Gail Garber Designs
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Home Sweet Home at Thimbleweeds

There’s No Place Like Home!  My favorite things include the wonderful quilters that make up the Thimbleweeds group.   A while back, I was thinning out the old patterns that I had stored in the garage for the past 20 or so years.  It had become obvious that they just weren’t going to sell.  Plus I needed the space.

Homecoming (c) 199

Homecoming (c) 1990

So, I donated all the parts to my Homecoming pattern, written in 1990, sans directions, no bags, not assembled into any sort of order and bundled them all off in Donna’s minivan.

Thimbleweeds Homecoming Devotees

Thimbleweeds Homecoming Devotees from l-r:  Colleen Konetzni, Marlene Walker, Holly Plugge, Mary Moya, Judy Aronow, Ann Driscoll and Anne Townsend.

Imagine my surprise when I showed up at Thimbleweeds and there, along one wall of their meeting room, hung row upon row of Homecoming Quilts in Progress.

Who am I #4

Holly Plugge

Each quilter had made the blocks uniquely her own.

Who am I #2

Marlene Walker

It was great to get to see all of the variations they had created from the base pattern.

Who am I #1

Mary Moya

Each reflected the personality of its maker, like this version in bright colors.

Who am I #3

Judy Aronow

But this version by Anne Townsend gets the prize for the most embellishment.  It is simply enchanting.

Little House with Little Owl

Little House with Little Owl

This little house was so altered from my original design, that all I recognized was the walk.  Check out the owl house!

Little Owl

Little Owl

Complete with a cozy nest hole for the neighborhood owl.

Anne Townsend's Quilts Yes there is more than one!

Anne  Driscoll’s Quilts. Yes there is more than one!

But the prize surely goes to Anne Townsend, who made not one, but displayed two.  This threadwork version is still in progress, and she also showed another that she made from the original pattern, way back in the early 1990s!

Gotta love those Thimbleweed girls!

 

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Home Again! And a New Quilt Too!

Climate Change (c) 2013 by Gail Garber and Kris Vierra

Climate Change (c) 2013 by Gail Garber and Kris Vierra

As much as I love New Zealand, it is always good to be home, where I can snuggle with my dogs, visit my friends and catch up on all that has gone on while I was away.  One of the greatest thrills on the return from this trip was the arrival of my now quilted, Climate Change.  Kris Vierra, of Lincoln, NE is my partner on this project and she did all of the amazing machine quilting.   All that was left for me to do was to put the binding on.

Climate Change - Close Up View

Climate Change – Close Up View

Here you can better see some of her amazing quilting.  It has been accepted into the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara, CA in October this year!   Many, many thanks to Kris for all her work on this quilt!  I think we make a great team!

 

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Meet Marion Manson, Fiber Artist

Marion Manson

Marion Manson

If you’ve been following my New Zealand blog posts, you’ve seen the images of Marion Manson  collecting leaves.   Marion and I became friends back in the early 1990s when she ordered a pattern from me.  It was the very first time that anyone from overseas had ordered a pattern from me.  I was so thrilled that I wrote to her and then she wrote back.  We became pen pals.  And, it was Marion, one of the conveners of the 1997 New Zealand Quilt Symposium, who made it possible for me to teach in my very first overseas venue.  We have remained friends throughout the years and I love to visit her, and husband Kerry each time I return to New Zealand.

Marion's Leaves

Marion’s Leaves

In recent years, Marion’s passion for quilting has evolved into creating her own textiles, using natural dyes and tannins from the foliage of different plants.  Her back yard and garage are full of various pots with bundles of fiber carefully wrapped around different types of leaves, each of which creates different colors and shapes on her fabrics.

Marion's Shawl

Marion’s Shawl

She had an exhibit of her works at a gallery in Hamilton during my visit where I was able to see many of her beautiful designs, both garments like the shawl above, and wall hangings.

Wall Hanging by Marion Manson

Wall Hanging by Marion Manson

I love the delicate fibers and subtle texture in her layered works.

