The Heinrich Böll Stiftung in Nairobi, next door to the Nairobi National Museum which displayed the Kenya Quilt Guild exhibition last March, is the German Green Political Foundation in Kenya. Its beautiful art deco house was the venue for the official launch of the Kenya Arts Diary 2019. As one of those artists who had work included in the Diary, I was invited to and attended the event on November 2, 2018.
As part of the occasion, art works previously exhibited at Alliance Française in downtown Nairobi had been transported to the Heinrich Böll house and were once again on display. It was great to see them there, as position in an exhibition definitely affects what we see and how we view it!
During the festivities, I had a nice chat with Nani Croze of Kitengela Glass Art, the mastermind behind the Kenya Arts Diary. Like me, Nani is horrified by the toll plastics are taking on the environment. We also spoke about the future of the Kenya Arts Diary. This one, 2019, is the ninth. Nani wants to get out at least one more, to make a round figure of ten hardcopy diaries, before considering taking the project online.
More about the Kenya Arts Diary 2019:
Newly published: my name as a South African Quilters Guild Recommended Teacher.
I qualified a month or so ago by submitting a résumé and history of my quilting experience. Already a certified SAQG quilt judge, it was a fairly simple process to receive acknowledgement as a Recommended Teacher.
Just in case you, too, are interested in my teaching credentials, find here a copy of the file I submitted to the South African Quilters Guild:
There is a new page on my site: African Quilts!
In it, I offer advice to those who wish to make African quilts about colors, fabrics and more. So, if you ever want to make an African quilt, be sure to have a look at this page. It will help you get started nicely.
Then, if you need more advice, you can always contact me. I will be happy to help!
My online quilt class Structured Fabrics: Checks, Plaids and Stripes is now open for registration at Academy of Quilting.
This class is based on an art quilt I was commissioned to make for the Rockefeller Foundation Offices in Nairobi. I designed the quilt, called "Conversation Piece," to fit into a quiet little corner of the office, a great place to meet and chat about work, new ideas, latest developments and other business that did not have to involve the entire office staff.
Detail photos of the quilt show the embellishments I added, as well as the heavy texture of the finished work.
Because the quilt would have a table and two chairs sitting in front of it, it was necessary to create a focal area above that level, at just about the line of sight. The lower half of the quilt, mostly hidden from immediate view, could be a more homogenous overall pattern.
To make this design, and others that followed on along the same lines of thinking about design, I built the quilt sections from multiple layers of fabrics, which ultimately took the form of checks, plaids and stripes. From this effort, my online quilt class Structured Fabrics was born.
Learn how to build your own Structured Fabrics quilts from scratch. In the class, I teach you how to develop original designs for art quilts, soft furnishings and even apparel, all made from these wonderful constructions. Together, we have a great time and you make a wonderful Structured Fabrics quilt!
Did you know that with improved math skills, you can:
OK - so now you're convinced! What can you do to improve rusty skills in mathematics?
Join me for my online quilt class Math for Quilters at Academy of Quilting! The class is open for registration now, and you can enter the online classroom at will, as well as returning at any time for additional help and support.
Learn more at Academy of Quilting!
Last Thursday, the 18th, Alliance Française in Nairobi held an opening for the exhibition of works included in the Kenya Arts Diary 2019. I went to the opening and stayed for about an hour, meeting some friends I had not seen for a while, and introducing myself to a number of people I had only heard of but never met.
Among the folks I saw there were Nani Croze and her husband, Donna Pido and Margaretta wa Gacheru. Nani originated the Kenya Arts Diary about ten years ago. A glass artist herself, Nani's work can be found all over Nairobi and especially out Kitengela way where is her factory. Hers are the glass sculptures in the lobby of Alliance Française. Last time I saw Nani was several years ago when I was amongst the judges for a selection of outdoor art for Village Market in Gigiri.
Donna Pido and I go back a LONG way! I first knew of Donna when I attended a symposium on African art at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in about 1977. She gave a presentation there about Masai beadwork, and how it is so distinctive that one Masai knows another by the arrangement of colors amongst the beads. A Masai will always know those from another tribe because they get the beads in the wrong places! Married even then to a Masai, Donna, originally from New York, was here several years later when I arrived in Kenya. Since then, we've both been members of the Kenya Quilt Guild. Donna serves on the committee that selects art for the Kenya Arts Diary. She has for some time been lobbying in favor of accepting quilts, but this year, other selectors concurred--thank goodness they did!
I finally met Margaretta wa Gacheru, someone whose name has popped up from time to time but entirely without much relevance to me. I believe (but may yet have it wrong) that she is the Chairwoman of the Kenya Arts Diary Selection Committee. A delightful, charming lady with fantastic social skills, Margaretta introduced me to a few other people shortly after I arrived, and then left me to enjoy the evening.
