September in Clunes 2016

Dear readers

Apologies in advance for the late posting but as any of you who know what has been happening in the lead up to and during  September, I  could be forgiven for having some time out and stopping to smell a rose or two. Life on the home-front and in the studio have been so busy these past months in preparation for all things textile and stitching in Clunes.


The textile art exhibition ‘A Textile Palette’, the Quiltessentially Clunes Stitching Retreat and the inaugural Clunes Village Quilt Hanging were a combined effort, respectively hosted during September and each event a huge success.

As you would be aware many hours of creating, planning, preparing and curating events like these is  an immense undertaking and and requires clear minds in tiring circumstances, positive attitudes in adverse situations, creativity when creative blockages happen and  a huge amount of support and sponsorship from the local community to run seamlessly with aplomb.


Along with these three events the region experienced the wettest spring since recording began in Victoria, the Creswick Creek threatened to flood at different times throughout the month, including the weekend of the stitching retreat, launch of the exhibition and quilt hanging. Good spirits and flexibility were needed as venues were changed at last minute and quilts were transferred from one place to another. All needed to appear as if everything was running to plan. An international film crew (HBO) were in the village for two weeks filming sections to the series ‘The Leftovers’ so the town was truly abuzz with activity and seasonal influences.



All in all, albeit challenging at times, all three events were a resounding success and the feedback incredibly positive for those who attended and visited Clunes. A personal thanks to the following people who without their support and attention to detail I may have ended up ‘worse for wear’

  • My partner Phillip – (For all the meals you force me to ‘sit down’ and eat, practical help and the odd ‘telling off’!! Without your daily patience and support my love,  I just couldn’t do anything)
  • My daughters Nasci and Gabrielle – (for your endless encouragement and support throughout the year)
  • The Clunes Community – (for your enthusiasm, interest, intrigue, participation, ideas, attendance and positive and/or constructive feedback)
  • The studio ladies – Jacqui M, Vicki B, Maureen T, Sujeeva H, Leanne W, Teresa G, Sylvia R, Christine H, Kathryn H, Al H, Ros D, Barbara CS, Jeannie K, (for assistance with everything, Im truly indebted to you amazing people who support me so much)
  • Wesley College – Principal Tim and Admin Officer Linda N (for the arrangement and generous use of the Weavery for the quilt hanging)
  • Hepburn Shire – Bree M (for assistance with event advertising and  hire of the Town Hall  and Warehouse)
  • BeckWorth Wines  – Jane and Paul L (for your professionalism attending to the liquor requirements at Keeble’s and Gallery5)
  • Brett (for the beautiful floral arrangements)
  • Keeble’s Country House – Shelley and Peter (for your warm hospitality and welcome to retreat participants)
  • Jen Bray and the Clune’s Dance Troupe – (for the fabulous and fun filled opening night dance performance at Keeble’s Country House)
  • The Gallery Wine Bar – Linda and Neil N (for hosting the evening drinks and nibbles)
  • The School of Mines – Ken C (For the generous use of the School of mines Building for the quilt hanging)
  • Jane C –  (for your assistance with troubleshooting kitchen issues at the Town Hall kitchen)
  • Ian Baker – ( for your kind donation and effort to decorate the Town Hall with your lovely antiques)
  • To my students and textile working friends – ( for your efforts to present your  creativity to the public for the textile art exhibits)
  • To the quilters – (for your exciting array of work and talented donations of quilts for the Clunes Village Quilt Hanging)
  • Gallery5 – Annie and Rob G (for your efforts in preparing the space and assistance in curating ‘A Textile Palette’ and your attention to detail hanging each piece so carefully)
  • The Ballarat Ukulele Affair – (for the fantastic and groovy music ‘with a difference’ you provided for the textile art exhibition opening)
  • Catering – Jane F (for your vibrant personality and humour and extraordinary flair with food during the retreat)

Last but by no means least,  to Rae T and Judy N my friends and business partners a big thank you for all that you have done to help promote my beautiful home town of Clunes, advertise the 2016 event/s on your journeys and who bring ‘Quilting Wisdom’ to Quiltessentially Clunes.

My warmest regards and gratitude to each and every one of you.


Quiltessentially Clunes Stitching Retreat 2015



Dear readers

It has been a couple of months now since Judy Newman, Rae Telfer and I hosted the 2015 Quiltessentially Clunes Stitching Retreat, in November and the village of Clunes may never be the same again after the huge success of the inaugural event.

In the spirit of friendship, creativity, and enjoyment, and in a venue set within the scenic and historic backdrop of the village of Clunes the event attracted 60 quilters and textile workers from interstate and across Victoria. Many of whom had never heard of or visited Clunes before. The laughter and fun, the camaraderie and friendships, the sharing and networking, new skills and much inspiration are the memorable outcome of this event.

