Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hamilton Quilt Guild Meeting

That afternoon, we visited the Hamilton Quilter's for their monthly meeting, featuring Daphne Phillips, an octogenarian, and one of the most prolific quilters ever! Daphne shared many of the quilts she had made over the course of her quilting career. Most inspiring was her 'can do' attitude, not to mention all of the quilts she had made.
Ellen (in the flying goose jacket) checks out some of Daphne's handiwork.

Donna's Quilt Studio, Hamilton

The next morning we visited Donna's Quilt Studio. Noted for her funky quilt fabrics, friendly staff, and fun quilting classes, Donna specializes in contemporary fabrics and original designs. Donna, and daughter Ashley are the go-to girls for the “something different” you’ve been trying to find.
Here, Ashleigh helps ring up sales for our group! One of the interesting phenomenons about our tour was when the group of 18 quilterly types, excluding Mike and Dave, descended en masse on a quilt shop.

Dinner at the home of Kerry and Marion Manson

Many, many thanks to friends, Kerry and Marion Manson, for hosting a really fun evening where we could relax, meet new friends, enjoy some wonderful treats (like pavlova!), and "Show and Tell". Here, Katherine Parrott Reeves, shows off her quilt Te whanau o nga awe kaka. Translated as the "Red feathered parrot family, this quilt describes her family and heritage. The images in the quilt are of Katherine and her 3 brothers. This quilt is featured in the 2009 exhibit and book "Made in New Zealand II", organized and published by Anne Scott, owner of New Zealand Quilter magazine and Minerva, located in Wellington.
Here, Robb Jerebine shows off her plaid creation. The image doesn't really do justice to this charming quilt.
Donna Ward, and daughter Ashleigh, show off quilts from a miniature challenge in which they participated. Donna, Ashley and mom, Merle, all taught at the Remarkables Symposium in Queenstown, three generations of quilting teachers!
I showed off my Flying Colors Sampler, one of two quilts that were small enough for me to carry along on this trip.
Meet "Not Bruce" and "Not Robert". Seems that when we made the nametags for the group, we used everyone's given names as they were listed on their passports. It was after a little beverage indulgence at the party that our mistake became apparent! Not Robert is really "Mike", a New Mexico resident. "Not Bruce" is a friend of the Manson's and husband to Robb.

Onward, to Grandmother's Garden

Leaving Auckland behind, our group traveled south to Hamilton, stopping at Waitomo Caves to view the glowworms. Our first quilt stop was at Grandmother's Garden where two large, incredibly mellow dogs seem to take all the visitors in stride, and a large cat as well.
Grandmother's Garden opened in 1984. It was the inspiration of Hazel Wolff who had just returned from living in America where she had become 'hooked' on patchwork and quilting. Animals are an obvious passion of Hazel's as evidenced by this fun quilt that hangs in her classroom.

Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Adventure

With the afternoon free, I opted for a visit to Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World which was a dream of Mr Tarlton, created in the abandoned sewers of old Auckland. Here, they have two species of penguin on display, Gentoo and King. The Gentoo Penguin shown in the foreground here, might be found on the Subantarctic Islands of southernmost New Zealand. Oh, how I would love to be able to visit these one day and see the penguins in the wild.
Kelly Tarlton's has a breeding population of King Penguins. The parents and their young a isolated from the other birds to prevent aggression. King penguins breed on seven sub-Antarctic island groups with large populations on the Falkland Islands, Macquarie Islands, Heard Island, Iles Crozet and Marion island.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Juliet Fitness, Quiltmaker

Next stop on the tour was tea at the beautiful home of Juliet Fitness in west Auckland. Juliet is an amazing quiltmaker, and her work is unique. The wide array of styles was impressive.
Her home is located on 10 acres, in suburban Auckland. With the historic native vegetation, special permits were required to clear enough land to build their home. Consequently, the vegetation comes right up to the house, a fantastic display.
Juliet is known for her creativity, use of color and techniques that she uses in her quilts.
She has a good sense of humor too, as evidenced in this small wall handing of a Kiwi.
Her friend, Allison, helped serve tea and cookies. We ate the most unbelievable snacks, Kipper Biscuits and Fruit and Nut Slices. Yumm!!!
'Nuff said about Juliet's sense of humor!

Shopping Auckland

Day two of our tour found us visiting more quilt shops, beginning with a stop at Patchwork Passion, owned by Robyn Burgess.

Robyn specializes in exquisite Japanese fabrics, 1840 reproduction fabrics and hand-dyed woolens. We departed with heavy packages.

Dye-It Fabrics

We enjoyed morning tea at the home-based business of Janet Ryan, who specializes in hand-dyed fabrics, some of which are stamped with Kiwi-ana birds and symbols.
While Janet and her friends graciously hosted tea and snacks, the tour participants got their first taste of my other passion -- birds. I heard a little Silvereye singing in Janet's garden. Many rushed out to see what I was looking at.
One of our North American house plants, the Aloe Vera, grows to gigantic size in subtropical Devonport, and even blooms. I was only able to capture a bud, however.
Mike, a.k.a. Not Robert, quickly became our photographer extraordinaire with his Canon 7D. He also hails from New Mexico. He managed to capture another New Zealand bird in Janet's garden, a Tui. We were then off to High Tea at the home of Hugh and Helen Bedford, with its spectacular gardens nestled right in the midst of urban Auckland.

