Monday, April 14, 2014

Quilt Convention Part Two

Where do I start? It is such a great honour and privilege to be asked to teach at AQC and this year was the third time for me. My schedule meant that as always I didn't have any new work completed to teach, so instead it was a Mystery Quilt based on this historical Mughal textile from the Victoria and Albert Museum…..this is a detail of the original embroidered floor spread…...
and now that the mystery is over I can finally reveal my quilt…..minus the embroidered corners which I will possibly do on the way to the UK in July!!…..




One of the highlights of AQC is the gala dinner and what an event it always is. This is the night when the eagerly awaited awards are announced. The building at night…….

 and the delightful Jennie Rayment from the UK dressed for the occasion!…….
The entertainment is always sensational and it opened with these amazing drummers…...


Those who had attended every AQC were awarded a special memento to celebrate their loyal 10 years…..


 The MC was Editor of the Australian Women's Weekly Helen McCabe - a first time for her and I think she was a little overwhelmed with our enthusiasm!
 And all the way from Switzerland was Mr Ueltschi of Bernina especially for the 10th year of AQC….wow!

After main course the Best of Australia quilt winner was announced. Janet Treen of New South Wales was the well deserved winner with her beautiful quilt 'Rings and Roses'
 Now the rest of the night is a total blur apart from these gorgeous performers……...

 And then the nerves took over. Some months back I had been a part of the nomination process for our lovely friend Faye Packham for the Lut Da Award. Lut Da is the aboriginal word for 'to give' and a more giving person you will never meet. Faye's adult daughter has an intellectual disability and if it wasn't for the Bedford Group Lauren wouldn't be employed or be living in her own home (along with her devoted Mum, Dad and brother). So with Lessa Siegele's help the Bedford Mystery Quilt Challenge was launched some years ago. In a short time over $100,000 was raised so we were all pretty sure this would be fitting for this award. So with fingers crossed and with winks to my Guild colleagues we waited with baited breath….and then it happened! I am sure everyone could hear the shouts from Melbourne to Adelaide! It was an absolute thrill…love you and all you stand for Faye xxx
 So what happened next…..well the Shining LIght award had already been given to a talented young lady and then it was time for the Rajah Award to be announced. Well it is only a few days ago that I shared with you that Lessa Siegele was one of the early recipients of this award and that she had reproduced the very famous Rajah quilt. The website for the award states that …..This award will acknowledge an outstanding contribution to quilting in Australia, whether it be a contribution as a quilting teacher, designer, author, historian, guild worker, retailer, etc or a combination of work in several of these areas. This award is called the ‘Rajah Award’ in tribute to the historic Rajah quilt made by convict women en route to Australia in 1841.

For the last four years I have predicted the recipient but I have to tell you I was way off this year!! It started with a few brief bits of information about the nominee….."This quilter had done charity work, been a member of her Guild for a long time, served on committees for her Guild, had written two books, had designed three ranges of fabrics………and then something was mentioned about tours overseas……..yes Helen Bertram…..it was me!!!! My head went in my hands - a major angina attack erupted…... how could I get up on that stage…..no speech prepared….no way could it be me!!! The previous recipients were lined up on stage to welcome me and as I write now I have tears flowing down my face as I cannot believe I am looked upon as "one of them". My first words in that microphone were that I was 'too young' for this…but what I really meant was that I have looked up to all of the other Rajah Award winners for so very long and I just couldn't possibly be 'one of them'! 



 With no tissue on me I sniffled and then did the proverbial disgusting nose wipe on the back of my arm……...





 When I finally composed myself it was fitting to have a photo with Faye and the beautiful Judy Newman of Expertise Events…….
Well I think it was real because I brought home this very heavy trophy (about 5 kgs of crystal I think!!)……..

