The Gentle Art of Stitching.
For the last two years, a dedicated little band of ladies on Norfolk Island have organised a "QuiltNorfolk event in October.
The word is put out all over Australia and New Zealand, and quilters are invited to come to Norfolk Island for a week to enjoy what the island has to offer, and to take part in workshops related to their craft. Visiting tutors are invited from both countries, and there is a whole range of activities available. Sightseeing and get-together dinners add to the experience, and mid-week, there is a quilt exhibition featuring the work of both local and visiting quilters.
This year I was asked if I would like to participate as a tutor.
I thought about it and said yes, as long as the numbers were kept to about a dozen and I could do it in our covered patio at home.
I decided to do a Crazy Patchwork workshop, where the participants would make either a small Christmas stocking or a hanging heart. I thought both were projects that were easily achievable in a couple of days - and so they turned out to be. In fact, several went on to a second project, such as the little patchwork chickens they had seen in my display.
It turned out to be a lovely two days. We all felt very peaceful, stitching away.
I told the group right from the start that I did not really like the word workshop. I wanted them to think of it as a "playgroup", and that there were no rules, and that they were to follow their own dreams and visions and colour preferences.
I said that most "mistakes" could be covered up without unpicking, and may be opportunities to try something new.
I had put out baskets of scraps and embellishments, and containers of buttons (from my stash - I can well spare it, In fact, I really need help in actually using just a small fraction!) I also had a fair bit of "eye candy" and books on display in case anyone needed inspiration.
I cannot mention the workshop without mentioning Basil. He went from lap to lap. Fortunately most quilters are cat lovers.
The vibes were really good, and everyone seemed relaxed and engaged.
Everyone's bits and pieces covered the tables - fabrics, laces, beads, threads, ribbons, buttons, needles and pins....
Refreshments were "on tap" to help the concentration and relaxation!
Even a couple of partners enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere when they came to collect their wives.
I was really delighted that many people actually finished their projects, and moved on to another one of their own choice. They were all so motivated, and that is really satisfying for a tutor!
I was not surprised when Rowena, the organiser of "QuiltNorfolk" said the feedback was really good. I was really encouraged, even flattered when she described me in the newspaper article as the local guru"anything is possible" Mary Christian-Bailey. Because "Quilt Police" are banned from my place. Everyone deserves the opportunity to get in touch with their own "Muse." The point is to enjoy what you are doing, and to get personal satisfaction from your own creativity, without worrying about the expectation of others. That way you are more likely to give pleasure to others, and encourage them to work with hands and heart in a fulfilling way.