KiwiQuilts, Auckland

That afternoon, we visited KiwiQuilts, a home-based, online quilt shop. Mary Metcalf opened her home to us, offering us afternoon tea with beautiful quilts to ogle, spread around her living room. To our delight, we found different Kiwi-ana fabrics, so more was added to our traveling stash.
One of the quilts found a new home with Karen, one of our tour participants who hails from her home state of New Mexico.

The Quilting and Textile Tour Begins - Devonport

After a glorious three days up north, I returned to Auckland to meet the 17 tour participants. Although some had flown all night, we headed right off on the ferry to Devonport where we visited Cushla's Village Fabrics and our group had their first taste of Kiwi-ana fabrics. I think they bought out the shop. We met our coach here too. While we boarded the bus, a Pohutakawa, the New Zealand Christmas tree, shed one of its limbs. Amazingly, within minutes, two guys showed up with saws, quickly dismantled the downed limb, and cleared the road -- all by hand!

At the Devonport Library, I discovered this quilt made by the local quilt guild. It was behind glass, so there is some glare. We were on our way!

Mangawhai Heads/Pakiri Beach

The furthest north that we traveled was to Mangawhai Heads, looking out toward the Hen and Chicken Islands. Wild flax was abundant along the coastline.
With a beautiful sandy beach to the south, a protected preserve for shorebirds, inaccessible except for access from the south and by boat. We could look but not touch.
Another stop on that day was Pakiri Beach, where our birding tour will visit in November 2011. One of the species we will seek on that trip is the Fairy Tern.
With a population of around 45 individuals that includes approximately 12 breeding pairs, the New Zealand Fairy Tern is probably New Zealand's most endangered indigenous breeding bird.It is ranked as an endangered species, and carries a 'Category A' priority for conservation action. A Department of Conservation Recovery Plan is currently in action.

Kawau Island Flora and Fauna

We found a family of Weka, a flightless member of the rail family. Both parents and two young were present, allowing close up views. Kawau Island website includes some information on the species of birds that are found there.
Eight species of rails, gallinules and coots breed in New Zealand. Evidence shows that 8 other species have become extinct between the arrival of the Maori and European settlement.
This North Island Fantail was remarkably cooperative for a tiny bird that spends its life flitting around in search of insects. The Fantail is one of the few forest birds that has benefited from the large scale clearing of forest and the creation of scrub habitat.
In 1862 Kawau Island was purchased by one of New Zealand's first governors, Sir George Grey, as a private residence. He employed architects to significantly extend the mine manager's house to create the stately mansion that still stands today, fully restored in its sheltered sunny bay. In the valley behind the house, the governor created an extensive garden containing plants and animals from all over the world.
In the valley behind the house, the governor created an extensive garden containing plants and animals from all over the world. It is here that we walked among the expansive gardens, seeing many species of birds, but no kiwi since it was daytime. Among the many animals on the island are several species of wallaby, one of which is now extirpated from its native habitat in Australia.

Kawau Island

So, this is not Kawau Island! But, it looks just like an island one might be shipwrecked on. Very small and would probably not support even one person.
We took the mail boat to the island traveling to different locations and dropping off and picking up mail. This is not the mail ferry!
Collecting the outgoing mail.
Kawau Island was originally settled by early migrations of Maori people. From time to time tribes contested for the right to live on the island, which was eventually abandoned in the 1820s after a particularly bloody skirmish during the musket wars. A manganese mine was established on the island in the 1840s; shortly after, copper was discovered by accident. Fascinating ruins of the underground seashore copper mine, a pumping engine house and a small smelter remain today.
My friends, Marion and Kerry Manson! Gorgeous weather that day!

Pied Oystercatcher

Just way too cool! The tide was in when I was beach walking so there wasn't much space. This one allowed me to get quite close (but I did use a zoom lens)

Matakana, Northland

Following classes in Auckland, I headed up to Northland with friends Kerry and Marion Manson. This part of my journey was all about relaxation. We walked on the beach, where I got my first glimpse of some of New Zealand's shorebirds, Pied Stilt and Pied Oystercatcher, which interestingly comes in bi-colored or straight black plumage! And, I remembered my fondness for Flat Whites.
We took a boat trip out to Goat Island, where I was surprised to see this Pied Shag building a nest. It's fall down there! My thought was, "How weird is this? These birds must be confused!" But, it was me who was confused, because when I looked it up in my guide book, I discovered that they have two nesting seasons, spring and fall. It makes sense, biologically, since the weather is rather tropical in this part of New Zealand.
This native Wood Pigeon posed for the camera, perched in a tree beside the deck of the batch that we rented. This is what New Zealanders (Kiwis) call beach houses.
The view from our balcony, looking out toward Kawau Island, our next destination!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Zealand April 2011

Leg one of my trip began with classes for the POP Quilters and the Auckland Patchworkers Guild. Above are just a few of the stars designed on day one of a 2-day class.
After completing her original designed star, Wendy Johnson decided to work on a manageable-size project during day 2. She designed this cute little tree and star that she plans to use as a quilted Christmas Card. By the time she arrived at guild meeting the following day, it was quilted and bound.
Nicola Graham was working on a sunburst that would become part of a much larger design. In her other life, Nicola designs wedding gowns and formal wear.
Marney Lyons designed this terrific star, using a unique print that really accentuates the overall design. All of the students were "stars"!!!