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

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Port Elizabeth - Legacy of Settlers

It is such a long time since I had time to post on this blog as I had teaching trips to George and East London with our annual Spring Show of the Dias Quilters' Guild in between the trips and to top it off, the most amazing fundraising Tea for Festival 2017 funds a week ago...!   Life is busy in Port Elizabeth!

I started a quilt of historical buildings of Port Elizabeth in 2006, but had to abandon it due to time restrictions and time out due to spinal surgery.    I shelved this project for one day....   As I hate UFO's, the niggling guilty feeling of not finishing this piece kept on bugging me, so I decided early in 2011 to finish this quilt.   It was extremely difficult to regain the initial momentum and rhythm, indeed a reason why I don't like to interrupt a project.

After 5 years, I was very critical of the work already finished on this quilt.    I unpicked one entire block and re-started from scratch, only keeping the painted sky section!    Another block also had the pick-unpick treatment!     I slowly regained the momentum and picked up speed.   I realized that maybe it was good that I was forced to abandon work on this quilt as somehow I was so happy with the second take on it....

I completed the blocks and started sewing the quilt together.    The quilt was really a combination of techniques and was really a test for my skills - it was really the most complex and challenging quilt which I have ever made.    I could not find fabric for the church walls, so I painted stone walls with a tiny brush.    I used Avalon Plus to embroider the wrought iron fence around the church yard.    Avalon Plus was also used to do the gates of the Grey Institute, one of the first schools in Port Elizabeth and the gates at the Public Library.    I added the Campanile as it was erected to commemorate the centenary of the landing of the 1820 Settlers in Port Elizabeth.

Close-up detail of the 4 main blocks:

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Port Elizabeth
City Hall, Port Elizabeth
Public Library, Port Elizabeth

Grey Institute, Port Elizabeth

We are blessed in Port Elizabeth with a large heritage of beautiful historical buildings.    I used some of the buildings as quilting designs in the border of this quilt.    The Pearson Conservatory fitted perfectly in the bottom section of the border.    I also quilted one of the oldest houses in Port Elizabeth, No 7 Castle Hill (now a museum) and a section of the Donkin Street terrace houses into the border as well as other interesting buildings.    I prepared a quilting panel of a section of a wrought iron fence around the St Johns Methodist Church for the top section of the border.    

As I was quilting, I was delighted with the effect which I was creating as I felt that I actually succeeded in using the quilting process to extend the design of the quilt.    I also realized that although I loved the freedom and creativity of the art quilts, these realistic quilts really are such a tremendous challenge and I just love creating them....   It is such a thrill to succeed, yet a very humbling and spiritual experience....

Port Elizabeth - Legacy of Settlers 2011
My son Jopie escorted me on various trips to take photographs of the historical buildings.   I used 35mm film for photographs while he used his digital camera.    I used both photographs and images on the computer for detail and to prepare patterns to work from.    When it was time to quilt the border, it was the turn of my husband Willem to accompany me on further photography trips as I needed images of more buildings....   So, this quilt was really a family affair....

This quilt was awarded Best Machine Workmanship at the 2011 National Quilt Festival which was held in Stellenbosch.

It is part of a selection of South African quilts and currently in the United States of America where it is on show at four different venues as part of the 2012 World Quilt Competition.