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