Wall Hanging by Marion Manson

Wall Hanging by Marion Manson

All of the textiles in Marion’s work are created by natural dyes obtained from plants.  The dark color in this piece is particularly dramatic.

Large Wall Hanging by Marion Manson

Large Wall Hanging by Marion Manson

In this larger, sampler piece, the various techniques that she uses are evident.  I hope that she has another exhibit when our tour visits Hamilton in April 2014 so others can also see her works.  Thanks Marion, for being my New Zealand BFF!

 

 

 

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Welcome to Donna’s Quilt Studio

Donna's Quilt Studio

Donna’s Quilt Studio

Back in Hamilton, Marion and I made a quick stop at Donna’s Quilt Studio!   This is where we will be taking a 1/2 day class during my upcoming Quilting and Textile Tour of New Zealand.

Donna and Ashley

Donna and Ashleigh

Owned by award winning quiltmaker, Donna Ward and her daughter Ashleigh, a visit to these old friends was a treat in so many ways.  Above, Donna and Ashleigh show off the quilt they are raffling. The proceeds will go to help offset the costs of long-term rehabilitation for Libby Lehman, who suffered a stroke in April 2013.

Kiwiana Fabric

Kiwiana Fabric

I asked Donna to show off some of the Kiwiana fabric that she sells.  This fabric line features all the wonders of New Zealand in fiber, so that you can extend your memories of this great island nation.

Learn to Count

Learn to Count

There is even a panel that can be made into a Learn To Count soft book for young children.

Fantails - A New Zealand endemic

Fantails – A New Zealand endemic

The Kiwiana line of fabrics includes a wide array of designs from traditional Maori symbols to native birds.

Ashleigh, Donna, Yours truly and Merle

Ashleigh, Donna, Yours truly and Merle

Donna’s Quilt Studio is a family affair with Donna at the lead, daughter Ashleigh, and Merle, her mom!  I cannot wait to visit again in April 2014 with some of you and I can’t wait to see what Donna has in mind for our class!

Classic Car Museum

Classic Car Museum

And, for the men who will be on our tour and possibly not interested in a quilting class, the Classic Car Museum is right next door!

Car Art

Car Art

The vehicles range from this artistic alteration of a classic to the dream cars that are indoors!  It’s the perfect way for a gent to spend the morning.  I hope many of you will join me on this tour!

 

 

 

 

 

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The Comfort of Stitch – Revisited

The Comfort of Stitch by Lee-ann Newton

The Comfort of Stitch by Lee-ann Newton

Shortly after I posted this image on my blog, I heard from my friend Marion Manson, who had posted a similar photo and story on her blog.  She was contacted by Lee-ann who gave her a link to her own blog that has the full, and fascinating story of how this quilt came to be.  It’s worth a read!  What a wonderful quilt with an equally interesting story.   When her page opens, just scroll down to read the entire story.

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My Place by Fibres Unlimited – Taupo Museum

My Place Exhibit Fibres Unlimited

My Place Exhibit
Fibres Unlimited

Fibres Unlimited is group that formed with the goal of encouraging each other in creativity.  Group members have very different strengths that made this project particularly rewarding.  Joan Bright, a founding member of the group, now age 91, is no longer able to stitch but has inspired several pieces by sharing her stash when she was forced to downsize.  Group members worked collaboratively over two years on this impressive exhibit, stretching their creativity as they worked together using techniques with which they were unfamiliar.

Fibres Unlimited dedicated “My Place” to the memory of Margaret Elizabeth Scott 1932-2013.  Margaret was a superb needlewoman who was generous with her knowledge.  In exhibitions, her quilts were stunning in their conception and immaculate in presentation.

The text below each of the quilts shown here are the words of their makers. 

Orakei Korako by Aletta Lamprecht and Robyn Tinkler

Orakei Korako by Aletta Lamprecht and Robyn Tinkler

Orakei Korako tells of the thermal activity present there.  It produces stunning, ever changing color schemes.

