AQC 2017

Dear readers

WOW . . . . . .what a whirlwind. With months of work now behind me in the lead up to  the 2017 Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC) and in a blink of an eye the 4 day event is over for another year. And may I say the beautiful Exhibition Centre was alive and as grand as ever. It felt just awesome to be within her majestic space again.


Quilters and textile workers came and went, acquaintances gathered, (some for their 13th year),  new friendships were forged, delegates were wined, dined and shopped until they dropped and traders spruiked their wares.  Magnificent textile work was on display everywhere the eye could see and the array of colour ways, textures and designs was mind boggling to say the least. Tutors taught in the upper gallery and students listened and worked new skills and knowledge into their repertoire of talents. From 10 til 4.30 every day a cacophony of sound rang around the building. . . . . sales pitches happening everywhere, the hum of machinery, excited chatter, announcements, music and the clatter of catering in the background.

With the good fortunate to be invited to teach along with the other amazing tutors, we started our AQC adventure on Wednesday 19th. We were oriented to our roles and our classrooms and given our packs and attended a fabulous Cocktail Party in the evening where each of us were introduced to the large group of AQC Delegates. It was a great occasion to meet other tutors and some of the delegates up close and personal.

IMG_0776On inspection our classrooms were set up, equipped for 20 students, with new Bernina sewing machines and welcome packs. I discovered I was to have a classroom angel to assist me all day and a Bernina Rep. to help out with any issues with the machines.

I felt very humbled to be able to display my two latest quilts ‘Floral Delight’ and Tinellen Farm’ in the tutors ‘Teach Me’  section of the quilt gallery with some exquisite work produced by the team of AQC tutors. I was blown away with the talent on display this year.IMG_0757IMG_0754I worked a busy couple of days with Jane McDonald on her BeBeBold Stall and it was great to catch up with friends and regular customers who visited to buy their annual dose of Japanese fabrics, Sashiko needles and threads and be inspired by the array of patterns and designs on show. My classes commenced on the Saturday 22nd with ‘A Floral Bouquet’  followed by the Sunday class ‘A Vintage Keepsake’ on the 23rd.

My groups were not to capacity however the extra space to spread out was a Godsend and it saved my voice, competing with the noise coming from the ground floor. I had a very enjoyable time teaching in the atmosphere of ACQ, with a great group of students who worked well to absorb my guidance and experiment with the techniques I had to demonstrate. The ‘Vintage Keepsake’ class proved to be a  perfect wind down day after the excitement over the previous four days.  Students were reflective as they  shared stories about the treasured relationships they had with the family and friends and the  heirlooms they were working into their pieces.The verbal feedback from both groups was overall very positive and I was chuffed that some even finished their pieces ready for framing.IMG_0809

In one of my classes I had the privilege of meeting a lovely woman by the name of Mary. The other students and I lovingly adopted her as our token senior citizen. She was happy to tell us she was 91 years old and had been attending AQC since its inception and does not intend missing the next one. It was a joy to have her with us, a stitching enthusiast for many years,  who still loves to learn new things, had stories to tell and loved the idea of preserving old textiles.


On that note I think my AQC reminiscing is done for another year. It was a great experience to teach at this years event and I wish to sincerely thank Judy Newman from Expertise Events (EE) in Sydney for the invitation to attend and the incredible amount of work it takes by the EE Team to make an event of this size happen. I hope i get to do it again some time. I also wish to acknowledge the privilege of working alongside some great teachers and displaying my work among some of the ‘quilting greats’! Now that has to be a good thing? Cxx

Family Collaborations

Deciding on a tree change Daughter No1. (as in age not favouritism) came to live in Clunes a few months ago.  In fact Nasci came right on back home! Wanting some regional experience  and a new direction away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne,  she has relocated indefinitely, working locally, continuing on with her studies and settling into home and the community as if she has always been here. Of course I’m  loving having her energy around and the studio has now become a shared space.


Both my daughters Nasci and Gabrielle have always been creative. They have had exposure to my work  and ‘workings’ as an artist growing up and both went on to do very well in art at college. Gabby went on to study Fine Arts at Curtain University in WA and although she did not complete she produced some amazing work in her time there. Strangely, but maybe not,  neither really developed stitching skills despite being surrounded by fabrics and threads when they were little.


Things changed somewhat when we moved from WA and I established the studio in Clunes. Over time with occasional visits on weekends the girls took an interest in how my work was evolving. Liking what she saw, with encouragement I got Nasci back to the machine to experience free motion machine drawing  and she ‘fell in love’ with what she could achieve. Our creative partnership began to flourish and now my new boarder is loving working with textiles and slowly understanding the pleasures to be had from stitching by hand and with her trusty 1972 Bernina Minimatic. Not a day goes by where we do not share ideas and feel inspired to work together when we have the time.


Joining in on the Monday and Tuesdays in the studio has exposed Nasci to the ways in which the variety of women who visit, work with fabrics and thread, by hand and machine and I have seen her knowledge, creativity and confidence grow in leaps and bounds in a very short time.


In fact she has moved very fast, developing her new business ‘Clarity Designs’ and is now showing her work at markets and soon to exhibit in the 2017 Regional Tidy Towns Art Trail. Nasci graduated in 2016 as a Counsellor. Her aspirations are to study Art Therapy in the future. Her exposure to a working studio, the diversity of those that come and go, listening to  and sharing the stories of others as they  create and work has inspired her immensely and provided a sense of belonging that is not often experienced outside of small communities whatever they might be.


On another level I have to constantly remind myself that she is 32, (independent and autonomous), that daughters don’t always make good students and that patience and persistence on my part is still required. I love the influence that Nasci brings.  She makes me laugh a lot and she brings a youthful perspective to mine.  She has her tastes  and I have mine but we make them work when we are nutting out ideas. We both love colour and textures. I love it that we can sit down at the end of the day and  watch TV together while we stitch.  Sometimes we cry or we we talk about life and learning. We have the odd cranky moments with each other but we forgive too and much quicker now because we have creative things that are pressing and we have inspirations to get on with and that is just the best thing a Mother could have. We are blessed