But life went on and I immediately joined the Dias Quilters' Guild. I brought finished wallhangings back from Harrismith and found an outlet here in Port Elizabeth at Wezandla Crafts. I made many small beaded wallhangings which was sold to overseas tourists - it kept me very busy.
During the July school holidays, the kids and I visited my parents in Knysna and I came home with another invitation for an exhibition! Bitou Crafts in Knysna invited me to exhibit quilts in their shop during the Nederburg Knysna Arts Festival in September 1996 - I was elated! I was beginning to feel much less freaked out when an opportunity for an exhibition came my way, also new design ideas came much easier. I noticed another development in my geometric work - I was moving away from the very bold designs and refining the overall "look" of the quilts.
I played with different shades of a colour and did designs in a colourwash format, cutting took forever as every little piece was cut very precisely. As I was using fusible web to assemble the designs, I really had to concentrate very hard as it was so easy to get lost....
Some of the pieces which I made for the 1996 Nederburg Knysna Arts Festival....
|96-11 Colourwash style - Sold in Knysna|
I also played with a row by row design, clearly moving back to traditional quilt design styles from which I deviated before.....
|96-08 Row by Row Design - Sold|
It was as if I was really now merging the traditional Ndebele geometric mural designs with quilt design. I designed a block pattern which I repeated and graded the colours in shades of browns.
|96-10 Block Design - Sold|
As I explained earlier, while I work on a project, my mind is always working on a next project..... I got the idea to make a quilt in two panels, a diptych! I had to work very accurately as the borders would tie the two panels together and it had to be exactly the same size as a trained eye would immediately observe if the alignment was out. I was very excited about this piece and was very distraught when two friends visiting from Switzerland bought the piece and each took one panel home...!
|96-09 Diptych - Sold (Switzerland)|
I never thought that these photo's would be in public domain and only took it for my records. My daughter Elizabeth holding the panels was not part of the design!
Before we left Harrismith, I played with a mirror-image design and included the quilt in the Nederburg Knysna Arts Festival exhibition.
|96-02 Mirror image design - Sold|
I made some waistcoats as part of the exhibition which the Americans loved buying .....
1996 was a wonderful and very productive year for me although it was also very traumatic with my mom severly affected after a stroke and our moving to Port Elizabeth. I made 29 wallhangings and waistcoats, selling most of it. I attributed this to the change of environment. As I have lived close to the coast most of my life, the colours of the sea, clear sky and lots of green vegetation make me feel alive and at home. The winters in the interior were too severe and brown for me and I battled to be creative as nature around me looked barren and dead, making me feel depressed. I realized I constantly needed to see lots of green around me as I experience life very visually............
Part of the 1996 batch was quite a big beaded wallhanging which I entered in the First National Bank Vita Craft Now 1997 competition which was juried - I was blown away when my quilt was selected to be part of the exhibition.
|96-19 Made for FNB Vita Craft Now 1997 Exhibition - Sold to an art gallery in Johannesburg|
Another highlight for me in 1996 was when the Dias Quilters' Guild announced that they would host the 1998 National Quilt Festival in Port Elizabeth and they needed volunteers to serve on the Festival Committee..... I offered my services as I needed new friends......!