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Gail's Quilting Blog

Musuems

Taupo – Around Town

Schoolyard Art

Schoolyard Art

With Symposium 2013 at an end, I said farewell to new friends as well as long-time friends.   My next few days would be spent with Marion Manson, the woman who is responsible for my love affair with New Zealand.  Back in about 1990, Marion purchased a pattern from me.  It was my first overseas order and I was so excited that I wrote to her.  She wrote back and soon we were dedicated pen pals — this was in the days before internet!  Marion was on the organizing committee of Symposium 1997, held in Hamilton and I was invited to teach there, my first New Zealand Symposium.

Taupo Museum with Marion

Taupo Museum with Marion

Marion works in natural dyes on different fibers and it active in the art community throughout New Zealand.  First on our agenda for the day was the Taupo Museum, except that some shop windows beckoned along the way.  In honor of the Symposium many of the shop windows were beautifully decorated.

Kiwi in Store Window

Kiwi in Store Window

Without a doubt, this was my favorite shop window!  And, I left a goodly amount of cash with them for safe keeping!  I walked out sporting a new jacket.

Weaving at Woolshed

Weaving at Woolshed

We found this lovely hand woven piece at the Woolshed, where many of the woolens and possum-down items were on sale.  I left some more cash there!  It was beginning to look like an expensive day.

Flowers everywhere Taupo

Flowers everywhere Taupo

But, we soon returned to our mission of the day – the many special quilt exhibits at the Taupo Museum.

Red Heart

Red Heart

The first exhibit that caught my eye was right inside the front door.  Covering two free standing panels were row upon row of 12″ square little quilts, all done in shades of RED!  The Red quilts at Taupo were a challenge given by Aotearoa Quilters. The winner was the lovely gerbera by Sonya Prchal. There were 137 entries from all around New Zealand. The quilts were all for sale, cash and carry, and the remainder will be shown at the Stitches and Craft show in Hamilton 7th/8th September.  Many thanks to Janet Ryan, of New Zealand for the above information.  Here are a few of my favorites.

Red Flower

Red Gerbera Daisy by Sonya Prchal, Grand Prize Winner

Red Houses

Red Houses

Red Koru

Red Koru

Red Ribbon

Red Ribbon

If anyone knows the names of the quiltmakers of the other quilts, and their stories behind these little quilts, I would sure appreciate that information.  Back outside, another shade of red caught my eye. . .

Sparrows and apple

Sparrows and Apple

Laying in the wet parking lot, amid the parked vehicles, someone had discarded an apple core.  It seemed to be just the meal the local sparrows hungered for.  Although all looks peaceful in this image . . .

Sparrow Fight

Sparrow Fight

Guarding one’s feast might just make winter survival a little easier.  Marion also was attracted by the outdoor colors.

Marion Picking Leaves

Marion Picking Leaves

She began picking winter leaves for her dye pots at home.  Before long,

Marion's Leaves

Marion’s Leaf Bouquet

she had collected a lovely little leaf bouquet.  And through it all, in the mist of the winter day,

Magnolia flower

Magnolia flower

the magnolias bloomed wildly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Taupo – Around Town

Looking onto Lake Taupo Artw

Looking onto Lake Taupo Art

It doesn’t take long to discover that Taupo boasts a burgeoning art community, well supported in their local community.  Although I was did not capture the specifics of this sculpture that looks out onto Lake Taupo, its majesty sets the tone for art in the downtown area.

Heartland by Brett Taylor, 2011

Heartland by Brett Taylor, 2011

During the course of my meanderings, I found many of the sculptures highlighted in the “Walk the Sculptures of Taupo” brochure.  Much of the art has been funded by the Taupo Sculpture Trust that began in 2008, by a small group of art lovers who decided the time was right to add some dynamic shape and culture to the Lake Taupo Region.  The Trust is now registered as a New Zealand Charitable Trust.

In the above piece, Heartland, the red heart of North Island is set under a matai structure with bronze strap as a tribute to the early New Zealand settlers.

