Saturday, September 29, 2007

KTAA first meeting

We finally got the 2007/08 season underway with our first meeting on Tuesday night. It was held at Sadu House, and we had about 50-60 people turn up, plus another 45 or so from another group who were meeting on the same night and came along to see what we were all about. Once I had stopped feeling ill with worry, I really enjoyed myself.

We had plenty of time first for people to look around Sadu house, and for some it was their first visit, and to renew their membership, and then I had to do my bit and welcome everyone. I don't think I managed to insult anyone - haven't been told of any complete cock ups anyway, so fingers crossed I got away with it! Sheika Altaf then did a small talk about how she came to be involved with the start of the KTAA in 1994, when just 6 people got together because they were interested in weaving..... something about little acorns springs to mind here. Once we had got all that out of the way, we got onto the interesting stuff and had a show and tell. I started the ball rolling by showing the little beaded doll brooches I'd got at the quilt festival in Birmingham made by the South African children whose parent(s) had died from Aids. We had jackets from south China, a throw from Peru, a hand embroidered table cloth, a mirror cover from Uzbekistan, a drape to cover bed linen also from Uzbekistan, both very old pieces, a rug from Morocco, a couple of quilts, and a painted wall hanging from India. I'm sure there were more, but my mind has gone blank - I don't think there were any cuddly toys or microwaves! And crawling all over the place, were the ubiquitous press photographers that come to all manner of events in kuwait. every time I looked up there was another telephoto lense up my left nostril! So no surprises for guessing that a couple of days later we were in the paper. And again today. Hey ho, no peace for the wicked!!
Just in case Sian is reading this, I have been slowly progressing with some course work, doing some weaving samples, and rubbings from them, and about to start playing with colour studies. that should get me off the hook for a couple of minutes anyway! I actually spent this afternoon making a couple of pieces of quilting. Our quilt group here has gone back to basics as we have a lot of new members, and we have been given a Kaleidoscope pattern to make up.

I also had a go at the disappearing nine patch as demonstrated by Helen on her blog a couple of months ago.
It is so much fun to do, and looks far more complicated than it is, which is always good value.

tomorrow is our Monday equivalent, so back to work, and for me that is a trip to the fabric souk with some new members tomorrow morning, and then out to the British Business Forum introduction to Kuwait evening at the Hilton resort. should be fun.

Friday, September 21, 2007

summer holidays part two....

So having taken on the floods, the traffic and the emergency services, got to my friends wedding, and out again, I collected my daughter, and battled my way out to Birmingham airport, from where we flew to Scotland to join my dh and stepson. We had a fantastic week on the west coast, not far from Tarbert. Glorious sunshine, lots of playing about in the water, barbecues and chilling with friends. It is a beautiful place to visit.
My thoughts and prayers though remain with the thousands of people who were affected by the floods, not only in this area, but in the north west as well. their lives have been devastated, and it will be many months before they experience something like normality again.
From Scotland, we flew to spain, and spent 2 more fantatic weeks relaxing in the sunshine, and playing in the pool. We visited the aquarium at Valencia one day, and drove miles around some pretty precarious hilly tracks (roads is too dignified) on another, seeing some fantastic scenery on the way, ate some great tapas, drank lots of tinto verrano, (my spanish drink) and read the entire library of books in the villa. 6 if you're interested.
When we came back from Spain, we dropped my daughter back with her father, my stepson back with his mother, and then dh and I departed next day for Budapest. This city comes highly recommended. easy to get around, with buses, trams, metro and trolleybuses. plenty to see and do, some great restaurants, and shamefully, they speak pretty immaculate english. to be fair though, Hungarian is one of the most impenetrable languages in the world. We had 4 wonderful days there, filled with wonderful things to do, including the ethnography museum filled with beautiful folk costumes from the different regions and classes of the country from 100 years ago. sorry, no photos, my camera battery died. Dh then returned to Kuwait, and I headed to Birmingham for the last 2 days of IFQ at the NEC.

What a treat the IFQ was. I know that many of you visited for at least one day, and like me were absolutely blown away by it all. I caught up with Maggie Grey on the WOW stand, and with Angie Hughes of Ledbury Art Place, and met Ruth Isset at long last. I was there with the Faces of Arabia stand from Kuwait. You will have seen some of the quilts previously on this blog, but this one was new. and he would have pretty much stopped you in your tracks as you walked past our stand.
He is by Jenny Bowker, Australian quilter, and the lady who came to judge our show in May. We invited her to submit a quilt to show with ours at Birmingham.

However, the star of the show as far as we were concerned was our own Paramjeet Bawa. she took up quilting 5 years ago, and was persuaded to enter one of her quilts, called 'Duststorm', into the pictorial competition. She was placed second, won the amateur award, the best use of colour award, and the judges award. We later found out that she had also won the viewers choice award. the quilt then went to Houston, and today, Paramjeet has found out that it received an honourable mention there. Are we proud bunnies or what?!!! For those of you who didn't make it to the show, or didn't see it, here it is:

There followed a week of visiting friends, travelling the length and breadth of the country, before returning to Ledbury, and a 21/2 day workshop with Angie Hughes. Now that is the way to finish a holiday, well nearly. there were 4 of us, in the heat of a proper summers weekend playing, sorry, working with mixed media, and having so much fun. I will add photos to this when I get my work back from the art teacher I have lent it to. The Ledbury Art place offers all sorts of wonderful workshops throughout the year, but this was the first time I have been able to fit one in.

