My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Monday, May 21, 2018

How I use plant prints in multiple ways in my art quilts.

I'm enjoying making videos of my art making processes.  They are home-made videos without a whole heap of post-production editing, they are not scripted, they contain bloopers, the camera moves occasionally, and the sound is not perfect.  But that also makes them fun and relatively quick to do.  Plus, we are all makers, so we enjoy seeing a bit of hand-made imperfection, don't we?!

This video features yours truly running through the way I take one flora or plant print that I like and then use it in several different ways in my textile art.  

Are you enjoying seeing my work processes?  Is there anything in particular you'd like to see me run through?

And, of course, if you'd like to see any of this in person, your guild could book me for a class!  I can put together personalised classes on any of the processes I use in my textile art, just email me here and we can discuss your club's needs.

Monday, May 14, 2018

100 Day Project 2018

June will see the start of my 100 Day Project for 2018.  A 100 Days Project (or Challenge) is really just what it says - 100 days in a row of doing something creative, again and again and again.  I've completed two 100 Days before and I've found them immensely rewarding.  I've also found them frustrating and challenging, but that's all part of the package!

Day 1-20 of 100 Days of Scissors.

Last year I completed 100 Days of Scissors, where I cut paper and formed collages.  I developed my composition skills and now I have a sketchbook full of ideas and inspiration.  I also realised that I prefer to cut to a drawn line rather than free hand!

My first 100 Days was 100 Days of Faces, with the intention of getting comfortable with sketching faces and using them in my work.  Again, I have a sketchbook full of ideas and inspiration and I'm much more confident with my face drawing skills.

Sketchbook page from 100 Days of Faces

This year, the organisation that has previously hosted the 100 Days Project NZ is taking a break, so I'm working with Lisa Call and Kate Hartmann of Tutere Gallery, who have jointly developed their own 100 Day program.  I thought about working on my own, but I know myself well enough to know that to stick with it and commit, I need the accountability and community that a group can offer!

There are different tiers of support with Lisa and Kate's program and I believe the in-person programs are full, but there are still spaces to join the on-line program running through email and Facebook if you'd like to jump on board and join in.

One of the hardest things about 100 Days is deciding what sort of project to do.  It has to be small enough to complete EVERY SINGLE DAY, challenging enough to stretch you and interesting enough but easy enough to stick with over the course of more than three months.

Then you need to think about what you want to do with the final works.  Are they just inspiration for future projects?  Do you want to have a body of work to exhibit or sell?  These decisions will also influence what project you decide to do.

To help me make some of those decisions, I got out my trusty pen and paper and did some brainstorming.  What did I want to get out of this year's project?

  • help me get into a regular studio habit
  • get me working with joy and curiosity
  • find something new
  • a body of work or a collection of inspiration

Then I brainstormed ideas for projects:

  • flora printing
  • botanical drawing
  • bird drawing
  • clothes making
  • fabric collage
  • colour - dyeing, painting, colouring fabric
  • free-motion quilting
  • surface design
  • art on the iPad
  • improv piecing
  • drawing patterns

Then I put those two lists together and I've come up with something that I think will work on all levels for me.  My intention is to 'renovate' my hand-dyed fabric stash.  This means that every day, for 100 days, I'll take a piece of my hand-dyed fabric and I'll add another layer of surface design to it. Whether that be another layer of dye, a printed pattern overlay, perhaps taking colour away with discharge dyeing, or even drawing straight onto the fabric.

Either way, after 100 days, I'll have 100 surface design samples; I'll have tried out lots of new ideas and practiced old ones; I'll have got back into the habit of regularly wet studio time and I'll hopefully have had lots of fun!  

Now I just need to come up with a funky title for my project and a hashtag that I can use on Instagram to collate my images.  #100daysoffabricrenovation is a bit clunky.  Any ideas?

