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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Long Distance Reconnaisance

For two great weeks in January I have been away from home to travel to the land of my birth, New Zealand, to attend the biennial Quilt Symposium, held this year in Palmerston North in the Manawatu region of New Zealand. Of course I also took some time to visit with family there too.

Humor me and also be willing to take a look at some non quilt photos!  When I first got there ( a very long trip of 29 hours door to door and with an 18 hour time difference) I was keen to get outside and walk around in the sun to help my body acclimate to the new time zone. I was coming from the mid winter of the US middle east coast to full on summer in New Zealand. The locals were complaining of an unusually hot and humid spell of weather. When I took this photo above I was taking it for the contrast between the three buildings but you can also see that ominous sky. About four hours later I got caught out as the heavens opened up with an absolute deluge of heavy rain and I was stuck waiting outside the supermarket, within easy walking distance of my hotel, for forty minutes waiting for the downpour to stop.

Welcome to the Manawatu!

Some say that Palmerston North is the windiest city in New Zealand. They take advantage of that with this huge wind farm which apparently generates 80% of the electricity the area uses. I loved the way the setting sun highlighted the biggest of the wind turbines.
Once I got to the quilt exhibit I was delighted by this small quilt by Liz Gates of Fielding. The Manawatu Symposium was organised by a consortium of four area quilt groups and each had been asked to submit small works to show their area. The Symposium also featured many poppy images in recognition of the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of World War I which cost the lives of many soldiers from New Zealand.

The Symposium usually consists of several parts including: an exhibit, classes, merchant mall, lectures and more.

I was lucky to get into two classes with New Zealand tutors.  The first one was "Kapiti Seascape" given by Chris Kenna. I had seen Chris's quilt that this class was based on when I was at the 2011 Symposium in Queenstown...

At the time I loved the simplicity and elegance of this quilt so was excited to have the chance to take a class with Chris.  I'm sure you've all taken classes where you hope to get through the entire project but, if you are like me, and a bit of a slow poke, you come home with a project half done (yes, a PhD!)

Here's mine:
The way Chris has you do this is you first make your island, then assemble the sea and sky, add the island and then quilt it. Yep, that's as far as I got. And then my piece was rolled tightly and squashed in my luggage for more than a week so it is looking a little weary. But next I need to applique on the foreground. Chris has the classic New Zealand flax bush seed heads as the foreground. I might do that but I also have an idea to have the equally classic New Zealand cabbage tree in the foreground so later on I was busy trying to take photographs to give me an idea for that - see below.

Now I'm not sure if I have ever seen Kapiti Island but the local ladies in the class tell me I wouldn't see cabbage trees in real life when looking out at Kapiti. But I figure I can use artistic license if I want so, as they say, watch this space because I do think this is a class project I might just finish.


For my second class I was with the delightful Anna Williams for her "Celtic Rows" class. Again, I was pretty much of a slow poke. The method was somewhat similar to Kapiti Seascape in that we assembled a foreground (so to speak) then created and quilted a background. The celtic row foreground was then machine appliqued onto the background which, in essence appliqued and quilted at the same time.
Here are my pieces (again a little bedraggled from being stuffed in the suitcase):


You can see I regarded this more as a process than a project class. As a project it would be assembled in a quilt as you go style with narrow strips of binding between each of the rows. I can envisage using this technique for borders on a quilt and so hurried over to the Merchant Mall to see if I could find some patterns that might be adaptable for a current project I'm working on. Bingo! New Zealand Quilter magazine was having a half price sale on back issues and I picked up several. Alas, as I walked back to my hotel after class I realised how heavy those seven magazines were. Post script, I bought an additional suitcase before leaving New Zealand as my original one piece of baggage was now overweight!

But it is always an uplifting experience to go to a Quilt Symposium. The time spent away from home and all the domestic duties is a guilty pleasure and meeting up with friends you only see once every two years is an added bonus. Doing a little reconnaissance in other lands should be on every quilters "to do" list.

Now I'm home I must apply my time and my needle to finishing my "Where Poppies Grow" quilt top in the hope it can be finished ready to go to the Kansas City National World War I Museum for an exhibit in June. Before then I hope to get the binding and final finishing touches on my Thread of Memory Quilt which is currently with the longarm quilter.

Lots to do for me!


4 comments:

Judy said...

I am so pleased to see your workshop pieces safe and home. I also love the photo of the wind turbines in the NZ sunset.
The light always seems to be so different in the land of the long white cloud.
I will look forward to your version of the Kapiti Island.

Cheryl Kotecki said...

The big windmills I've seen before are white - the yellow of these makes the whole photo look like it was recolored. It's a stunning photograph. The quilt of them likewise.

Your Kapiti Island is going to need some foreground activity - I think your idea to make it your own with a different plant is going to make for another great quilt.

I love the background fabric in your Celtic applique project. Perhaps this technique will show up in a piece down the road even if the class project is not destined to be completed.

Helen said...

Great picture of the windmills. Did you take it in the afternoon with the sun shining on them? So glad you enjoyed Symposium. May I make a small correction to your post? There were 5 clubs involved in hosting Symposium .Rose City Quilters of Palmerston North, Rangitikei Country Quilters of Marton, Cotton On Quilters of Martin, Town and Country Quilters of Levin and Foxy Quilters of Foxton.

Dorry said...

Oh Helen, thank you so much for correcting my jetlagged mind and giving the names of the five groups who put on an absolutely fabulous Symposium. The way that the Symposiums are run entirely by volunteers is truly amazing. The photo of the windmills was taken very late in the afternoon (after I got back from class) from the 6th floor emergency exit stairs on the outside of the Copthorne Hotel. I loved the way the sun was catching those big white front ones and giving them a golden glow.