Birds and Stone of Te Arawa by Graham Cooper, 1993

Birds and Stone of Te Arawa by Graham Cooper, 1993

This Sculpture symbolizes the gifts of bird and stones of the Te Arawa voyagers.  The Tuwharetoa people left birds and stones on the shore of Lake Taupo to protect and guide all followers.

This sculpture, created from stainless steel and glass, represents a long wave length surface that travels long distances across a body of water.  It embodies a light hearted sense of fun as well as an environmental message.

 

Taupo-nui-a-Tia, the Great Cloak of Tia, by Lynden Over, 2009

Taupo-nui-a-Tia, the Great Cloak of Tia, by Lynden Over, 2009

My friends, Melissa and Diane, posed in front of this piece which is the first sculpture commissioned by the Taupo Sculpture Trust.  It is set on the plinth of local volcanic rhyolite rock and symbolizes the two sides of the legendary cloak.  The glass feather depict the lake, sky, river, and volcanic Earth.

Sitting in the Donut

Sitting in the Donut

In addition to the art listed in the brochure, we also found other art, scattered throughout the downtown area.  My friend Marion Manson snapped this photo right outside the Replete, the cafe where we ate lunch!  And, a delicious lunch it was too.

Koru in the Shoestore

Koru in the Shoe Store

Even the flooring was artistic, as evidenced by this stone Koru that was the flooring in the local sport shoe shop.  Art is everywhere in Taupo!  Check it out next time you visit.

 

 

 

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Auckland Aquatics and Friends

Auckland

Auckland

Back to the city, we traveled with new adventures in mind.  The skyline of Auckland is dominated by the Sky Tower.  At 328 meters tall, (~1,000 ft), it is the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere with its impressive spire!  Visitors can ride to the top in the glass-fronted lifts to one of the three spectacular viewing platforms, or for more thrills and excitement, SkyWalk round the pergola, or even SkyJump off the Tower!  Now, there’s a thrilling ride!  You also can relax with a coffee or light refreshments at Sky Lounge or dine at Orbit – Auckland’s only 360-degree revolving restaurant.  But, my new day hosts, Alison Laurence and Hazel Foote, had lowlier destinations in mind!

Gentoo Swim

Gentoo Swim

Knowing about my passion for all things feathered, we headed down to Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium.  Built from the abandoned former sewage tunnels, it opened in 1985.  The original Underwater World was the vision of Kelly Tarlton – an extraordinary Kiwi adventurer, diver, explorer and inventor, who wanted to share his love of the ocean with others.

The attraction is made up of different zones, such as the Antarctic Ice Encounter, which is home to New Zealand’s largest sub-Antarctic penguin colony, offering a rare opportunity to see the magnificent birds up close in their icy domain. With the new walking paths, visitors can spend as long as they like watching the 80-strong colony of King and Gentoo penguins and their playful antics on the snow and their elegant flight underwater.

Gentoo Penguin

Gentoo Penguin

Kelly Tarlton’s has undergone major renovations since my last visit there 19 months ago.  Gone is the mock Antarctic vehicle that used to transport visitors through the tunnels.  In its place are spacious walking tracks with large windows, perfect for viewing the penguin colony above and below ground.  We got great looks at the Gentoo Penguins both above and below the surface.

King Penguins

King Penguins

The larger King Penguins tended to stay aloof from the boisterous Gentoos.  We were there for feeding time, which was a real treat.  The second largest penguin, smaller only than the Emperor Penguin, no other bird has a longer breeding cycle. They take 14 to 16 months to fledge a single chick. During the winter, chicks may be left to fast for from one to five months (May to September/October). Adults can rear a maximum of only two chicks every three years.

King and Gentoo Penguins

King and Gentoo Penguins

We were there for feeding time at 11 a.m. which was an extra thrill.  One of the King Penguins is quite elderly and arthritic and spends much of the day on a heated area to help with this arthritic feet.  He moves slowly but with determination.  During feeding this charmer vocalized for his caretaker with whom he has bonded.  Such a treat!

