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, August 31, 2015

12 x 12 inch colour challenge - GREEN

I'm making some 12" x 12" quilts to enter in the Aotearoa Quilters colour challenge.  These will all be exhibited together at a couple of different venues and when they are all in the wall together they look fabulous.

This time around the colour is green.  

My chosen subject is the Puriri moth.  A huge native moth, whose catapillar stage burrows into and eats the Puriri tree.

The moth is the most amazing green colour (the catapillar is a bit icky grub-like so we won't dwell on it).

I had fun declaring a ruler-free day and making these backgrounds out of linen, cotton, vintage cloths, white on white prints and anything else interesting I could lay my hands on.

But you may have noticed they aren't GREEN!  And you're right.  That bit comes next.  Stay tuned. And you'll see what I'm going to do about that.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

New Exhibition Opening at Opua Arts

It's so exciting hanging an exhibition.  When you see your plan coming together, the artworks complementing each other and the space filling with beautiful and interesting things.

I spent Friday hanging (with the help of a few buddies - thanks guys!) and by Friday evening I was ready for a glass of wine and to stand back and admire.

Now I get to work in this space and absorb the art for another six weeks or so.  And then it's time to do it all again.

The artists are: Malcolm Inglis (painter), Brownwyn Harford (weaver), Jane Shaw (ceramicist), Andy Cogar (wood and photography), Ingrid McLennan (thread painting), Adrienne Barrie (fibre artisan) and myself - textile artist.

The bonus of being the gallerist is that I get to fill any empty spaces with a piece of my own work! 

I also have a more 'whimsical' corner this time.

My hand dyed fabrics and threads fit in nicely here with all the colours.  

So now it's back to work for me.  I'm within cooee of finishing the quilting on my heron reflection quilt from a couple of posts ago.

Happy Sunday everyone, and if you're up this way come visit me in the gallery.  I'm on the Opua Wharf, you can't miss me, and I'll even make you a cuppa.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Who do you want as a podcast guest?

I've been podcasting for more than a year now.  I started with just talking about myself and my quilting journey.  Then as I warmed into it and became more confident I began interviewing others - my patient friends were my first guinea pigs!

The people I've been interviewing have all been face to face, but I've finally got around to figuring out how to record Skype calls with a quality satisfactory enough to put on the podcast.  So now I want to hear from you!

Photo by Olu Eletu via Unsplash

I want to know - who would you like me to interview?  I'm particularly interested in Southern Hemisphere quilters, textile artists, makers and stitchers, but I'm open to any suggestions you come up with.

Please have a think and give me a name or two - and pass this along to your friends for their ideas too.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Finished Quilt: The Cold Watch

I finished this piece a while ago, but I didn't want to show it until it had been exhibited for the first time.  I sent it off to the Festival of Quilts 2015, in Birmingham in the UK and it was exhibited in the art quilt category.

The festival is well and truly over, so now you get to see it here.

I began this quilt in a class with Rosalie Dace.  The class was about colour and titled "Earth, Wind, Fire."  I was thinking about Earth.  I wanted to convey cliffs and mountains, big, looming, threatening peaks.  Other class participants saw monuments and cathedrals. And I liked that people interpreted it a little different from me.

I added a base of hills or waves - you can take your pick as I wanted to continue that ambiguous feeling.  And then I tried to crop it to make it fit within a size specification for a particular exhibition I had in mind.  But it didn't work, so I pulled back the borders again.

The perspective appeared better with more space around it.  And then I added the moon and the birds.  They also help with the perspective and I think they add to the cold, lonely, forbidding feeling.

There was lots of quilting.  Mostly free motion and I loved how it made the waves/ hills move.

And some blocking and trimming.

A slightly closer view.

I'm particularly proud of this piece because I was really wanting to convey a particular feeling with it.    It's not particularly beautiful, but it is eye-catching and has a definite feeling to it.  Everybody who has seen it in person has made comments that make me think they 'got' it.  And that is what I deem success.

Size:  60.5cm x 100.5cm or 23 3/4in x 39 1/2in
Materials:  Hand dyed fabrics: cotton, silk, silk organza, linen; fabric paint, discharge paste
Techniques:  Machine piecing, applique and embroidery; stencilling; free motion quilting

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Siren Song of Colour

These photos make my heart very, very happy.

I rolled up my sleeves on Monday and got stuck into some dyeing.  I wanted some smaller items for sale in Opua Arts gallery and so some of my dyeing was on ready made silk scarves.  

These are habotai silk that shimmer and gleam and float in the breeze and generally just look gorgeous!  I hung them up this morning after popping next door to the marine chandlery for some smooth white rope.  What do you think of my display system?

I also did some more embroidery threads.

These are a silk cotton blend, unstranded and similar to a light-weight perle cotton.

I'm going to change my dyeing habits a little.  A full day of dyeing (4-6 hours) ends up in sore feet and a sore back and another full day of rinsing, washing and pressing - phew!  Instead I aim to dye a little every day.  And I'll be posting a images of my dyeing over on Instagram with the hashtag #dyealittleeveryday.  Click on the camera over on my left sidebar to follow me on Instagram and see what I'm up to.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Opua Arts on Facebook

For those of you who like to use Facebook, and want to keep up to date with what is going on at Opua Arts Studio and Gallery, here is a link to the gallery's Facebook page:

If you 'like' the page, you'll receive notifications and images etc in your Facebook feed and then, and this is the best bit, you can in turn comment and start up a conversation with me - I'd love to chat!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A pose of herons

(the best collective noun for herons that I could find - better than a siege, a hedge or a colony)

Continuing with the heron theme from my last blog post, I wanted to show you the rust and tea-dyed heron that I've been working with more since he last featured on my blog.

For some reason I struggled with it for quite a while.  I think the problem was that I didn't have a clear idea of the feeling I wanted to convey.

I had begun thinking that I wanted to work toward using this quilt as an entry into the Taiwan International Exhibition 2016, where the theme is 'protect the earth's environment'.  My statement was going to be about how the white faced heron used the man-made environment of wharf lights to prolong his fishing.  But it didn't sit right and work well, so I went back to trying to convey that feeling of peace, of dark and quiet and when you can't tell where the water ends and the night-sky begins.

Here is how it has evolved so far:

Have I succeeded?  Your thoughts and comments are welcome.