The quilts in this exhibit particularly spoke to me as they shared stories of their New Zealand, my other favorite country.  It was evident through these quilts that the women of Fibres Unlimited have great love for their country and for each other.

My Country by Barbara McQuarrie and Leigh Motion

My Country by Barbara McQuarrie and Leigh Motion

“When I was working on this piece, the London Olympic Games were on and New Zealand soldiers were being killed and injured in Afghanistan.  I felt very blessed to have been born in this country.

Forest Magic by Aletta Lamprecht and Pene Williamson

Forest Magic by Aletta Lamprecht and Pene Williamson

In Forest Magic, the roots of a tree that claws on bare rocks are supporting its magnificent tree trunk in one of the forests where I was tramping with a school group.  Piecing, discharging and quilting by Aletta Lamprecht.  Felting, hand embroidery and hand quilting by Pene Williamson.

Boat Sheds at Hot Water Beach by Leigh Motion and Aletta Lamprecht

Boat Sheds at Hot Water Beach by Leigh Motion and Aletta Lamprecht

As a child, there were many boatsheds near my place on the river.  Purpose-built, no frills and usually slightly derelict. Aletta and I often walk, run or ride past these lakeside boat sheds.

Deep in the Hills by Barbara McQuarrie

Deep in the Hills by Barbara McQuarrie

Deep in the hills of the Paparoa Range lie the bodies of twenty nine men.

On Friday 19 November 2010 at 3:45pm there was an underground explosion at the Pike River coal mine. Twenty-nine men lost their lives, and their bodies have not been recovered.

The remainder of the quilts will be featured in the next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Wildlife Quilts

Quilts that feature wildlife are among my most favorite.  So, I saved this selection for today.

Viewing the Bay of Islands by Sonya Prchal

Viewing the Bay of Islands by Sonya Prchal

In this delightful quilt by Sonya Prchal, a Tui looks out onto the Bay of Islands.  Tuis are the common garden birds that are easy to find in urban and rural areas of New Zealand.  They are distinctive with their glossy black feathers with the white (cottonball) puffy feathers at the throat and their song.

Tui at Dawn by Charlotte Scott

Tui at Dawn by Charlotte Scott

Tui at Dawn by Charlotte Scott is a particularly effective use of transparency in a quilt.  The judges liked it too as it was a multiple award winner at the show.  New Zealand’s wildlife evolved without mammals (except for two bat species) leading to a unique set of birds, many of which are flightless or poorly flighted.  The introduction of mammals to this island nation has had a devastating impact on the bird life.  The Department of Conservation spends millions each year in an attempt to control introduced possums, stoats, rats, mice and other mammalian predators.

Fanciful Feathers by Rosemary Rush

Fanciful Feathers by Rosemary Rush

Of course, quilter’s imaginations are fertile ground indeed!  Fanciful Feathers epitomizes the wonder that the mind can create.  With it’s bold use of color, this imaginary bird was a merit award winner.

Theres Plenty More Where That Came From by Natalie Murdoch

There’s Plenty More Where That Came From by Natalie Murdoch

New Zealand is famous for its fisheries and attracts sport fishermen worldwide, and Taupo is one of the primary areas to practice this sport.  At the Symposium exhibit, I also found two awesome quilts that celebrate the underwater wildlife so prevalent in the streams and lakes nearby.

Misty Morn by Sheryl Meech

Misty Morn by Sheryl Meech

Misty Morn by Sheryl Meech celebrates all that is beautiful about New Zealand, including the fish.  If you look closely at this first place award winning quilt, you will see an abundance of shadow fish in the water. If you are in the area be sure to check out the Tongariro National Trout Center.

Taupo Trout

Taupo Trout

It’s easy to enjoy the outdoor artwork of Taupo, made possible by the Taupo Sculpture Trust.  In fact all things Taupo are well worth a visit!

I am off to Houston to teach for the Greater Houston Area Quilter’s Guild, so there won’t be another post for a couple of days!  There’s plenty more to see about New Zealand!

 

 

 

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