "I wanted to see if I could compose a successful composition using a limited palette."

I do not claim to be that great at speaking about my work, but it’s something I’m aware of and I’m striving to get better at. 

I’ve recently been watching the videos of the Quilt National ‘19 exhibitors. These are short videos of makers talking about their quilts. And it’s been a great learning experience (besides also being able to enjoy the beautiful works.) I try and think when I’m listening:

Are they making sense?
Are they adding to the story I see visually?
Have I learnt something?

Here’s the link if you want to listen and watch too.