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The Annual General Meeting of the Kenya Quilt Guild was held on Thursday, April 18th, at the Simba Union Hall where we have been meeting in recent months.
Chairwoman Neela Shah opened the meeting with a brief discussion about our recent exhibition at Sarit Centre. The general feeling was that the show was a big success and that we will want to repeat the performance every year in future at the same venue. According to the foot traffic monitor, we had over 3700 visitors! Even taking off numbers for our own people walking to and fro, this was a lot of people! Our goal, of course, is to educate the general public about the beauty and functions of patchwork quilting and other needlework; we feel we did that very well this year at Sarit Centre.
On behalf of our general membership, Neela offered thanks to the Exhibitions Committee, under the capable guidance of Sheryl Fowler, who worked hard and tirelessly to put on such a great show.
The thinking is that we should hold another exhibition next year at the same venue but during the school term so we can invite schools (May?) but not during Easter or any other religious celebrations. With Easter coming at different times each year, and schools frequently altering their schedules, this may be a little difficult to organize, but our Exhibition Committee will do their best!
We are also grateful to the Kenya Embroiderers Guild for sharing the hall space with it. Without this partnership, it is doubtful that the Kenya Quilt Guild could have afforded the space. We will hold various challenges for our patchwork quilters to undertake during the year to increase the number of quilts made, thus making our contribution to each forthcoming show larger than the previous one.
Prizes were awarded during this exhibition for Viewers Choice and Viewers Choice Second Place. Sarah Brewin was awarded the trophy by Kundan Pattni and the First Place prize, a lovely crystal bowl, was awarded to Sarah by Neela Shah, for her quilt Mnyama Viatu (Animal Shoes). Natasha Khromova took Second Place for her quilt Point of No Return.
All our members should have received the entry forms by email for the “Out Of Africa” Exhibition in London, Ontario, Canada. It is very important that we receive those quilts as soon as possible. Drop them at The Woman Shop at the Sarit Centre. One suitcase will go almost immediately, the remainder will follow around the 9th of May. In order to co-ordinate the quilts and get them packed safely, we would appreciate your co-operation. When you drop your quilts, be ensure that they are labelled and that the entry forms are attached to each quilt securely so they do not get lost.
Election of officers was held with the following results:
- Chairwoman: Patty Arensen
- Vice-Chairwoman: Charu Patel
- Secreary: Sheryl Fowler
- Treasurer: Loise Gitagia
- Members-at-Large: Corinne Talbott and Suzanne Waithaka
Of course, our Immediate Past Chairwoman is Neela Shah, whose experience will be most useful and highly appreciated during the coming year. Executive Council standing committees will be chaired as follows:
- Education: Gill Rebelo
- Membership: Kundan Pattni
- Charity and Community Outreach: Gretchen Sanders-Mwaura
- Public Relations: Jasvinder Phull
- Library: Raji Syan
- Snippets Newsletters: Margaret Atandi and Surinder Thethy
- Exhibitions: Sheryl Fowler (whose seat during Executive Council meetings will be filled by another member of the Committee as Sheryl already serves on Council as Secretary)
The Kenya Quilt Guild thanks those Officers and Committee Chairwomen who served for the last year for all their hard work–it paid off handsomely!–and those who have come forward to assume their new duties for the coming year. Our gratitude and best wishes to all!
With the Election of Officers out of the way, it was time for show-and-tell:
Finally, Gill Rebelo gave a fine talk on the history of kangas, the ubiquitous brightly coloured cloths worn the length of the East African coast, from Somalia to Zanzibar and inland, wherever Kiswahili is spoken.
Kangas derive from the Portuguese lenco, a handkerchief or headscarf which became popular in Mombasa and Zanzibar in the 1860s. It is thought that the early designs were spotted, hence the name kanga, which means guinea fowl in Kiswahili. Kangas are also known as lesos from the Portuguese lenco.
Kangas always feature a border (pindo), a central panel with a design (mji) and a Kiswahili proverb or saying (jina). The jina may give a political message or may be a health warning, against the spread of HIV for example, but often it is a more personal message and frequently one to be exchanged between husband and wife. It might be wise to get the jina translated before gifting a kanga in case the message is not appropriate, although usually these messages are subtle and can be interpreted in different ways. Examples of kanga jina can be enjoyed here.