My last textile trip of the holidays was to the Forge Mill Needle museum in Redditch to see the finalists in the Charles Henry Foyle Trust competition. The winner Karin Millson, lives in the Middle East, and has just finished a C&G level 3 Diploma in design and stitched textiles with Sian Martin and Distant Stitch. (the same course I am on). The pieces was a hanging, and was a very clear winner. Congratulations to Karin.

So anyway, that is why I have been out of contact for so long, promise not to let it be so long til the next post. Now I am concentrating on the first meeting of the KTAA, but more of that next post.

so how did you spend your summer....?

I flew into Heathrow on Friday July 19th. Nothing personal to anyone for whom its a special day, but for me, just another ordinary day. Not so. My plane was held circling over Chatham docks for an hour, in the thunderstorms - nice! NOT. And then, once we landed, there was so much rain on the ground that they could neither pull planes back nor dock newly landed ones, so we sat in said plane for 2 long hours waiting. Eventually docked and allowed off, it then took another hour for our luggage to get to us. by this time, I was beginning to lose my sense of perspective.... but the day wasn't finished with me yet. oh no! I picked up my hire car from a very friendly girl at Avis, who asked where I was travelling to and when I said Gloucestershire, warned me the M4 was a bit busy.
Are you with me yet? have you connected the date with anything? No? read on. It took me 3 hours to get to Chievley (?) services, and then another 6 to get as far as Cheltenham. I started picking up traffic news of torrential rain and flooding in the gloucestershire/worcestershire area, but hey, I've lived in the area for years, it always floods there, what was the problem this time? By the time I reached Cheltenham I finally decided that I had had enough. It was 2:30am, I had had nothing to eat or drink since the lunch on the plane, and I was tired. Looking around I found I was inching past a Catholic church, and decided I would take protection from any source available. I pulled in and managed 2-3 hours sleep in the car, (note to fellow car hirers, Renault Clios, while excellent cars in many ways, are not comfortable for sleeping in) before resuming my journey (ha).
After inching along for another few miles, I found a garage which had stayed open all night to look after stranded motorists - mega kudos - the poor chap was worried he would be sacked for not doing his paperwork. the fact that he had taken a months worth of money in one night should have been something in his favour, I hope so anyway. Back on the road again, it took another 3 hours to get onto the motorway which was pretty empty of moving vehicles, but the hard shoulder was chock full of abandoned ones, and I mean abandoned. cars at every angle you can imagine. It looked like one of those armageddon type movies.
reached Tewkesbury, nearly my destination, pulled off the motorway, drove about a mile down the road and stopped. A man was moving slowly from car to car, and when he got to me, told me I couldn't get through that way as there was 5 feet of water on the main street. OK. even I know my limitations, and walking, or driving on water is not my strong suit. He asked me where I was going, and when I told him Twynning, he replied "Not a cat in hell's chance". I had just been travelling for 30 hours at this stage, through what could be called an unpleasant experience, and I was not about to be beaten by a little water. but I was tired. so I rested my head on my steering wheel for a second. At which, this darling man turned into a modern day Sir Galahad, told me to park on the verge and come and let his wife make me a nice cup of tea. So I did, and she did, and their daughter made me some toast, and thus fortified, I headed back to the motorway and down to the M50 junction.
Why, I hear you ask, was I trying to get to Twynning? My dear friend Su was getting married at midday there, that's why. She even phoned the local radio station asking if anyone had a 4 wheel drive, or a tractor, or a boat to help get her from Worcester to Twynning. I spent a slightly damp but otherwise surprisingly pleasant couple of hours hanging around at the entrance to the M50, chatting to the slowly increasing number of people wanting to get to Twynning. At about 10:30am, we were all discussing amongst ourselves why we wanted to get there, and when I said for my friends wedding, one of the emergency guys butted in and asked if that was the one on the radio. When I said yes, he got straight on the phone, and while it might be totally unconnected, we were taken down to the junction for Twynning in convoy within the half hour. So I got there. As for the bride, no one answered her SOS, so she drove her and her mum herself. they did fine until they got stopped in a line of traffic in one of the villages on the way. they had 7inches of water on the road, not dangerous like some places, but the police were restricting the traffic to one car at a time in alternate directions. Su's mum got out of the car, walked down to the police man and explained that her daughter was getting married in half an hour and it could take them that long to get through. the police man said what the one on the radio, and then, it was like one of those feel good movies, the police man called to his mate at the other end of the flood and told him to stop all vehicles from his end, as there was a special one coming through from this end, Su got waved on, everyone was singing here comes the bride and tooting horns, and she got to the wedding on time. Hooray! And this is the happy bride, groom and family.