I have been overwhelmed with emails and messages so I will leave with these words which I left on Facebook today …..I am totally overwhelmed and humbled by all your wonderful emails and messages of support - thank you. My quilting journey as many of you know has been totally unexpected and unplanned - but at the end of the day it is the people in our industry…….my quilting buddies, all the students I have met and all the amazing support from the industry, that have carried me along the way. If it wasn't for all of you (and maybe a touch of William Morris!) then I wouldn't be where I am today….thank you, thank you, thank you xxxxx 

Quilt Convention excitement - Part One

I've been home 24 hours and what a whirlwind it has been! I am completely exhausted and to my friends overseas I have some incredible news to share -  but that will be in "Part Two"!
The Australasian Quilt Convention has been sensational for a number of reasons, not least of all that this year the event celebrated 10 fabulous years! Judy and Gary from Expertise Events have contributed enormously to quilting in Australia bringing overseas tutors 'down under' to share in their skills. We arrived Wednesday morning to deliver our quilts and then after a brief tutor meeting we discovered our lovely accommodation……
For copyright reasons I can't share many quilts as I haven't asked permission from the quilt makers. I do want to share these though as I am sure these friends will be okay with that! Each year a prestigious award is handed out - the Rajah Award (which you will hear more about in Part Two!!)…….anyway last year's recipient was the talented Jenny Bowker and a display of her incredible quilts was on display and sadly due to illness she was unable to be there.……





Amongst the many other displays were quilts from some of the tutors. There were 14 tutors from around the world with many and varied talents…..
                                         
Again I have only shown images of those that I am able…….Gloria Loughman



 A very special friend and first time teacher at AQC Faye Packham……..

Julie Haddrick…….and the self portrait is incredibly lifelike!…….

And yours truly!……….

 Between classes I popped down to see more including the "Best of the Best" quilts from each state of Australia and and I was glad to find one very proud quilter Michele (also spelt with one "L"!), from the Northern Territory. She was thrilled to bits that her quilt was selected and she informed me her beautiful quilt was made entirely of silk………..thanks Michele…..
I also came across this quilt from my first book and beautifully made by Patricia also from NT…….

One of our talented girls from home, Helen Campbell…….love it Helen……...

 Elizabeth Camping is also from home and creates very original and innovative pieces……….

And South Australia shines again with Ming's intricately quilted work………...

 There is also the Best of Show winning quilts on display and this was the one from Janet Treen of New South Wales who eventually won Best of Australia. Well done Janet…your quilt is stunning……..

I met a very excited Pamela Brockwell with her "Best of Show" entry from Victoria….
Jenny Bowker was the winner from the Australian Capital Territory…….

Jocelyn Leath represented Western Australia…..a clever portrait done in manipulated cheesecloth…...

Pam Hill from Queensland and her entry……...


I have been very lucky to represent South Australia on four occasions and my quilt was glad to be unfolded and off the shelf! It will travel until the end of the year so farewell my friend……
and for some reason I seem to be missing Tasmania and Northern Territory but you can see them here on the Bernina Australia site. Every year Expertise Events sets a challenge to quilters with a set criteria and size. This year the theme was TEN in recognition of the 10th year of AQC. Some of them can be seen here on the AQC website but I did take the liberty of photographing one of our very own quilters from home as her piece is just stunning. Ming's work is impeccable and there are 10 hidden cats in this whole cloth quilt made from a recycled tablecloth……..




 The venue never disappoints …. it is the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building and has a stunning interior…...
 Faye was so excited to be teaching for the very first time and her skill is in piecing especially encouraging beginners…………...
 and this is one of her shining stars who happened to turn sweet 16 on day three of four days with Faye! Well down Faye on nurturing another future quilter…….and to Skye and your beautiful Mum…it was so lovely to meet you both. We all hope this is the beginning of a long journey of quilt making (and thanks for my beautiful scarf too xxx). Skye managed to produce these two…yes TWO quilts tops at this one event - WOW!…..
Well I didn't take too many photos in class but I did have to take this one of Anne……she read her instructions well as it told her to have everything labelled with her name….but glasses as well Anne??? Loved having you and everyone else……bless you all xxx
 So I will try to remain calm and gather my thoughts as I am about to type one of the the most incredible things that has ever happened to me in Part Two……...