The largest collection of kangas in the world is held by the Erie Art Museum in Canada, which held its first exhibition of kangas in 2008. There is a strong cultural link between this museum and the Lamu Museum in Kenya. The British Museum in London has recently had an exhibition of kangas amongst other textiles of eastern and southern Africa. Barack Obama’s victory kanga, popular after his election as USA President, was one of the kangas featured! There are plans afoot by the British Museum to make a documentary film on the kanga. The National Museums of Kenya held a very comprehensive exhibition of kangas last year. and produced an interesting DVD to accompany the exhibition.
Sabine Prabhu won “Best of Show” in the Viewer’s Choice Awards for her lovely hand-made patchwork quilt during the recent Kenya Quilt Guild Exhibition at Village Market. She was later honored by the Guild with a presentation made by Kundan Pattni of The Woman Shop of an award–an etched glass trophy, a memento of her success.
Congratulations to Sabine for excellence in patchwork quilting!
Quilts at the recent Kenya Quilt Guild were evaluated by our visitors for Viewers’ Choice Awards. The winning quilts (click on each photo to see a larger image) were:
The Kenya Quilt Guild congratulates ALL of its fine quilters, especially these Viewers’ Choice Award Winners, for a job very well done!
The Kenya Quilt Guild Exhibition at Village Market in Gigiri, just outside Nairobi proper and near the American Embassy to Kenya and the United Nations in Kenya, is in full swing. We have had a number of visitors, a few nice sales, and press coverage from Asian Weekly and The Star. Most important of all–we’ve had FUN!!
The show remains open today from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. We have quilters giving live demonstrations of hand quilting, machine quilting and hand beading. We will be raffling off three lovely patchwork quilts to three lucky winners, so be sure to buy your tickets and to vote for the quilt you believe is the best in the show when you visit us today!
The Kenya Quilt Guild held its April meeting as its Annual General Meeting for 2012. Chair Neela Shah welcomed a rather limited turn-out of members (29 with one guest) for the AGM. Apparently, some schools are not yet back in session, so some of our members were still on holiday. After a brief introduction, Neela held the Election of Officers for 2012. These were elected as follows:
Chair: Neela Shah
Vice-Chair: Deanna Gaudaur
Secretary: April Webb
Treasurer: Loise Gitagia
Members-at-Large: Brij Datta and Jasbir Sokhi
Dena Crain, author of the current KQG Constitution, explained the functions of the Subcommittees which support the Executive Council in six areas of the Guild’s work: Membership, Education, Exhibitions, Community Outreach and Charitable Works, Advertising and Promotions, and Newsletter Publication. Dena exhorted members to be involved in this “painless” way! Membership of a Standing Committee is not onerous and only one person from each one is required to attend Executive Council meetings once a month. A sign-up sheet was passed around and a good number of members pitched in as follows:
Raji Syan (Librarian)
Community Outreach and Charitable Works
Advertising and Promotions
Dena Crain (IT only)
With Election of Officers and structuring of the Subcommittees out of the way, the Guild voted on the proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Kenya Quilt Guild. One of these was that Snippets, the KQG newsletter, would be discontinued unless a volunteer editor was found at the AGM; this was obviated by Margaret Atandi and Jane MacAskill who have proffered their skills to maintain the newsletter. Snippets survives!
The second proposed amendment to the Constitution was to change the date of the AGM to the April meeting date. Sheryl Fowler proposed (seconded by Gretchen Mwaura) a change to the amendment: the AGM shall take place on or before the third Thursday in May of each year. Two thirds of those members present at the meeting needed to approve the change by a show of hands in order for it to be adopted. There was a unanimous vote in favour of the change to the amendment. The acceptance of the amended proposal was also unanimously supported.
Gill Rebelo reminded members of the exciting programme of workshops on offer in the near future and encouraged those interested to sign up and pay a deposit or in full as soon as possible in order to ensure a place:
- Mon 7th May a.m. or p.m.: Bev Rebelo, Hand quilting, KSh500 per half day at the Rebelo residence in Loresho
- Tues 8th May: Bev Rebelo, Machine quilting, KSh1500 full day at Shalom House
- Tues 15th May: Sarah Brewin, Dancing Ladies, KSh2,800, full day including kit at Shalom House
- Fri 18th May: Magie Relph, Broken Windows, KSh 1500, full day at Shalom House
- Mon 21st May: Magie Relph, African Jazz,* KSh 1500, full day at Shalom House
- Wed 23rd May: Magie Relph, Extreme appliqué*, KSh 1500, full day at Shalom House
- Thurs 24th May a.m.: Magie Relph, Adinkra Stamping, KSh 800, half day at Shalom House
- Thurs 24th May p.m.: Magie Relph, Creative Strip Cloth, KSh 1200 incl fabric, half day at Shalom House
*Please note change of dates for these 2 classes.
Plans for the upcoming Exhibition at Village Market on 11th, 12th and 13th May are well in order. Dena designed and had printed 30 copies of a colourful poster advertising the exhibition. She encouraged members to sign up and take copies to display in public places. Those who have to pay to display may claim the cost from the Guild if they keep and present their receipts.
Neela suggested that posters should only go up a week to ten days before the exhibition. Members were also encouraged to sign a roster to volunteer their services in various roles at the exhibition. This really is a joint effort, and both posters and the duty roster can be found at The Woman Shop until 5th May. Stop in and collect a poster for displaying at your church, school or other high-traffic public place. Sign up for a two-hour stint as a welcoming hostess, raffle table worker, membership recruiter or white glove lady. Your help will be much appreciated!
Jasbir and Jasvinder were collecting entry forms and fees for quilts which members wish to show or sell at the exhibition. Members were reminded that any forms submitted after 19th April would attract a penalty fee of KSh300. All quilts need to be delivered to The Woman Shop or to Neela or Gill by 5th May. Neela explained that members may submit two quilts each for exhibition but extras will be accepted and may be displayed, depending on the space available. The entrant will be reimbursed their entry fee if the quilt is not included in the show.
Neela announced that formal approval for the raffle of Guild quilts has been received from the Betting Control and Licensing Board. However there has not been time to get the tickets printed for the AGM and members were asked to collect ticket booklets from The Woman Shop and to ensure they bring money, stubs and unsold tickets to the exhibition.
Pauline Mang’ana displayed the cup which will be awarded to the “People’s choice” for the best quilt in the show. The second prize will be a kanga.
For Show-and-Tell, Indu Shah showed the progress she has made on a quilt for a young girl. She has embroidered the pieces most attractively. Brij displayed a delightful quilt made of Amish fabrics she acquired on the Guild’s trip to Canada. Bria Gaudaur showed two quilts – one an image containing the letters LOVE was well received and the second, designed for a toddler, was most suitable for the Kenyan environment as appliquéd cars attempted to climb rick-rack hills! Deanna showed a quilt with appliquéd letters of the alphabet and a fun image to go with each one. This is the “first grand-child quilt” although she may have to wait a while before she can give it away! Deanna Gaudaur, Bria’s mum, then showed us a masterpiece of machine quilting. A New York Beauty design, the quilt had not been pieced but squares and complex designs were traced onto the fabric and then coloured with machine stitched free motion quilting. It was absolutely stunning!
Dena Crain then gave a masterly talk on the subject of how to care for our quilts. She listed the factors that damage quilts, such as
- light which can fade colours and cause fibre disintegration, moisture which can encourage the growth of moulds and other decomposers,
- staining by sugar solutions, wine, chocolate or tea or the sebum from finger tips which can all cause permanent marks,
- physical damage can be caused by insects, rodents, dogs and cats and their body fluids can also cause permanent staining,
- dirt from dusty environments causes discolouration,
- abrasion – friction can damage fibres and result in holes in fabric, and
- temperature extremes have similar effects.
In order to avoid the factors listed above and the permanent creasing caused by folding, quilts should be stored face down in stacks on a flat surface such as a mattress protected by a cotton (100%) sheet. The stacks should be evenly distributed so that there is no lumpiness to warp the quilts. A white cotton sheet should cover the stacks and the curtains of the room can be kept drawn.
Alternatively, the quilts can be rolled, with rod in place. The rolling should begin from the top end, ensuring the edges do not catch and crease, and with the top side of the quilt on the outside of the roll. This expands the top fabric a little so that any creases form on the underside of the quilt. The presence of the rod stops the roll collapsing inwards, again introducing creases into the fabric. Rolling from the top downwards ensures that loose curling is at the bottom end of the quilt and this will fall out when the quilt is hung from the rod again.
The rolled quilts can be stored individually in cotton drawstring bags, which are longer than the quilt is wide, thus closure of the bag can be more effective. Plastic bags are not good for quilt storage.
A sleeve is attached to the top of the underside of the quilt to contain the rod. The sleeve should be pleated in such a way that there is more fabric on the outer surface of the sleeve than in the portion of the fabric attached to the back of the quilt. The sleeve then accommodates the rod so that the quilt lies flat and does not curl around the rod when hung. A double hanger sleeve means the quilt can be hung from the centre of the rod as well as by the two ends. If a rectangular bar of wood is used for hanging the quilt (rather than a round one) then the screw eyes should be attached on the two ends of the bar closer to the top edge. This ensures the quilt is not tipped forward as it hangs.
Exhibitors were also reminded that the rod from which the quilt is suspended for display must be one inch shorter than the width of the quilt. It is useful to write the name of the quilt on the rod in felt tip pen as well as the dimensions of the rod. This makes it easier to locate appropriate rods from your collection.
When carrying a quilt as hand luggage, Dena has designed a canvas belted bag that contains the rolled quilt wrapped in a white cotton sheet. When transporting larger numbers of quilted pieces, Dena advises hard-sided luggage. However, aeroplane weight restrictions have forced many quilters to resort to soft-sided luggage. Dena protects the quilts from damage in such a bag by packing (bundling) them in a very specific way. She has cut a cardboard template that fits the base of the bag. She lays the quilts on a flat surface in an even stack so that the pieces all lie diagonally to one another. She then places the template on the top of the stack and folds the quilts around it so that each is folded on the bias. This means the folds are softer and the creasing less pronounced. The folded packet can then be placed neatly in the bag. Dena advises that the items to be packed are laid out ready and only placed in the bag just prior to departure to minimise their time in the folded state. An overnight stop means the quilts get some relief too. They should be unpacked and laid out on a flat surface or draped over a spare bed or the back of a sofa, then re-packed immediately before departure.
After Dena’s fine presentation, the meeting was adjourned.
We are delighted to learn that the Rhododendron Needlers’ Quilt Guild, whose members come from 37 towns in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, have generously promised to donate the sum of US $100 towards our 2012 Exhibition expenses, as part of their guild outreach programme. We are most grateful to them for their support.
Our longtime American member Sarah Brewin, who is also a member of the RNQG, has facilitated this donation and will bring it with her when she visits us in May to teach a class based on her “Dancing Ladies” quilt, which won the Members’ Choice award at our recent African Quilt Challenge, and which will be shown at the KQG exhibition in May.
The Rhododendron Needlers have also expressed interest in our two Guilds forming a “sister” relationship to work together. As a first step they have suggested that the winning quilt from the 2012 KGQ exhibition should be sent to the US to be shown at their exhibition in March 2013. This is an exciting prospect for our Kenyan quilters.
At the last Rhododendron Needlers’ exhibition in March 2011, the famous “The Supper Quilt,” inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th century mural painting of “The Last Supper,” was on display. Made by retired American dentist, Dr. Donald Locke, this quilt is composed of 51,816 half inch squares using 350 different fabrics. It took 1,200 hours of piecing over 2 1/2 years to stitch. It has been exhibited in 6 countries and 31 American states. It will be an honour for the KQG to have a quilt shown in the exhibition which follows the showing of such an illustrious piece of work.
Aurifil Threads has a great new quilt contest going on–and the good news is that you do not have to send in a quilt in order to win!
Check it out now on the Aurifil Threads Facebook page, and see the fantastic gifts they are about to award as prizes: Aurifil Thread packages!!
Here’s a tip: send in a close-up photo of your quilt that shows your thread-work off to best advantage.