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!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Stich and Bitch

One of the most worthwhile things that I feel I've done with the studio and gallery (have a look at my Facebook page here if you want to know more about Opua Arts) is to host a weekly stitch and bitch session.

I just got a tweet from a participant that said, "It's a very special thing you do there on a Tuesday night."  Which made me all warm and fuzzy inside.  Because that's exactly how I feel about it too.

Every Tuesday from 7pm till 9pm we gather in the upstairs space of my studio and gallery and sit and stitch and sketch and knit and embroider and sew and quilt and laugh and talk and pick each other's brains.  There is a regular bunch of women who attend and then there are less regulars and then there are the once-off visitors.  And I advertise it for any creative work, not just stitching.  It makes for wonderful, varied and interesting evenings.

A lot of the women I had never met prior to these sessions but we share a love of hand work and being creative.  That forms a common bond before we even start talking.  And then the socialising effects of tea and biscuits kick in...

There is a little community forming and connections being made and I take a secret pride that they are happening in part because of me.  Yay!  I wanted to give something back to the community, and whilst that outwardly doesn't seem to be a huge thing (no big free children's education programs or public art donations here) I feel that friendships and support networks are being formed and that is no small thing either.  It really warms my heart and makes me smile to see these women who didn't know each other a couple of months ago greet each other with broad smiles and sit down for a good old chat.

Our last Tuesday night was a funny one, with lots of jokes and laughs.  The one before that got a bit deep and meaningful.  Some have been quieter, some smaller, some bigger, some with visitors who could barely speak English, and some with just a couple of us so we could have real heart to heart conversations.

I'm also loving the inspiration I get.  It's like my brain creativity sparks up a couple of notches just by being in proximity to other creatives.  I love my quiet, isolated working times, but I think a group of creatives watching each other work fires creative synapsis is a way isolated working doesn’t.

So if you are local and reading this, come along and join in.  If you aren't so local, are you in some form of group like this, or have you tried forming a social creative group of your own?


  1. Wish I was nearer.....but then again we do have a group here too although we only meet once or twice a month.

    Speaking of that - have a look at the last post on artfibredunedin.blogspot - I am really proud of this as it was my idea (there was one day I could really have used a lift after treatment) and we now have 100 little distraction packages for those who need it.


    ps I have my last appointment with oncology on Friday and they think I won't get this back again :)

  2. Lovely post. Nice to read you have helped create a friendly safe community.

  3. Like knotty knitter I wish I was closer than Auckland!! I used to be in a small group we met weekly taking it in turns to host and have home backed morning tea - wonderful, this continued for thirty years but due two two sad deaths, moves to Aussie this came to an end. I have thought of trying to bring a small group together and maybe I will give some thought to this. Thanks for your post.

  4. Oh it's too far from Stratford upon Avon, UK to Opua, NZ :( It sounds wonderful. So glad that you have encouraged a meeting of like minded people - long may all your creativity flow!!


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