And have you ever done a 100 Day Project?  Are you doing one this year?  What were your challenges and triumphs?  I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Whangarei Quilters Exhibition 2018

I mentioned in my last post that I visited Whangarei Quilters Exhibition.  This is a biennial exhibition held in April and is always worth the hours' drive for me.  They allow photography, so for those of you who couldn't make it, I'm sharing some so you can get an impression of what was hanging.

One of my favourite corners was the Wot Knots Chinese Whisper Challenge.  The Wot Knots are a stitching group focused on challenging themselves and leaning much more towards the art rather than the traditional.  

In the Chinese Whisper Challenge, members were divided into groups.  The first person in the group made an A3 quilt from a photograph.  The second person got to see the first persons quilt (not the photograph) for 15 minutes, no discussion allowed, then had to make their quilt from what inspired them during that viewing.  The next two photos are one groups successive quilts from a photo of pancake rocks through to abstract agapanthus flowers!

L-R photographic inspiration, Lynne O'Donnell, Kath Hunt.

L-R Rosslee Baker, Shirley Julian, Lyn Madden, Anne Groufsky

It's a great idea for a challenge, and this particular group managed it very well.  I think the quilts were a good size and the two months between each group member allowed for thoughtful, skillfully done quilts.

The quilt above is by Donna Rowan and is the first quilt from group number 4.  One of my favourites from the whole exhibition.  The light is beautiful and the small details to suggest features, such as some single hand embroidery stitches to give the impression of bricks, is a masterful touch.

Moving on into the main hall with the large quilts, the merchants and the sales table.  I was interested to note that scarcity of what could be classed as 'modern' quilts.  I'm not sure why this is, whether the members aren't making modern quilts, or that there just weren't many on display.  But either way, the majority of quilts were traditionally pieced or appliqu├ęd, with some lovely art quilts mixed through too.

This was a very large quilt made my Leeann Hansen.  The small five-patch squares were 1 inch finished, so plenty of skill to keep the quilt straight and square with all those tiny seams.  Having the border as almost an extension of the quilt piecing heightens the 'interest' factor.

There was the nice detail of a red flange in the binding, which set off the red diagonal chains beautifully.

Leeann completed the quilting herself with a complementary all-over pattern.

There were some really nice baby quilts.  The one above was made by Lynette Ward and quilted by Kim Bradley.  See the monster peeking up from the bottom edge? A fun quilt that's a bit different.  And the circle quilting complemented it nicely.

Sorry about the shadow in the photo, the lighting wasn't the best in the hall, but I guess you work with what you've got!  This quilt was made by Jane Taylor, adapted from a Quiltmania pattern and quilted by Ed Reid.  It was an eye-catching quilt, beautiful workmanship and I loved the addition of the baby elephants.

And less of a baby quilt, more of a kids quilt, Ship Ahoy made by Angela Robinson and quilted by The Quilt Fairy's.  The bunting shapes reminded me of ship's flags and made really good use of the pirate themed fabrics, while the dynamic quilting design brought to mind ocean waves.

From the few modern quilts that were included, here are two that stood out for me.  

Due to shadows and lights, I'm only sharing a detail of 'Hint of Lustre' by Donna Rowan, a version of a pattern by Brigette Heitland of Zen Chic.  The patterned fabric brought movement to the very minimalistic piecing and the circular quilting added lots of interest in a contrasting way.

Water's Edge by Anne Groufsky showed that Anne is a master of improv piecing.  She pulls the random piecing together with repetition of various shapes and blocks and worked in a controlled colour palette to help give cohesiveness to the work.

There was a very popular cafe being run by the quilters and my friend and I had some soup, a slice and a hot drink, with a much needed rest for our feet.  Whilst enjoying my repast, a very familiar quilt caught my eye!

Sure enough, when I went to have a closer look, this was Jane Taylor's version of the Pacific Stars Mystery Quilt that I wrote for Carol's Quilts last year.  Nice to see one in the wild!  You can still find all the instructions for it here if you'd like to make your own version. 