Quiltessentially Clunes manifested its way into reality from a vision created early in the year by Judy and I and with much hard work , team effort with our additional and valuable member Rae T. the event was named and realised. The format of the weekend was planned to provide participants not only a stitching and textile experience but one of local hospitality, history and country fare.The feedback about Clunes by those that attended was extremely positive and included such comments as “ fabulous country hospitality” “such friendly people” “ beautiful buildings” and “ such a unique village”. When asked would they come back again, the reply was a very positive “YES” and many have already expressed their interest to attend the next retreat that is planned over four days in September.


It would be an omission not to acknowledge the economic and cultural value of the event for Clunes. Participants were accommodated in the town, dined in the local eateries and shopped in the local stores. A ‘Meet and Greet’ event was held in the Gallery on the Friday night which was a huge success. Following this, a Sundowner in the beautiful gardens of Keebles Country house on the Saturday saw participants gather for regional wines, cheeses and bread.

With due respect this event would not have run so smoothly nor have been the occasion for celebration if it were not for a wonderful team of local helpers who we cannot thank enough. To the community of Clunes, the Hepburn Shire, the Clunes  Warehouse, Linda and Neil Newitt at ‘The Gallery’, Keebles Country House, Jane and Paul Lesock at Beckworth Winery and the lovely donations from Leslie at French Pear your support was invaluable.


Judy, Rae and I feel blessed and thank everyone who contributed to make the inaugural 2015 Quiltessentially Clunes Stitching Retreat such a success. Much love and creativity. Cxx

Quiltessentially Clunes

Dear readers

I cannot believe that so much time has passed since my last post. I have been busy with F/Book and Instagram posts though and followers on social media will know there is so much happening creatively at the studio. Relevant to the title of this post, earlier this year my friend Judy Newman and I started to dream about the possibility of running a quilting/stitching event. Judy had been visiting us in Clunes for some time and had come to really appreciate the village for its quirkiness and historic beauty and against this backdrop we began to think how fabulous it would be to bring a group of quilting enthusiasts to town and maybe . . . . . just maybe if it was successful enough hold it as an annual event. With much more organising and bringing in another partner in crime Rae Telfer to assist us with our vision things evolved quite rapidly and we had enough done to launch our first promotion on July 5th. I answered telephone calls and emails all day and within 6 hours our event was fully booked out and we had a wait list. We were so excited, I was on a high for a few days and together we were amazed at the response. Thanks to Judy and Rae who both with their quilting tuition, designs and kits have a very loyal following among the quilting fraternity this was going to be a ‘must entry’ on their quilting calendars. Me being the new kid on the block and more the ‘arty farty’ member of the group will contribute in my own way to the event but I insisted at the outset that the words ‘stitching’ and textile workers’ had to be included somewhere. So this is how our introductory blurb started off

A unique experience” is happening in the springtime. Quiltessentially Clunes, hosted by Judy Newman, Rae Telfer and Christine Lethlean is an inaugural two-day stitching retreat aiming to attract quilters and textile workers to the historic village of Clunes, in the Central Goldfields of Victoria. With a combined spirit of friendship, creativity, and enjoyment and a venue set within a scenic and historic backdrop, Quiltessentially Clunes is a must visit entry on your calendar. You will get to experience a weekend of country hospitality, enjoy local wines and cuisine and explore a village rich in history along the many trails on offer. There will be displays, fun activities, tutorials to hone your skills and beautiful prizes to win.
We so look forward to sharing this great weekend with you, we hope you can join us
Love and creativity Rae, Judy and Christine

Now its on with the show and with 73 sleeps to go time is now moving fast. The photographic shoots have taken place. Imagine how lovely it was to have all the quilts from Judy and Rae’s collection draped around the studio and anywhere and everywhere across the village. I felt so grown up and important lugging my big bag of quilts around . . . . ha ha ha. We have an Instagram account @quiltessentiallyclunes and a F/Book account so go to for a peek at our work and scenic shots of Clunes.
An added bonus to our plans so far has been that the local community has also been so supportive with sponsorship and donations and word is getting around that 50 women are coming to town. Most are staying at the different places of accommodation in Clunes which has been an added boost to tourism in the area over that weekend. We also have participants coming from interstate NSW and SA as well as our local ladies from Melbourne and regional Victoria.

So all in all I just want to finish up by saying dreams can come true. No sooner was the seed for this little venture planted and the show was on the road. Three amazing minds with equal doses of creativity are working hard to make this all happen. Stay posted Cxx