New Zealand adventures

What to do when its raining….write my blog!

I am into my third week away here in New Zealand and I am having an enjoyable and eventful time. I started the trip in Napier with my exhibition at the Boyd Dunlop Gallery. I shared the show “Silk and Glass” with New Zealand glass artist Evelyn Dunstan. Her work is incredible, she is such a talent, intricate natural forms in lead crystal using the lost wax method. ( I was fortunate to visit Evelyns studio when I was in Auckland and see the process.) I was very proud to have my embroideries displayed alongside her work.

The gallery looked amazing, I was thrilled to see my work given such status in a beautiful space. Richard is keeping the unsold pieces in the gallery when the exhibition ends and we are planning a new exhibition for 2020. Looks like I will have to come back again. Hooray!

After a few days enjoying Napier, the Art Deco architecture and the art galleries  I travelled to Auckland for the Quilt Symposium. This was 5 days of teaching, 2 courses and 38 students! We were based at St Cuthberts College and I was one of about 40 tutors from far and wide including New Zealand, Canada, USA, Australia and the UK. The week embraced all things textile!

My students on the Crashing Waves course

My students on the Colourful Landscapes course

There were courses, exhibitions, lectures, shopping opportunities and best of all a chance to meet other tutors who were previously just names I knew well. That networking is invaluable and it is so good to share experiences with like minded people. It was a pleasure to meet Kim Thittichai, Alysn Midgelow-Marsden and Pat Archibald. Oohhh look at me name dropping!

“Our” beach in front of the Airbnb at Ferry Landing

After the Symposium I had booked a place to stay on the Coromandel Peninsula at Ferry Landing, a couple of hours from Auckland. The weather was very kind and we enjoyed sunshine and walks on deserted beaches.

Fresh fish for breakfast with the view from the deck

We visited Hot Water Beach which was huge fun, to see people furiously digging enormous holes up to 6ft deep to create their own mini spa from the natural hot springs under the sand. We took the lazy option and used an abandoned one!

In Waiau Kauri Grove and waterfalls

We explored the peninsula thoroughly with walks in the bush and a climb up and over Shakespeare Cliff to Lonely Bay. We took the passenger ferry over to Witianga for dinner one evening and just relaxed. It was the perfect antidote to the previous week! 

Hot Water Beach fun!

So a few more days in NZ left to enjoy, a wonderful stay with friends in Hastings followed by Lake Taupo and Bay of Plenty. Then John returns home and I head to Syndey for the Aussie bit of this trip.

Aurifil Challenge #2!

My trip to NZ is imminent and once again I am responding to the Aurifil challenge! Use more than 5 colours on a project.

Choosing the thread colours

I feel it was an obvious one for me to choose in one way as using more that 5 colours is really not unusual for me. I used the 50wt cotton, a fine thread that allows me to get lots of detail in a small area. Here is the silk painted base stretched in the hoop with some dark green stitching giving some texture and definition to the foliage.

Inspired by a photograph of my garden, it is an excuse to have an image of it highlighted in stitch while I travel to other side of the world. It will be a pleasant reminder of home while I am in NZ and Australia

This is the side entrance to our garden, looking its colourful best in May when all our rhododendrons are in full bloom.

I have used straight stitch for all this embroidery,  just varying the length of stitch and the textures for each area. The arch and fence was a test of a steady hand and good control of the hoop. I have used a very dark brown with pale grey highlights. 

When I took the photograph the gate was open, making it an invitation to come in and look around. I chose to embroider the fence and arch and actually left the gate out! Did you notice…of course you did. Artistic license!

It will be on display at Gallery76 which is the NSW Embroiderers Guild Headquarters, Queen St, Concord West Sydney Australia on 25th October 2019 for a week., while I am there teaching courses.

Work/life balance

The year is racing by and this week the weather is fabulous, especially for February so a little time in the garden was in order.  We have had the snowdrops and now the hellebores, primulas and daffodils are making an appearance, it makes me eager for Spring.

I don’t want to wish away the weeks though as this is the time of year I am busy with new work for Chelsea Flower Show. There never seems to be long enough for all the ideas I have for new pieces. The show will be upon me before I know it!

New work in progress. Foreground to complete with fenceposts, wild flowers and grasses.

I am planning some embroideries based on the photographs of NZ and Australia from last year, also some cherry blossom from Japan which is nearly 12 months ago, where did that year go?

I am mixing in some teaching and a little more travel, but this time it was for a holiday not work. Although there is inspiration everywhere so I did take a lot of photographs!

My husband and I went to South Africa for 2 weeks, starting in Cape Town for a few days and then along the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth and finally a few days in a game reserve for the most amazing experience. And before anyone asks…I have no intentions of adding animals to my range of embroideries!

As usual this the time of year for planning my Australia/NZ trip. This year it’s a month earlier and I will start the trip in NZ at the Quilt Symposium and an exhibition at the Boyd Dunlop Gallery in Napier. I will then travel to Sydney to visit the NSW Embroiderers Guild Headquarters for a lecture, weekend course and a masterclass. The final part of the trip will be a visit to Perth and Margaret River for 3 courses.

New work for Chelsea

Meanwhile it’s time for me to concentrate on the Chelsea Flower Show and all those embroideries I want to make!