Gail Garber Designs
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Gail's Quilting Blog

Tours

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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Maungatautari – Sanctuary Mountain

I first came to the mountain in November 2011 with friends from the United States.  My Kiwi friends, Kerry and Marion, joined us there for an evening of Kiwi spotting – the birds, not the people.  With  47kms of predator proof fence enclosing 3400 hectares in a sea of pastureland, it is the largest ecological island on mainland New Zealand.  It is, without doubt a must-see experience.  I could not wait to return!

Predator Proof Fence

Predator Proof Fence

So,

Birding in the Dark and the Rain

Birding in the Dark and the Rain

Marion and I headed out long before the dawn.  Right about the time we began pulling our binoculars (bins) out, drops began to fall from the sky.  Not to worry though, Marion had six (yes, 6!) umbrellas in the back of her car!

Sunrise at Maunga

Sunrise at Maunga

It was a little eerie to walk in the darkened forest.  We could hear, but not see the birds as they awakened from their nightly slumber.  We climbed to the top of the observation tower in time to greet the rising sun.  There is nothing more magical than to be alone in the forest with only wild birds as your companions as the sun kisses the earth.

View from Maunga

View from Maunga

We didn’t see much in the dark and the rain, but the clouds lifted as we headed back down the hill for breakfast at Out in the Styx.  Upon our return an hour later, things were quite different.  This time, the only drops were those that fell from the wet vegetation that towered above us.

Tall Natives

Tall Natives

We walked toward the feeding area where we were thrilled to see a very large, and very red parrot!

Kaka - Image by Charles Cummings 2011

Kaka – Image by Charles Cummings 2011

Maunga staff feed the birds in this area once daily around 11 a.m.  And the Kaka, one of the native parrots of New Zealand, were waiting.

Stitchbird, or Hihi

Stitchbird, or Hihi.  Image by Charles Cummings 2011

We also had good looks, but not great photos, of the native Hihi, or Stitchbirds, that came to the nectar feeders.  Small and fast, it was only with extreme patience that my friend, Charles, managed to photograph this individual when we were there in November 2011.

In Maunga Forest

In Maunga Forest

In addition to the birds, just being in a primeval forest among the ancient trees can be a life-altering, almost religious experience.  My favorites were the giant silver ferns, the national symbol of New Zealand.

Fiddlehead frond

Fiddlehead frond

It is easy to understand the Koru symbol, so widely used in this beautiful country when one gazes upon the gently rounded, unfurling of the new fern fronds.  However, not all ferns seem to grow this way.

Baby Ferns

Baby Ferns

Some just seem to carry and nourish their newborns until they are large enough to survive in the cold, hard ground.

Marion's Maunga Leaves

Marion’s Maunga Leaves

Along the way, Marion continued to gather leaves for her dye pots.

Looking at Maunga

Looking at Maunga

As we walked out of the forest, our short visit at an end, the skies were brilliant and we could see Sanctuary Mountain in all its glory!  Sanctuary Mountain will be one of the stops on my New Zealand Tour in April 2014.  It is pure magic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Southward to Huka Falls

Southward to Huka Falls

Welcome to Taupo Symposium 2013

My stay in Auckland was all too short when it was time to move south to the mountain community of Taupo, home to the 2014 New Zealand National Quilt Symposium.  Faculty arrived throughout the day, many of whom had flown through the night to get here.  I was triply glad that I had elected to arrive a few days early.  The Symposium Team let everyone rest that first day and settle into our rooms, but the next day was set aside for touring!  And, our first stop was Huka Falls.

Huka Falls

Huka Falls – can you see the tiny people?

Living in the southwestern United States, it is hard to imagine so much water.  Huka Falls are a set of waterfalls on the Waikato River that drains Lake Taupo , the largest freshwater lake in New Zealand.  At Huka Falls, the Waikato River narrows from approximately 300 feet wide into a narrow canyon only 45 feet wide, making for an impressive display. The canyon is carved into lake floor sediments laid down before Taupo’s Oruanui eruption 26,500 years ago.

Below Huka Falls

Below Huka Falls

The volume of water flowing through often approaches 220,000 litres per second, regulated by the Taupo Control Gates as part of their hydroelectric system.  The uppermost falls are a set of small waterfalls dropping over about 25 feet, while the most impressive, final stage of the falls is a 35 foot drop.

Robbie Joy Eklow, Cara Gulati and yours truly

Robbie Joy Eklow, Cara Gulati and yours truly

In addition to learning about the natural wonders that surround Taupo, it was a great time to bond with our colleagues, with whom we rarely get to see as our schedules seldom allow for time to visit at a busy show.  We so appreciate the Taupo Symposium Committee’s efforts to build in a free day!  Here, Robbie Joy Eklow, Cara Gulati and I pose beside the mighty Waikato River below the falls.

I think I see a future quilt in this image!

I think I see a future quilt in this image!

Stay tuned for lunch adventures!

 

 

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Adventures in Northland

Diane Anderson, Gail, Melissa Gelder

Diane Anderson, Gail, Melissa Gelder

On my first full day in Auckland, Diane and Melissa took me on a tour to Northland, checking out quilt shops, cafes, and magnificent scenery.  It wasn’t long before we stopped for morning tea, replete with sweets to provide energy for our outing.

Morning Tea

Morning Tea

It was here that I was able to enjoy my most favorite ever coffee, a flat white.  It seems to be a New Zealand/Australia espresso drink that is not available here in the U.S.  Note that each of our sweets is divided into thirds.  We shared!

Pukeko Patch

Pukeko Patch

Along the way we stopped at the Pukeko Patch outside of Warkworth which was closed.  Actually, the shop was open, but we had driven instead to the owner’s home in the countryside!  Duh!  So we never did get to visit that shop.  I am sure it is wonderful. And, FYI, the shop is located in the community of Warkworth – right near where we had coffee.

The Apple Basket

The Apple Basket

Our next stop was the Apple Basket Patchwork Shop, in Kaiwaka, where we were warmly welcomed.  They publish a series of New Zealand style patterns for birds and flowers and the shop carries both the patterns and  kits that include the fabrics.  Be sure to check them out.

Kerry Glen and Quilt

Kerry Glen and Quilt

Our final destination was the home of Kerry Glen, owner of Tulis Textiles. “Tulis” is an Indonesian word that means to write.  Although Tulis Textiles is located in Kerry’s home in Marsden Point, right on the water, she is open for business by appointment.  Most of her business is conducted online and she has a substantial website.

Melissa shops

Melissa shops

Kerry travels regularly to Bali where her collection of batik fabrics are dyed with her stamps and to her specifications, so she can maintain the quality, versatility and vibrancy of her fabrics. She stocks over 500 batik fabrics in a wide range of colors.

Ikat Fabrics from Indonesia

Ikat Fabrics from Indonesia

Kerry also stocks a unique selection of hand-selected Ikats!  It was so very hard to decide.  We also enjoyed a lovely lunch with views over the sea, but all too soon is was time to pack up our parcels and head back to Auckland.  My April 2014 Quilting and Textile Tour of New Zealand will include tea and shopping at Kerry’s Home!  I think you will love her fabrics.

 

 

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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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