Textiles, travel and Teaching
taking quilting one step further.

What a great day.

Melbourne is a vibrant city with a lot to offer the casual observer. 
We are staying  in the Hilton on the park which is  within walking distance of parks and shopping and despite using the local  trams we still managed to walk about 10 kms.
I'm still in work mode and I honestly don't have a turn off button but I'm working on it.
A lunch time entertainer singing to an appreciative audience on the lawns of the library. The sun shone, the noise of the city was soothed by his singing.

Pamela Irving created Larry LaTrobe in 1992 as part of the Percent for Art Program and Swanston Street redevelopment. He is a life-size dingo-like dog who surveys the activity in City Square. Larry was based looselyon Irving’s dog, Lucy, and on her uncle, Larry. She claims that the dog is conic to Australia, and from the moment it was unveiled, Larry LaTrobe became one of Melbourne’s most loved sculptures. Despite being anchored to the site with 30-centimetre bolts, Larry disappeared in August 1995. Council immediately launched a campaign for his return, but to no avail. On hearing of the theft, Larry’s most ardent admirer, Mr Peter Kolliner, who had owned the foundry where he was cast, offered to produce another one. Irving altered the new Larry’s coloring to affect some individuality (he has a redder tinge), but in all other respects he is the same.
Larry was officially welcomed home on 16 September 1996. Melbourne band Jugularity entertained the crowd with an ode to the sculpture, ‘Larry Come Home – a documentary’, sung to the tune of ‘Advance Australia Fair’.

These shoes are delightful. I love the strong image. of the black and white and the cut flowers trim.
There is an ecletic charm about Melbourne. Its a great place to shop, people watch and explore the arts.Melbourne's awash with high quality cafes and restaurants, so you're guaranteed to get a great meal. Sometimes you want more than a quick bite to eat and in Melbourne, you're in luck. It's simply the best place to be in Australia for a top table experience. 
But we opted for a gourmet hamburger and fries.... (as you do) today we hope to find something special at the market.
A delightful garden shop was a bright spot amongst the grey stone buildings.
In 2010, Melbourne was named by  as one of the best cities in the world for viewing street art and in 2008, its street art and lanes were voted by Lonely Planet readers as Australia's most popular cultural attraction.
We spent quite a bit of time visiting Hosier street.
Once forgotten but now very much on the Melbourne cultural map, Hosier Lane is a small cut through between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane, filled with regularly changing graffiti and a series of light boxes that exhibit the work of up and coming contemporary artists.

Here in Melbourne, I'm watching the morning news as I work. 
Its something I do each morning at home so its like joining an  old friend today. Good morning sunrise.
The sun is tipping the horizon promising a beautiful day.
I just want to walk and take photos today. Architecture, Art and People.
Of course the first stop will be Hosier lane. The art began to appear at the turn of the 21st century and changes constantly.
Walking the lanes surrounded by strong images and bands of color is a stimulation for the senses.
Last year we introduced Tilly to the art and she was mesmerized. I can image what its like being a child in a tunnel of color..... magical.

I have written a few blogs recently but they are not finished and time has been of the essence for the past 12 days.
I was pushing myself to the limit of my abilities and I figured I would get back to writing when I had time.
I've traveled thousands of miles, experienced a life time of experiences and shared in the lives of many, it's the journey of a life time.
In a few days I get to go home and be with 'my people'

AQC Challenge 10, 2014

And the winner is: Alison Withers (Victoria) with her quilt '10 together Equals Teamwork'
Only 36 km from the city of Monterrey, on the road that connects with the town of Garcia, is a place where the mystery of nature reveals a striking scene. These are the Caves of Garcia, an imposing mineral artwork  that exists thanks to the miracle of thousands of years of creation. To reach the cave is necessary to climb 80 meters high; you can make this journey by cable car or walking by a long narrow sidewalk. 
Grutas de García remained hidden for thousands of years until 1843. Priest Juan Antonio Sobrevilla discovered the caves during a casual excursion through the mountains.
We chose the cable car. However, there were still 800 steps inside the caves to Navigate.
The caves inside look like a rocky desert landscape . From the entrance two different paths emerge descending 105 meters: one is about 2.5 kilometers and has 16 different chambers; the other is 1 kilometer long with 11 chambers. Like most caves these maintain a temperature around 18°C (65°F).
There was even a small chapel with chandeliers in the cave. It was touching to see the small objects left by families or individuals who shared small tokens with the virgin. Some were tossed on the floor from the barriers and some had been pasted on a board.
It was a wonderful experience.
When I was a little kid, we had this set of children’s encyclopedias, Arthur Mees. Encyclopedias. They were great big books for small hands,  red leather volumes  filled with everything from fairy tales to songs to the instructions on body parts.

 My favorite volume was “Things to Make and Things to Do.”  It had wonderful illustrations on how to make amazing things out of toilet rolls etc.
However, my projects always looked like toilet rolls and sticky tape not the intended project.
The pages were full of promise and excitement and they had a particular 'educated' smell.
I always felt very 'wise' reading them.
They told of far off countries, and had photos of  people in places I could only dream of.
I wish I kept them.... (maybe I do still have them somewhere)

