Hi, Remember me? I am currently on a three week workshop tour in the USA. It started in Sisters for The Quilters Affair and the The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. This event is a week that should be on every quilters bucket list for so many reasons of the heart and the creative soul.
Sisters, Oregon is a place of space. The mountains add glory in every direction. Even here in cloud shadow they bring peace to the mind and a smile to the heart. The town has the ghost of the past in wooden sidewalks and storefronts. Gardens fill every open space with the delight of random color and shape.
As quilters, the ideas that spring from the surrounds are endless. If quilts are about line shape and form and the maker is walking through spaces that inspire...the end result. Gathering in the high school gives the event a real community flair which is an integral part of the entire event. School kids push shopping trolleys through the halls laden with sewing machines and buckets of fabric as the quilters chat in an excited manner about the classes on offer...which are always superb! Moms, dads and kids of Sisters are a part of the event everywhere!
I love that these kids see their parents work hard to make an event and then are present at everything. It was obvious they are proud of what happens and feel engaged...so important for young people to know they are valued. Jean and Val have this event down pat. It runs like clockwork with the endless efforts of staff, friends and volunteers. The strength, insight, planning and heart of the organizational team is obvious at every turn.
Of course the whole event spins around The Stitching Post which is a cavernous colorful cave of quilting delights. The fabrics, the staff, the tools, books and patterns are strategically placed to ensure that everyone is overloaded with options at every level of quilting. From idea to completion what you need is there in a fantastic array of creativity. See a sample, find the components and get started!
My workshops started with Modern Wedge. In class some people explored new projects from Mixing Quilt Elements which is my latest book. Here is a sample photo of Wild Child in progress.
The next two days we worked Madness from Adding Layers which was my last book. Madness is all about using up those bits we save because we just can't throw them out. It is also about creating line in quilts. We had a blast using up things we love in fun layouts...trying new techniques and just being MAD in a crazy kind of way.
Then we went out Into The Woods for an imaginary stroll between the trees. This was a super fun class in which everyone drew from their childhood memories to create their own characters and spaces. We had fairies, pixies, the cast of The Wizard of Oz, book characters, brothers, sisters and children appearing all over the room to the sound of squeals and giggles. I was pleasantly surprised at the stories that came from this day and am grateful to have shared so much with everyone.
There are also lectures and events throughout the week of all kinds. I was lucky to have a lecture on Thursday night with the introduction of all the fantastic teachers. You know, with 30 teachers the variety of class offerings was top notch from art to fantasy, machine work to dying, hand stitching to machine piecing...you want it you get it from some of the best teachers I have ever met. The times when we gathered as teachers were full of smiles and sharing...heart warming stuff. Many friends were made there.
Show day photos are for another post when I can get them off my phone. The event concludes with Stay for Sunday...a walk amongst the trees with up to 30 quilts by a feature artist. I was that feature artist but a night of rain meant we held the event indoors! I have to admit I cried in my heart for the vision of my quilts hanging in this space.
Many hours of planning had gone into this day from so many...not to mention the fact that I lugged 5 suitcases around for five weeks to get them there! It was an act of great character for me not to fall on the floor of the hall in desperation pounding my fists and feet like a kid in a magnificent tantrum. However much I felt like that, we switched gears and the show went on. In fact, it was rather intimate and enjoyable inside! All good that ends well!
When it was all said and done I spent a day with Janet Storton of Sisters of the Heart
This is a story of a woman with a heart the size of the world. Janet made the journey to Africa 10 years ago to meet her sponsored child and to help on a medical mission. As we do, she took a quilt to give away. When the women of the village saw the quilt they at first thought it was a cape. When she explained it was to keep the boy warm at night they begged after her to teach them how to make these, "blankets of color." The rest is history as Janet has not made the courageous journey through treacherous times and territory to share her skills with the women. Her efforts to help them make goods and sell to raise money for women in need have produced a community shelter for the women and are now working toward a guest house. Rarely have I ever met a woman with so much fortitude and courage of the heart. She is to be greatly admired for her service without expectation...her love without boundaries...her endless courage and determination. Say a prayer for Janet and her women of Africa and if you want to help, contact her through the website link.
There is so much more to tell and share. Workshop participants, teachers, and all the visitors make space in my heart for more...more...more. As the woman on the plane said to me, "what a wonderful community you belong to!" when I described my experience. All I could do was smile and hold back the tears of gratitude for the gift of Sisters...so aptly named.
more to come...