Friday, 19 October 2007

Crafty Women

This Labour Weekend, the Otautau Craft & Patchwork Group are staging their annual exhibition at the Courthouse. As you gaze at the array of handmade quilts, dresses, bags and ornaments, you may zero in on one in particular and ask 'how much is this stunning piece?', but the answer is always 'it's not for sale'. In that way, this exhibition is a big teaser. But how can a price be put on something that is so finely detailed and so exquisitely crafted? In a very real sense, all of the items are priceless. (Pictured right is Flutterby Fantasy, a quilt by Leslee Deacon).

The feature piece of the show is a large quilt entitled Mama, is that a piece of my dress? by Faimie McGlen (pictured left). It is composed of recycled fabric from past incarnations and has a strong feeling of reminiscince. Each piece has patterns that were popular decades ago. She states, "I like a look that is fairly traditional and scrappy rather than beautifully contrived." It took her two years to make what I thought would've taken ten. Its monetary value is probably in the thousands.

The craft group is as fascinating as its creations. It is made up of 17 members from all over the district (including Tuatapere, Riverton, Orepuki & Drummond) and meets every Tuesday at the Otautau Bowling Club. Members bring their materials, current projects, and any equipment (yes, even machines) for a full day of connection, concentration and focus on their crafts. They also go on trips to various locales, and have a relationship with the Tapanui crafts group - visiting each other now and then and catching up on the latest news. I was most impressed to hear that the members take a whole day from an otherwise very distractible weekly routine to devote to their art. What a great ethic! (Pictured above left is a dress by Helen Todd; and right, a Yellow-Eyed Penguin quilt by Jan Appleby).
Also featured at this exhibition are paintings from some of the Otautau Primary School students. What talent they have! (pictured is One Tree, a painting by Mariel Gill, Year 8). There are also raffles and a chance to give your vote for the Viewers Choice. The exhibition continues through to Monday, closing at 4pm. Go see it!

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