Friday, August 19, 2016

Gathering of Hearts & Hands

 A story.....
Before the days of online newsletters & limited programming for  websites
 Country Friends ( Wendy Brigg )
Woodcutter's Daughter ( Barb Smith )
began designing cloth dolls in Canberra.
We each wrote a newsletter....
Charged a fee of $15 to cover our costs of mailing out & services to put these together
These were a marketing tool to enable us in our MAIL ORDER businesses to reach our customer base .
As the industry grew in Australia, we felt a desire to give back to the customer base that had supported us for the years we got on our way....
We must have discussed this dream for a couple of years
when finally I said 
" How much will we lose if we run it & it is not covered in our business costs"
We did the costings & yes we could stand to lose x $....

So began the Gatherings...
Wendy came up with the Hearts & Hands as we all loved what we did with our hearts & we used our hands.
I liked the way Kindred Spirits when they came from USA & gave us several projects to chose one from & we could walk about..
I had previously had a frozen shoulder & that is why I came into designing after a long session of making for a market for 5 years.

We barred sewing machines because in many classes the noise & also it often set a pressure for everyone to keep up with the fastest person.

We wanted this to be relaxed & to develop a rhythm of connectedness & friendship.

We also had no saved seating.... if you had a couple of people or  a group coming there was no guarantee you sat with them  first in sat whereever they found a chair.
( we helped & made people feel comfortable & also that everyone joined in was in the spirit of both our businesses & our newsletters} 

It was an after thought that we'd bring our samples & some patterns to sell as most people were from interstate & maybe they'd like to see the samples.

Sample bags were some special designs we did & my contribution also came with a painting kit because I then was doing wood painting kits & had painters in my customer base.
We did some interesting the bag & also stencilled  a box ...
so we began

Sending off our newsletters for the Gathering.
The first one we ran was over 2 days
85 people..
Who arrived beaming & some were a little nervous...
everyone painted under the excellent tuition of my 2 Sue friends
when people began to depart on the Sunday it was like saying goodbye to dear friends   ...who knew us through our newsletters...
So we were 2 designers working basically at our kitchen table in the late 1990's 
 we had a dream
look so many are still going to these Gatherings  run by quilt shops & other designers...
We I think were so lucky to feel that warm embrace of beginning something ...which at the time sewing groups were unheard of in Australia !