Monday, 16 October 2017

Creative Construction Christchurch Quilt Symposium 2017

The Interim Cathedral, aka The Cardboard Cathedral, venue for the opening ceremony and awards night 

Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand is recently infamous for a series of devastating earthquakes. The city is still getting back on it’s feet, and so it must have taken both optimism and determination for the local Quilters Guild to decide that they would take on the mammoth task of organising the biennial national Quilters Symposium. This event is huge – not only by New Zealand standards, but for anywhere - and is run by many dedicated volunteers.

A few of the volunteer committee.

There were 57 (I think) tutors drawn from both local experts and the elite in the world. Tutors were drawn from NZ, UK, South Africa, USA, Australia, Denmark (think that was the complete list, but apologies if I missed any countries).
I was definitely one of the least ‘quilty’ tutors, so a round of applause to all who took the chance on one of my classes rather than techniques they might be more familiar with!
What a great chance for the (more than) 600 daily participants to gain experience and knowledge. It was also marvellous for me to be in the company of these inspirational mentors and teachers. The down side of there being so many tutors and courses available was that there was no opportunity to see the outcomes from the other classes, which means I can only tell you about mine, though I can show you a few images from the tutor exhibition.


Michelle Hill (Australia)

Helen Godden (Australia)

Lyric Kinnard (USA)

Judy Coates Perez (USA)

Hazel Foot (New Zealand)

Sherri Lyn Wood (USA)

Glenys Mann (Australia)

Clare Smith (New Zealand)

Charlotte Yde (Denmark)

Rosalie Dace (South Africa)

Brenda Gael Smith (Australia)
To find out about others, see @QuiltSymposium2017 on Facebook.

And there is always more to the events than just the workshop time – for instance - great shopping opportunities in the sales hall.

Shopping opportunities! Yeah!
Some of my favourites were:

Felted and Stitched 








BerninaNZ whose support lending almost 300 sewing machines to the classes, setting them all up and providing ongoing, friendly and interested support is vital to the event.
And further interest with exhibitions, entertainment nights, talks, drinks and more private get together's between old and new friends. Sadly the weather was not great and that prevented any explorations of Christchurch which would have been worth seeing, I’ll have to save that for another visit. The school 'St. Andrews at Christchurch' was a fabulous venue, just imagine being able to go to school in this setting ...

These rhododendrons had a beautiful scent.

St. Andrew's School

St. Andrew's School
St. Andrew's School


My first 2 days were a short version of ‘Deconstruct:Reconstruct’. This combines sampling many metal stitching techniques, observational exercises and mark making then developing an individual piece.
From Deconstruct:Reconstruct workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

From Deconstruct:Reconstruct workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

From Deconstruct:Reconstruct workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

From Deconstruct:Reconstruct workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

From Deconstruct:Reconstruct workshop by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden, and look at that expression!

Second was a 1 day, quick workshop which examined the structures of the Zhen Xian Bao thread booklets (see post) and we had time to learn how the folded sections come together and make a simple three pocket example from silk or Lutradur and a cover using gelled papers and Evolon.

Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)

Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)

Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)
Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)

Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)

Zhen Xiao Bao workshop (Workshop delivered by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden)

Then finally a very relaxed two days using hand needle felting, hand stitch and beading, gilding and creating a multi-part, multi-coloured and multi-textured hanging.

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Hanging Pods workshop outcomes, tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

If this has interested you, the next Symposium is to be held in Auckland in 2019  from 1 -6 October. https://www.quiltsymposium2019.nz/
Expressions of interest are open if you would like to book your space anytime from now.

And then it was all over - bags packed and homeward bound ...



I am tremendously excited to have taken my first Retreat booking for the studio here at Kotare House. A group from the south will be visiting for a 4 day creative session next year. If anyone else is interested, contact me to see what we can arrange. It will be great to work in my studio with everything we could need and space to create in peaceful surroundings.



On the way home I received word that a friend and fellow creative, Liz Welch, had finally succumbed to breast cancer. Liz was determined, enthusiastic, family loving and so much more.  Read her journey at Rare Lizzie. Though we had known for a while that her death was inevitable, it was still terribly sad to hear the final news. Though treatments are improving all the time for cancers, we continue to lose friends all too often.

Liz Welch



Thank you Liz for your time with us.

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