CraigActive for active retirees is held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from September to May. Join us at 11:30 am for coffee and social time. A soup and sandwich lunch (pay what you can, suggested donation is $6.00) is served at noon. Program begins at 1:00 pm. The trunk show is our chance to learn more about New Zealand and the upcoming quilt festival and the Fiber art Challenge which is new this year.
Each year the tiny village of Ailsa Craig, Ontario hosts an internationally recognized Quilt Festival. The Festival is run by local volunteers and features displays, classes, the gourmet Quilt Café, vendors and demonstrations. Past countries hosted include Russia, Ireland, Great Britain, Africa, France, Israel, Denmark, Holland, Latvia an Iceland. In 2017 the Festival hosted Canada 150 to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial. In 2019 we welcome New Zealand! We hope you join us from May 20th-25th and don’t forget to say “Kia Ora” as you join in the fun!
Quilting in New Zealand was not a craft widely practised until the recent worldwide “explosion” in the 1970s. Some early quilts are known in both New Zealand and Australia, having been brought from Great Britain, and some early “waggas” (haps, rough quilts) and other quilts were made there. As New Zealand has mostly a temperate climate, quilts were not as necessary for warmth as in parts of Canada. Also, sheep have been a mainstay there for both wool and meat from very early on so wool was being spun for clothing and covering from early days.
Since the quilt revolution of recent years, the number of quilters has multiplied. The October 1996 issue of “New Zealand Quilter” listed membership in the 110 or so groups and guilds throughout the country at 4100+. Although there is no doubt some duplication in listed membership, there are probably at least another 2-3000 quilters who do not belong to listed groups.
Guilds in New Zealand are similar to those all over the world. There are large ones and small ones. The large ones tend to have more formal programmes and structure. The small groups usually have a less formal structure and perhaps fewer outside speakers or programmes, as everywhere because of monetary constraints. Small groups often form within a large guild and offer more intimate settings for friendship. Most of the groups of any size hold displays or exhibitions, some yearly, some biennially, some on a less regular basis. The larger groups tend to have more classes and hold “open days” and retreats. The smaller groups meet more frequently, usually in members’ homes.
New Zealand quilters have had biennial symposia since late 1984. The first one was held in Auckland, in the North Island, in December 1984, the second in Christchurch, in the South Island, in February 1987 and they have alternated between the north and south Islands every odd-numbered year since.
Until 1994 there was no National Organisation in New Zealand and symposia were, and still are, run by either one or a group of guilds in an area. The locality decision seems to be arranged by “gentleman’s agreement” and this works very well.
Symposia also have lectures by overseas and local quilters, various exhibitions, including a “suitcase” exhibition which tours for up to a year after the event, a merchants’ mall, and other attractions which tend to be different with each one. They are high points in the lives of New Zealand quilters and often the saving for the next begins with the arrival home from the most recent!