Rhonda Denney first visited us last year when she came on tour of Kenya with Ricky Tims, Alex Anderson and  other American quilters. Their visit coincided with our monthly meeting in January 2011 and we entertained the group to a small exhibition of our African quilts. Some of our more astute members spotted Rhonda’s stylish quilted fabric bag, and were thrilled to hear that she had made it herself.  It was only a small step from that encounter to Rhonda’s return last month to teach us not only her famous Bow-Tuck bag but also two other original classes.

Rhonda was anxious to return to Nairobi; she had lived in Langata for three years as a child in the 1960s when her father was working here on a project studying wildlife migration.  His work led to altered boundaries for some of the National Parks  to accommodate animals’ migration patterns.

Rhonda started her visit by giving us a small slide show at our January meeting. She showed a picture of the family’s first Kenyan home in Langata and asked if anyone could help her identify its whereabouts.  Two of our senior members Jean Classen and Heather Campbell, both longtime Langata residents, were able to help her with its location although it was feared that it is likely to have been demolished by now.

Following her talk and a show-and-tell of some of her quilts, Rhonda gave a one and a half day class on her famous Bow Tuck Bags.  All the class participants took advantage of the attractive fabric kits which Rhonda had brought and had great fun mixing and matching the fabrics. We look forward to seeing a colourful selection of the finished bags at the February meeting.

Rhonda Denney Workshop

Rhonda Denney Workshop

The following week Rhonda gave a class on making a landscape quilt. Participants were asked to bring along a picture of their choice which they wanted to translate into fabric. Rhonda gave some useful tips on perspective and other factors to consider before the challenging task of choosing suitable fabrics began. Some members found this unexpectedly difficult and progress was slower than anticipated but we hope to see some finished landscape pictures at next week’s meeting.

Rhonda Denney Workshop

Rhonda Denney Workshop

The final class was on the topic of colouring and painting fabrics with a variety of media–regular coloured pencils, water colour pencils and pastels.  A solution prepared by soaking soya beans was used to stabilize the colourful finished designs. Participants at this class hope to get together in the near future to continue with their designs as so much time was spent on meticulous colouring that most people finished only three of the planned six designs.  We all found this class a very relaxed and therapeutic experience and can never remember attending such a quiet and peaceful class before.

More photos from Rhonda’s classes are in the gallery below:

Many thanks to Rhonda and we hope to see her back in Nairobi again next year.

 

Tucked Bag Workshop with Rhonda Denney--Lunch

Tucked Bag Workshop with Rhonda Denney--Lunch

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