Petra Pilkington was the guest exhibitor with her beautiful abstract, heavily layered work.  Petra usually works by quilting first and then layering paint on afterwards and you can see the luscious texture this gives in the second photo.  Yummy!

There were many more quilts to see, and merchants to visit, and a sales table to peruse.  I hope you enjoyed this glimpse and maybe it's a show you'll add to your calendar for 2020.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Experimenting with Gelatos® on Fabric

Recently I visited the Whangarei Quilt Exhibition and I spent a little bit of money at one of my favourite merchants, Tulis Textiles.

I bought a few Gelatos®, as I'd seen Kerry from Tulis demonstrating with them a few times now, and I thought it was time I had a play myself.

Gelatos™are a creamy, water-based paint stick.  If you've ever used Shiva sticks, they are a little like that.  Except Shiva sticks are oil-based and Gelatos® are water-based, with all the benefits that that brings - easier cleanup, less fumes, less time to dry etc.

My colour selection for experimenting was: black liquorice, black cherry, metallic blueberry, aqua dolce, pistachio, and red cherry.  Sounds delicious!  I made sure I had a dark and a light and a metallic in my selection to give me a good range to see different results.

The first thing I tried was using a stencil.  I'm actually using a reverse stencil (the positive image, rather than the negative cut-out).  It was the left-over paper backing from a fusible web shape and I was just grabbing what was lying around, but you could make stencils from freezer paper, stencil plastic or use something already cut like a paper doily.

I made a little video of how the experiment went.  Spoiler alert - it went really well!

I'm going to try another way to work with them soon, and perhaps I'll share a video of that too.

Have you ever tried Gelatos®?  What was your favourite way to use them?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Towrags, SewEzi, Kathy Anso, Linda Rae, Bernina and Catherine MacDonald on The NZ Quilt Show

Welcome to the final Christchurch Symposium 2017 podcast.  You can listen to the others in this series over on my podcast site here.  It's been a busy few months for me, with a month's holiday, then selling the boat, and moving house, so I apologise to all my wonderful guests who have waited patiently for me to publish their interviews.

In this final roundup, you will hear:

The TOWRAGS (Totally Organised Women Religious Attending Group Sex Stitching) Sheryl Anicich, Irene, Debra DeLorenzo, Jeanie O’Sullivan (kneeling) and Gaynor.  Missing is Ngaire and Pat.  This group of talented women won four awards between them at Christchurch Quilt Symposium 2017.

Their 'People of Colour' quilt won the merit award in the Power of Two category.

You'll hear me mention the Great Hall in the Christchurch Arts Centre in the podcast, and here is the beautiful ceiling that I was craning my neck to look at.

I get to talk to New Zealand's very own Catherine Davis-Colley, the designer of the SewEzi table.  2017 saw SewEzi celebrate 15 very successful years of production.

Kathy Anso, in front of her quilt "Keeping the Mojo #2", talks to me about the Students of Nancy Crow exhibition that she curated.  

Linda Rae, also part of the Students of Nancy Crow exhibition, in front of her quilt "Split".

Glynn Singleton (Managing Director) and Rebecca Owen (Long Armer Extraordinaire) on the Bernina stand.  Bernina were the major sponsor of Christchurch Quilt Symposium 2017, providing 286 hire machines, 1.2 kilometres of duct tape, 120 extension leads and 130 multi boxes!! Plus multiple prizes, technical support and all those other wonderful things sponsors do.

2018 is Bernina's 125th anniversary, so some of the things Glynn talks about as coming up, are now rolling out.  Keep your eyes peeled.

Catherine MacDonald and her husband in front of her hand-treated fabric booth, Mallee Textiles.

And here's an accurate picture of how Catherine (the convener of the symposium) was feeling by the end of the week!  She and her trusty committee were ready for a much-needed nap!