One of the people I met who impressed me was Nadia Kisseleva. I also enjoyed meeting Joy Maringa, Coster Ojwang, and Ritesh Barot, who provided me with all the GOOD photos in my slideshow here. Pardon me for name-dropping, but I think that's why we do these things--so that people of like mind, like spirit, can come together and get to know each other.
Next comes the launch of the Kenya Arts Diary on the 2nd of November at the Heinrich Boell Stiftung in Nairobi. I'll be there for that, and I'll let you know how it goes!
Without a doubt, my most popular online quilt class is Darned Quilts. In this class, you can learn 60 cool things about patchwork quilting!
Together, we make an embellished background based on a dyed or other gradation--anything so the colors change over the surface of the quilt top. Then, we cut identical shapes from the background, and drop them into similar holes so the shapes begin popping near and far in the visual field.
Next, we darn the shapes into place to create an original art quilt. I've always worked with circles because I like the unlimited possibilities for rotating the shapes in the holes, but other people have used other shapes, and created some really amazing work:
Recently, I received word that one of my quilts, All That Jazz, had been selected for inclusion in the Kenya Arts Diary. The Kenya Arts Diary is a kind of calendar/yearbook that works like any hardcopy scheduler, but features the work of Kenya's finest artists.
I was stunned to learn that my work now fits that classification. Never before has a patchwork quilt been considered as "art" in Kenya. Getting one piece included in the Kenya Arts Diary opens the door for other patchwork quilt artists (yes, we have several talented artists in the Kenya Quilt Guild) to have their work featured in coming years. More importantly, each textile artist will begin at long last to receive the acknowledgment and respect for their talents that each one deserves!
Yesterday, I received two invitations: one to attend the opening of the Kenya Arts Diary exhibition at Alliance Française in Nairobi on October 18, and the other to a reception on behalf of the Kenya Arts Diary at the Heinrich Böll Stiftung on November 2.
I'm thrilled to be honoured by having made the first ever patchwork quilt accepted into the Kenya Arts Diary as a work of art, and looking forward to attending both events!
Paraphrased from the Heinrich Böll invitation comes this brief history of the Kenya Arts Diary:
Nani Croze and I have known of each other's work for many years, but due to the difficulties of time and space in Kenya we have spent very little time in each other's company--a shame! It will be good to see her again at these two upcoming events. Learn more about Nani and her remarkable glass art here.
I also look forward to meeting the other artists whose work has been featured in the 2019 Kenya Arts Diary, as well as those whose sponsorship and support make the Kenya Arts Diary possible!
On my recent holiday in France for the Kenya Quilt Guild exhibition at the Carrefour Européen du Patchwork and subsequent stay in Paris with my best friend from America, I felt GREAT! The reason why? I WALKED!
I've done yoga for many years, but I must admit that walking is probably my favorite form of exercise. With an iPhone on my person, I became aware through its Health application that I was doing a lot more walking than usual.
Getting any kind of exercise at Baringo is tricky. It's VERY hot here, and the equatorial sun burns in a flash! Those are two reasons why yoga works well here--you can do it indoors with minimal or no clothing on. Nevertheless, walking in France made me feel so good, that I determined to carry on walking when I returned home.
I downloaded the Runtastic Steps app. It works in conjunction with Health, and it does a great job of helping me meet my walking goals. I walk our dogs twice a day, in the early morning before it gets too hot, and during the last half-hour or so before the sun sinks below the horizon, when the heat of the day is finally abating.
I thought we were all meant to walk 10,000 steps a day to keep healthy. In those two times, morning and evening, I'm able to walk a recorded total of more than 8,000 steps. I figure I make up most of the difference walking in the house but those steps don't go onto my phone because I don't wear the phone on my person. At any rate, I'm feeling GREAT!!
AND--I'm reading while I walk!! I downloaded an audiobook from Kentucky Libraries Unbound (I have a Kentucky library card) onto my phone, set the audiobook to play on Overdrive, plug in my headset, and set off. Over the last few days, I've listened to Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now."
Like doing yoga, this audiobook is meditative. Tolle's voice is soft but unyielding. He speaks slowly and with a slight European accent, but he speaks well and with obvious intelligence. The book is not a new book, but I've learned a lot from it, and I recommend it to anyone who seeks spiritual enlightenment. I did not find anything in this book with which I did not agree!
Now, if I can just keep the dogs from killing the goats we meet along the path (that's positive action taken in the Now), walking could actually become pleasurable again for me! I can thus improve both my body and my mind!
Think I'll pick up a couple of muzzles this week . . .
Oh, and by the way--my highly popular online quilt class Darned Quilts opens this week at Academy of Quilting. I hope to see you there!
Hold onto your hats, folks! Are you ready for this?
The Kenya Arts Diary selection committee has chosen one of my quilts for inclusion in its 2019 publication.
It's official!! Quilting is ART in Kenya!!!
There's to be an exhibition of all selected works at the Alliance Française in Nairobi. Details in the photo: