Last night I gave a talk to the Waverley Patchworkers in the SE of Melbourne which is a long way away from little old Buninyong in the Western district of country Victoria which is where I live. Luckily to get there, although it was a round trip of over 300kms, most of the travelling was on the freeway which is a good thing as I am notorious for getting lost!
I have given quite a few talks now. For someone who a few years ago did not enjoy public speaking this is quite an achievement. To say that I actually enjoy it makes it even more of an achievement. However, when you are talking about something you are passionate about it is natural to enjoy sharing the joy of making quilts with people that are as passionate at making quilts as you are.
The Waverley group are certainly very passionate about quilting. I was their guest speaker after the AGM and to hear of their successes thru 2014 was a humbling experience not least the success of their quilt show which ended up donating over $14,000 to a local charity. They also made and donated over 225 quilts last year which is outstanding.
I have two talks that I can do, the first and usually my most popular talk is my quilting journey which is far from orthodox!
I came to quilting by mistake as I was no longer able to garden and paint which were my main creative outlets. I was a reasonably successful artist and sold several of my canvases so I was so disappointed to have to give it up. I played with fabrics and watched Simply Quilts and believed I’d found a new outlet for my creativity. I am completely self taught I have broken almost all the rules and as I claimed last night I had so many infringements the quilting police finally stopped warning me!
The other talk I do is on my love of Baltimore style quilts of which I have made quite a number. My passion these days is to take one Baltimore style block and reproduce it several times in a quilt and bring out a secondary design which doesn’t often happen in appliqué quilts.
I always take quite a few quilts to display and have them available for interested members of the audience to come and have a closer look at my work at the end of my talk. (you can see the pile of quilts at the bottom of the photograph below).
Last night after the talk a very nice lady came up to me and took me aside and said that I was still an artist, I had merely changed media. I call myself a fabric artist mostly because quilter doesn’t adequately explain that I design, construct and quilt quilts but this lady made me stop and think and agree with her in that I am an artist and that quilting is an art form. Certainly the comments I received last night, and after other talks, show that people do love my quilts and think them beautiful but I now see them as works of art as well.
Last night was an eye opener in many ways for me for I was asked many questions after my talk. Then when the audience had an opportunity to view the quilts at close quarters, and handle them for I’m not precious about white gloves or look but don’t touch the quilts – it reminds me too much of the English “don’t walk on the grass!” attitude – I was amazed at the genuine interest both in myself and the quilts.
I also got to meet several of my Facebook friends including Linda Steele who is a very much accomplished fabric artist in her own right. When she said that my quilts were stunningly beautiful I was so taken aback.
I now know I’m doing something right and actually doing what I should be doing. I am so lucky to be able to do so but I am also so lucky to have found what I should be doing and that is being a fabric artist who works with fabric not paint to make works of art and goes forth and inspires others to do the same by sharing my quilts by talking to other quilters.
For someone who didn’t like public speaking, I love it now and hope I have the opportunity to do more of it in the future who knows, maybe even overseas!