Monday, 26 May 2008

Elephant in the Room

Gloria Loughman ( is an Australian contemporary quilt designer who has won acclaim world-wide. Procuring a place in one of her classes is like winning Lotto, so I was over the moon when our quilting group, Schoolhouse Quilters, organised a two day workshop. Gloria lives in Victoria and I am sure she appreciated our beautiful crisp, sunny May days. I know we certainly appreciated her presence.

The workshop was entitled Playing on the Surface, which sounded promising, with plenty of options to broaden our horizons. There are some extremely talented people in our group and they welcomed the opportunity to stretch themselves artistically.

Gloria Loughman (r) with some Schoolhouse Quilters

Brookfield Hall was the venue and I can tell you that at 8.30 am last Saturday, it was mighty cold. But within an hour or so, the sun warmed up the building and we were well on the way to creating our masterpieces. Years ago I bought a greetings card featuring the most marvellous caricature of an elephant. I resisted the temptation to send it off as a birthday or special card to friends and family, keeping it by me in the top drawer of my computer desk. We became old friends. I noticed on Gloria's website that one of her pupils had made an elephant quilt in this particular class and the eureka moment clicked in. This is why my elephant friend had hung about so long.

I scanned the card and enlarged it so that it was a decent size. With Gloria's wonderful help, I managed to plot out a rough idea of what it would eventually look like. We worked at a cracking pace on the first day, drawing our quilts full-size, then working out a construction plan. By the end of the day, we had a fair bit to work done and I know that some of my friends worked into the early hours at home to get on top of the enormous work load.

I, on the other hand, had other fish to fry. Tony and I had the pleasant task of baby-sitting while our son and daughter-in-law took a well-earned rest and had a night at the movies. Our three little grandchildren had spent the afternoon at a birthday party, so our evening was fairly quiet, with our three-year old Josephine falling asleep at the dinner table, followed by 20 month-old Gabrielle lasting a little longer, succumbing to sleep on Tony's lap, leaving five-year-old Stephen having us at his mercy. We sat through two DVDs of Transformers. God help us.

So I was a little behind my friends when Day Two of the workshop commenced. In my defence, I did arrive an hour earlier to do some preliminary work, which meant by the time 4 o'clock rolled around, I had to be carted off home. I wish I could show you some of the beautiful miracles worked by my friends, but you will have to wait until our biennial exhibition in August. I still have a loooooong way to go with my quilt, but at least I have time on my side.

I did have fun, and now I have my own elephant in the room.

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