It was my version of todays iPad. Full of inspiration and adventure, as each page unfolded.
I think every family had a set of Encyclopedias on their bookshelf.
As we became a more enlightened family we added the Children's Australian Encyclopedia.
The man who came to the door to sell them to us said that "everyone in the street has bought them'
I still have these and they are so quaint  I  print my illustrations on the pages. !!!!!
But the reason for my post is that the Encyclopedias posed a very different image of Mexico.
As much as I travel I'm still reminded of those images in the encyclopedia. I also admit that at times I have preconceived idea of what a place looks like and when I find my self in a totally different environment than my imagination it's a little starting.
Monterrey Mexico is just that.
It's unlike any place I've traveled to in Mexico. Larger, urban, sprawling and incredibly beautiful surrounded by towering mountains. Where I'm staying and other areas I've visited It feels as if I'm in the expensive areas of Los Angeles.
 My observation of just a few days is that  this is a very cosmopolitan society.
I've never seen so many  multinational factories in one place.
Then on the other hand, the pictures above show a very Mexican side but that was because we traveled an hour out of the city  and these images were taken in a small country town just about to celebrate  its  140th Anniversary. There were modern buildings, but I chose to photograph the older cobblestone streets  with character and I can't remember the name of the town.
The images below portray the color  of the ever present bougainvillea, the boxing ring set up for  the event in the square that evening, the children at the fun fair and their Mums watching carefully and people just sitting in the park enjoying the saturday.
I loved the Mariachi advert on the light pole
I've had a great time being with the quilters of Monterrey and I'm looking forward to the next few days with them. Tomorrow is a bit of a get together, a little site seeing and then we have another 2 day class on Monday and Tuesday.
Our day was filled with wonderful things today, but this is about all I can write tonight.
More tomorrow.
Buttercup yellow, turquoise seats, a red floor, a green and blue roof and my heart just about bursts with expectation as we step onto our floating barge and join a throng of other people  doing the same thing.
It was  my day off and with friends I'm visiting  Xochimilco (pronounced, sochi-milko - in Aztec meaning ‘place of the flowers’) - to many, known as the ‘Floating Gardens’. 
The day was warm and sunny, with very little breeze. Music surrounded us.
 A trajinera, a type of gondola was deftly poled in front of us and it contained a group of  mariachis  in full voice. The cheeks of the trumpeter looked as if they would burst with the pressure and the guitar player played with gusto.
Every boat in the canal was a riot of color with flower designs and named for someone special no doubt. 
Patricia, Sylvia names of lovers or Mothers.
In the past, the boats were decorated with real flowers, but today, due to cost and the fact that the flowers need to be replaced every three days the flowers have given way to interesting designs. I couldn't tell if they were traditional of a figment of the imagination.. but never the less I loved every minute of 
Unaccustomed to drinking that thing called water I've found myself downing several bottles a day. It is the heat and the fact that Mexico City is at about 7000 feet elevation and we didn't have to wait too long to have our thirst quenched as a small  trajinera flat boat came alongside and offered us liquid refreshment.
Soon, a boat with an entire Mariachi band was moving beside us. They asked for a small fee, and then serenaded us with great enthusiasm and evident excitement.
In some boats, the marimba wavered precariously as the performers pounded out a tune unrecognizable to my ears but joy to the ears of my Mexican friends.
Children leaned over the front of the boat and dragged their hands in the water and some pretended to pole the boat.
A woman, standing in her boat and wearing  the traditional apron was selling cool drinks.  In Mexico, these handmade aprons are worn with pride for anything from fiestas to cooking, and even on a boat in the canal it is just part of everyday dressing. She handled that darn big pole with dexterity despite her age.
Like the floating market in Thailand, some of the boats looked forever like floating kitchens, the smoke billowed out as a variety of meats and  other unknown things were being cooked. How on earth they don't burn a hole in the bottom of the boat I don't know.
We sampled corn on the cob which had been boiled in a soup and then dipped in cheese and chili. I was hoping the towel she used to wipe the corn was clean.
Fuss budget you.
It was an amazing experience, they tell me some 2000 boats go out each day.... that's big business on any scale. The they also tell me that people come alongside and rob you.
Charming. At least I wasn't told that until after the event.
Artists in the modern world: be gift givers. Once you shift your thinking from "transaction" to "gift", it opens up a new way of engaging with your peers and customers. 

I saw this quote today. We have a lot to learn about giving.
Sunrise Elementary School students from Chaparral stitch wall hangings from a pattern designed by Pam Holland, an international sewing instructor from Australia. "She was very impressed with their work and the program and graciously donated seven brand new Brother Sewing Machines for the students to use," said Frances Campbell, with Las Colcheras Quilt Guild of Las Cruces, who hold an after-school sewing program for the students. Last summer, the students displayed their work at the Festival of Quilts show in Alamogordo. (Courtesy photo)

Two times each week, Pat Mauer and Frances Campbell get in the car and travel about 70 miles round-trip to the small town of Chaparral, southeast of Las Cruces.

There, they offer Sunrise Elementary School students the opportunity to share in their life experiences, as well as hone skills in what has increasingly become a dying art not regularly passed down to future generations.
A couple of little success stories.   3 years ago I gave a machine to Bethsiada now 13. She has 3 sisters that have all been in our program. Over Christmas break they made 7 quilts and taught their mother to quilt so she has now made a quilt too using all the fabric left over from the kits they were using.

Another former student Abby now 12,  liked to quilt so much she started a group at her church and now has 15 girls at her church quilting.  They  make quilts to give to an orphanage in Juarez and the Children's Cancer treatment center in El Paso.  I gave her 2 machines for the girls group and she has 2 machines at her house now so she can quilt at home with her friend. I keep them supplied with notions and fabric.

This is Grandie Tilly with the machine she got for Christmas. 
No, I haven't taught her to quilt. She designs her own things, then when she's ready to take the leap from designing to constructing, the lessons will begin. I really don't want to push her. I want her to learn and be free to create on her own first.


Pam Holland Designs and Productions.