In addition to the penguins, SEA LIFE has an extensive museum with artifacts, photos and a walk-through replica of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic hut (established back in 1911), complete with authentic memorabilia offers a glimpse at what it was like to live 100 years ago in the coldest place on Earth.

Lion Fish

Lionfish

Of course, the aquarium hosts many forms of sea life in a huge array of tanks.  However, it’s really hard to get a decent photo of any thing that is swimming in a tank of water, so this lionfish was the best I could do! In addition to being a major tourist attraction, SEA LIFE has established the SEA LIFE Conservation Fund (SLCF), an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to conserving and protecting New Zealand’s unique aquatic habitats and the incredible animals that live in them.  SLCF is dedicated to conserving the marine environment by funding and carrying out research and educational projects that will help protect threatened species and habitats, and teach us more about the relatively little-known marine world.

Jaws!

Jaws!

And then there were the BIG FISH I was happy that I didn’t meet!  Or should that be meat?

 

 

 

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National Quilt Museum

THEN!  On to the main reason for our trip!

National Quilt Museum

National Quilt Museum

The National Quilt Museum in downtown Paducah – where two of my quilts are proudly hanging.  This weekend is the big American Quilter’s Society Show, when the Museum and everything else in Paducah is mobbed!  But we were there one week prior when all was quiet.  Here’s what it looks like this weekend.

National Quilt Museum on Saturday, April 27, 2013

National Quilt Museum on Saturday, April 27, 2013

I snagged this image from their Facebook page. It was titled “Random photo of the Museum Lobby at 10:00 a.m.   It makes me really appreciate the peaceful aura that pervaded the previous Saturday.

We visit my quilts, Azimuth and Cosmic Parade

We visit my quilts, Azimuth and Cosmic Parade

Here we are posing in front of Azimuth, the largest quilt I’ve ever made.  It was entirely hand stitched between 1984 and 1989, and an original design measuring 110″ x 110″.  I can think of no greater honor than for it to hang in the National Quilt Museum.  Although photos are not allowed in the museum, the curator kindly let me take photos of Azimuth and Cosmic Parade.  I just love the way they hang side-by-side, showing my early work and my later art quilt style.

Museum Curator, Judy Schwender and I with my quilts.

Museum Curator, Judy Schwender and me with my quilts.

Curator, Judy Schwender, gave us a personal tour of the collections on display.  With about 450 quilts in the permanent collection, each is handled only with gloves and packed carefully into an acid-free box with acid-free tissue padding the fold when they are not on display.  It was surprisingly emotional for me when I saw them both hanging in the main gallery, each carefully lighted so all the quilting shows up.  It was then that I truly realized I would never again be able to touch them that I nearly burst into tears (of pride).   I am so happy that they will be properly cared for and appreciated by quilters for years to come.

Cosmic Parade, which is featured on the cover of my book Stellar Journeys

Cosmic Parade, which is featured on the cover of my book Stellar Journeys

We spent the whole afternoon at the museum.  My quilts are in very good company; some of the best quilt artists in the world have their work displayed there.  Special exhibits right now include the quilts of Emiko Toda Loeb and Regina Alexandra.  Emika Toda Loeb’s complex quilts are composed of Log Cabin blocks and are usually two-sided.  Regina Alexandra quilts reflect the spare sensibilities of the Modern Quilt Movement.  Another special exhibit is the “Oh, WOW, Collection of miniature quilts.”  We did say “Oh, Wow!” more than once.

Another gallery featured new quilts from an old favorite – Jacob’s Ladder.  There also was a carved wooden quilt by Fraser Smith that was so realistic, none of us believed it was wood until we saw the back.  You must check out his work!

In short, the National Quilt Museum is definitely a must-see destination for all quilters.  I am glad that my work is a part of the collection.

Flags along the walkway to the Museum

 

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