Thank you to all my faithful listeners and wonderful guests.  I'm organising a new line up for the rest of 2018, so stay tuned!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Remember, you can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes or most podcast apps, just search for The New Zealand Quilt Show, or The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

And we have a winner(s)....

First up, a massive thank you to everyone who took part and left a name suggestion for my latest quilt.  I had a lot of fun reading them and thinking about them.  I love having an online community of quilters and artists who can have a bit of fun together, or solve a problem together, or provide a bit of support  for each other.

Moon Flight by Charlotte Scott

I've decided to call it 'Moon Flight', which I think sums it up perfectly.

So, on to the winners!

My random number generator picked 12, so the twelth commentor is Maree, congratulations!

I also put the competition on to Kiwiquilters, a Facebook group for New Zealand quilters.  And lots of people left me suggestions there.  I decided to be generous and do a drawing for them too.  The random number generator picked 3, and the third commenter was Biddy, congratulations!

I'm also going to send a bundle to Gretchen, because her suggestion, Moonlight Flight, was so very close to the name I eventually picked.  Congratulations!

Thankyou everyone, I hope you had fun coming up with names.  I know I enjoyed reading them all.  I'll be in touch with the winners shortly.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Goodbye Cerego!

You may have noticed that I've changed my blog header.  And my Instagram bio.  I wouldn't be telling the truth anymore if I'd kept it the way it was.  You see, we've moved off the boat, but not only that, we SOLD her!

My old blog header (in case you couldn't remember!)

Many people didn't see it coming.  To be truthful, I didn't see it coming either.  But when my husband and I decide to do something, we do it.  We discussed selling the boat, it made sense, so we listed it that evening.  And several weeks later, she no longer belongs to us.

Cerego is a big boat, and she is an old boat, and she is a wooden boat.  All things that add up to a fair amount of ongoing work and maintenance that we realised we were not going to keep up with if we weren't living on her.  Plus we really didn't need such a big boat if we were only going to go out on her for weekends and holidays.

We're really happy for the new owner.  He's just the right guy to take over the love and care of her.  And yes, we are a little sad for ourselves.  We won't be able to watch her steam up and down the harbour without some nostalgic feelings.


We then decided we really needed a house instead of an apartment.  Somewhere with a garage for the man, a studio for me, room to park our 4WD 'The Hippo' and the runabout trailer-boat, not to mention our two cars.  Oh, and room for the children of course!  And the dog!  The apartment is great, I love it here, but I had to acknowledge that if we were going to live on shore, then we really should have the full range of conviniences available to us.

So, as I said earlier, once we decide to do something, we do it.  We looked around for a few days, found the house we wanted and within another few days we had a conditional agreement all signed up.

Unfortunately, this means I'll be moving house.  Again.  Setting up my studio.  Again.  Going slightly mad with the stress of it all.  Again.

Happy memories from our time on Cerego.

On a cheerier note, I'm really enjoying reading everyone's name suggestions for my latest heron quilt.  Some are funny, some are beautiful and Daisy's is particularly moving.  Thank you and keep them coming.  You have a few more days before I draw a winner from everyone who participated!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Name That Quilt!

Every step in making a quilt is a little step closer to a finish.  But there is 'finished' and then there is 'finished, finished'.  Too often in the past I'd breath a satisfied sigh when I'd taken the last stitch in the binding, then I'd put the quilt down and never get the other little finishing tasks done.   I now consider a quilt to be finished when it is named, labelled, has a hanging mechanism, and is documented and photographed.

When I talk to other quilters and artists, each has a least favourite part of the process of making their work.  For some it's the cutting out, others hate binding.  Some claim they don't dislike ANY part - but I'm sure they're telling fibs!  I bet there is one thing they they always put off, even if just for five minutes...

My least favourite bit varies.  Quite often it's the photography.  I'm getting better at it, and I've got lights now, which make the whole process easier.  But it's just so much faffing around!  I'd much rather sew, or dye, or audition fabrics, or anything else really.  I can't say that sewing labels or hanging sleeves has ever made my heart sing, but I actually quite enjoy hand stitching binding on, when I know it makes many people groan!

