Teaching Philosophy

I feel successful when I teach people:

- to see what they look at!

- that it is ok to be different!

- to open a whole new world of creativity for them....

- that there is a solution for every problem (mostly with a quick-unpick!)

- that it is a joy to be creative......

The Creative Mind Plays with the Object it Loves -
Carl Jung

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Not always serious....

Towards the end of my 2 year term of office as the Chairlady of the Dias Quilters' Guild, our Guild had a joint challenge with the Port Elizabeth Embroiderers Guild in 2000 - the theme was "A Childs' Book of Wonder".   I felt obliged to participate although I was still exhausted after finishing Avian Grace.....

The theme of the challenge immediately took me back in time growing up with my friend, Trish Rush (nee Corbett) in Knysna.     We became friends at the tender age of 4 and we still share a strong bond 53 years later.   Initially we battled with conversation as we spoke different languages at home - she spoke English and I Afrikaans, but somehow we intuitively understood one another while playing.....     Because of Tishie, I was exposed to English books from a very young age as her mom took us to the library on Saturday mornings.    The English kids had a much bigger and better selection of books to choose from than us who read in Afrikaans.     I always paged through her books looking at all the lovely pictures and I just loved the Noddy books by Enid Blyton!   The Noddy books were the first English books which I learnt to read, before we started reading English at school.   So, I thought that using Noddy as theme for my challenge entry would be very apt and be a reminder of a wonderful childhood and very special friend.....

Childhood Pallies - Trish Rush and me in Port Elizabeth in 2007
As I normally do loads of research for the realistic themed quilts, this project was different as I only needed to get my hands on some Noddy books....!   I promptly paid the local library a visit and was delighted to find Noddy waiting patiently for me on the shelves.   The amazing thing was that I could immediately recall the delight meeting Noddy the first time, the feeling was the same as so many years before....!
I used this little book to sketch a design to make a small quilt, basically all machine appliqued and quilted.    I had great fun making a small floor rug as well as a quilt for the little bed.    For Noddy's unkept hair, I used the needlelace technique to make a wig which worked very well.  I used fabric paint to add some depth and shading.

Good Morning Sunshine 2000 - 2nd Prize A Childs' Book of Wonder 
Joint Challenge Dias Quilters's Guild and Port Elizabeth Embroiderers Guild
 Creating "Good Morning Sunshine" was great fun and a wonderful trip down memory lane..... Going further with my playful mood, I painted a label to sew onto the back of the quilt......

Label for Good Morning Sunshine - 2000
Making this quilt was the perfect therapy after finishing the intense work on Avian Grace.    It learnt me a great lesson as well - although life and our work is serious, we do need to nurture the play instinct to create balance in our lives.   It often is the small, insignificant things in life which gives us so much pleasure....  

My friend Wendy Singer and I decided to spend a day sewing waistcoats in 2000 for special creative time together as they were leaving South Africa to live in the UK.   At the time I was toying with the idea of  using scraps to make new fabric and our sewing session would be the ideal day for the experiment!  The idea was choosing a shape and cutting free hand - no precision cutting!    I chose a triangle as motif and cut lots of fairly small, irregular shaped triangles and randomly pinned it to the background fabric (one piece of the waistcoat front), the triangles overlapping one another with little bits of the background exposed.   I did not want to use applique paper to fuse the triangles down as it would give a very flat effect, my idea was to create a bit of texture.      I was careful to distribute the colour evenly accross the piece.  I cut the waistcoat front pieces bigger as I was afraid that all the stitching would shrink the pieces, which proved to be a wise decision.   I started off with ordinary sewing thread in a matching colour to the background fabric to secure the triangles to the background mainly to get rid of the pins and finished with various shades of rayon and metallic threads.  I stitched in a triangular motion to complement the shape of the triangles.    It really was mindless stitching, but most interesting as the triangles started to float on the background.     I finished it off by couching thick cotton and perle yarns also in a triangular motion which added to the texture. 

I finished the waiscoat off by fusing facings onto the right side and couching some of the same cotton and perle yarns onto the raw edge.   I  covered the facing space with free motion stitching, repeating the triangle theme using the same rayon and metallic threads used before.  

It created wonderful texture and opened many other possibilities for using tiny scraps.   

Waistcoat made from scraps - triangles pinned to background 2000
 I experimented with another waiscoat using rectangular shapes, but instead fused the bits to the background.   The result was smooth, neat and so much easier to stitch, but I preferred the more textured look although all the pins were quite tricky to navigate....
Waistcoat made from scraps - pieces fused to background 2001
Next time - Showtime........!

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