Friday, August 24, 2012

"Out of Africa" 2013: African Quilting comes to Canada

I'm thrilled to announce that I will be teaching at the London International Quilt Festival in London, Ontario, Canada next spring!  LIQF is an annual weeklong event which is featuring the quilts and quilters of Africa in next year's edition "Out of Africa" 2013.  As Garnet Smalley, the head of LIQF, wrote me, "we started this exhibit to bring together quilters to learn about different cultures through the wonderful works of art the quilters make."  Next year's festival runs from June 12 to 15, and promises to be a colorful and exciting safari! Besides the classes, there will be an exhibition featuring African quilts, a selection of vendors to satisfy our shopping instincts, and a Gala Evening on Saturday, June 15th, with cocktails, dinner and live entertainment.  I'm packing my bags now! :)

I'll be teaching two sessions of my favorite 2-day fabric stamping workshop.  In this class, I teach printing with the wonderful hand-carved wooden blocks from Oshiwa Designs in Namibia, one of my former homes in Africa, covering everything from choosing fabric paint, tackling different surface design techniques for preparing backgrounds, embossing velvet, and foiling with the blocks.

Information on these workshops and the other fabulous classes which will be offered at LIQF will soon be listed at
Info on the Oshiwa blocks used in the workshop and the artisans who carve them can be found at

I hope to see you in London in 2013!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The 2012 SAQA Benefit Auction Starts September 10

The SAQA Benefit Auction is an event I look forward to every year.  As the artists make their 12" x 12" donations and send them in, they're posted on the website ( for all of us to see and enjoy.  The variety is as impressive as the quality of the art on offer.  Here are great pieces we could actually buy! 
When I make my donation,  I usually can't decide on the design ahead of time, so I make several pieces and choose one to send.  I'm posting here photos of the quilt I donated, and also photos of two pieces that I made but didn't send, as SAQA only takes one per artist.
My auction piece "Around Africa" features a group of animals I printed with my Oshiwa blocks, all appliqued onto a background with lots of free-motion stitching.  I hand-printed several of the background fabrics as well, so this piece is a good example of my favorite printing and stitching techniques.
This detail photo shows more of the stitching on the hippo, as well as some of the printing on the background fabrics.
The two other quilts that I made also have printed elements, but in this next one, the African batiks surrounding the bird are arguably the real stars of the piece.

 Here's a detail shot of the bird and the stitching around him.  I don't know that this bird is male, but I've always talked about "him" not "her", so I'll go with that!!

The third quilt I made for the auction this year stars a hand-stamped elephant, and as many bits of African fabrics as i could fit into the 12" square.  The free-motion quilting is a bit wild too, just like the elephant.
Here's a detail shot of the elephant:

And here's a detail shot of the quilting and the raw-edge binding:

I hope you have a chance to take a look at the wonderful pieces on the SAQA website, and think about taking part in the auction starting on September 10th!