Anyway, this last week, my least favourite bit has been the naming of quilts.  I'm trying to come up with a name for my lastest finish.

Untitled as yet by Charlotte Scott 36cm x 55cm
This quilt is relatively small and was started with offcuts from the larger quilt that I'm working on.  

(In case you were wondering about my 'restart my making mojo' process that I was going through - well, it was a success!  I've been working away steadily, and now it's just the usual challenges, like time managment etc)

Here's the larger quilt still in progress:

This one will need a name at some point too, but at present its working name is The Heron Maiden quilt (the HM quilt).  Have you ever read any of the classic Japanese folk stories about cranes turning into women to return the favour of being rescued from a trap?   I've been telling myself those stories as I've been making the quilt, but twisting them into tales about a New Zealand white-faced heron turning into a maiden, then turning back into a heron after she loses her love, or perhaps after she tires of him, depending on how I feel on the day.


Can you see how the nameless quilt has connections to the HM quilt?  The branch in the nameless quilt is the cut-away background of the branch in the bottom right of the HM quilt, and the heron is a third, brighter, version of the two herons behind the girl.  The overlay of silk organza on nameless is the same piece of fabric that is used in the sky of the HM quilt.  So they are nicely related.

But here is where you come in, dear reader!  I'm at a total loss for a name for the untitled quilt and I'm hoping you'll help.  Hit me with your ideas and help spark my naming mojo!  Just as a little incentive, I'll do a random draw from all the people who leave me a suggestion in the comments section below and I'll send the winner a bundle of my hand-dyed fat quarters (and I'll send it anywhere in the world too).  You'll need to be a reply-enabled commentor or add your email address to your comment so I can get in touch if you're the lucky drawee.  I'll give you a week, so will be drawing on Saturday 21 April 9pm NZ time.

Please help me out, and join in the fun!  Names can be as silly or as deep and meaningful as you like, but I'd love to hear from you.

COMMENTS NOW CLOSED.  Thanks for all your help!!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Getting There

I finally feel like I'm getting on top of moving house.  We were pretty spread out - things on the boat, things at my studio, a few things at my mother in law's house.  And to try and get all those things into one apartment took a lot of sorting, throwing out, donating and consolidating.

Slowly but surely things are coming together.  And they seem to happen one corner at a time.  Which is why I'm showing you my kitchen nook and not my studio.  Because although I'm starting to sew again (yay! it feels great) the studio corner not quite photoshoot ready, but the kitchen nook is close enough done.  Last night, hubby and I made and installed the shelf from some old rimu timber we found in the attic (don't worry, landlord was cool with it).  It's doing those little things that are making it into a place we can call home.

It's a rainy day outside.  Ex-cyclone Hola is making her appearance.

The building we are living in is a Heritage Listed building (you can check out a 1915 photograph of her here.)  Which is pretty neat and also means that it has slight oddities.  Like the funny shaped 'window' above my kettle.  The toaster and tea tins sit into a recessed cupboard and then there is a weird little triangle shaped hole above it.  The hole looks into the storage cupboard that we fondly call the man cave, because it's housing the man's tools etc.  But what is the window for?  It has no glass, it's just a hole.

In the photo above, you can see it at the far side when you're looking into the man cave.  Apologies for the 'in the raw' photo, but it's a storage cupboard, it's never going to look pretty!  The triangle shape is because of the roof.  We are living on the top floor and so have sloped ceilings at either side of the house.  These little oddities are making this move fun.  And I guess, in a way, making the transition from living in the boat, with all her weird and wonderful corners, to living in a conventional house again, a little easier.

If anyone is interested in the little town where I live, you can visit this website here.  It's put together by Julie, a local photographer, who can often be seen wandering the streets with her camera.  She has included local history as well as current images.  There are some great up to date photographs of the building I live in too.