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APRIL/MAY UPDATE, 2021


One thing is certain… our newsletters usually require a glass of wine in a comfy chair before beginning.And this one is no exception – once again, I apologise for the length of this letter! But read on about some incredible ladies, a sneak preview of their work to be on display as part of the Quilt & Craft Spectacular 2021 and the inspirational story of The Red Dress Project below – I hope you enjoy!


The Gympie Rotary Quilt & Craft Spectacular and “Ancient Crafts, Rare Trades” Expo is now only just over 5 months away:))

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Quilt Entry Forms
Our next newsletter will contain the 2021 Quilt Entry Forms, with details on the drop-off and pick-up points and dates. To make it easy for you to enter quilts, several shops and guilds act as drop-off and pick-up points before and after the show. Its a simple matter of dropping your quilt(s) off at your closest or easiest drop-off point, each in a labelled bag and with the completed form, by the nominated date. Then, pick up your quilt at the same location after the show, by the nominated pick-up date. If it’s a guild or group, we coordinate with your meeting days. All details of how, where and when are included in the Quilt Entry Forms, and the categories, etc.Drop off/ pick up locations include: Gympie (Ray Steet store and Pizzaz Haberdashery); Maleny (group); Noosa (Wallace House group); Forest Glen (Patchwork Angel); Maryborough (Patchwork on Pallas); Bell’s Bridge (Lianne Cooke’s group), Brisbane (group – TBC) and the Gold Coast (TBC).

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The Movie!
A trivial but flukey thing – in our February newsletter, we talked about the The Underground Railroad, and how quilts were used to give secret coded messages to runaway slaves in the 1800s. Well…. now there’s a movie, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Colson Whitehead. The movie seems to wander a little from reality, and I’m not sure that it includes anything about quilts, but it is about the Underground Railroad and a network of abolitionists, hidden routes, and safe houses that helped enslaved African-Americans escape to freedom. Whether in the movie or not, quilts were an important part of this networking…. email me on admin@quiltandcraft.org if you’d like me to send the Feb newsletter again.

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The Gentle Arts
“Stitching our stories, lovingly embellishedThreads of memories, forever cherished

In our newsletters, we try to feature, each month (or so) a special highlight to be presented at the Gympie Rotary Quilt & Craft Spectacular, October 30 -31, 3021…. and are especially excited, this month, to be able to detail some of the masterpieces that will be on display this year, in “The Gentle Arts”, a collaborative display of the works of a number of wonderful artisans showing a range of embroidery/ crochet techniques and styles – from miniature to massive, from timelessly exquisite to brazenly bold.
The Gentle Arts Exhibit will include works of Embroiderers, Lacemakers, Crochet artists, Freeform and Crazy – and some surprises! In this newsletter, we are featuring the works of four embroiderers, all presenting different styles, sizes, techniques. Below is an introduction to these creative artisans – for the full interview, with a Q&A and sneak preview of some of the works that will be on display, click on the link below for each one. Read on for a brief intro.

Click here for Debbie Mercer’s bio, Q&A and sneak peek

Click here for Jennifer Clouston’s bio, Q&A and sneak peek

Click here for Kim Springhall’s bio, Q&A and sneak peek

Click here for Norma Cuddihy’s bio, Q&A and sneak peek

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Inspirational Story – The Red Dress Project
THE RED DRESS PROJECT: 202 EMBROIDERERS. 28 COUNTRIES. 1 DRESS

An 11-year global embroidery project, 2009 – 2020


The Red Dress Project provided an artistic platform for women around the world, many of whom are marginalized and live in poverty, to tell their personal stories through embroidery. 


From 2009 to 2020, it travelled the globe, being continuously embroidered. It has been embroidered on by 200 women and 2 men, from 28 countries from around the world. Most are established master embroiderers, a few are artists turned first-time embroiderers. All were encouraged to tell a personal story they would like to share through embroidery, adding their own cultural and traditional experience. Some chose to create using a specific style of embroidery practiced for hundreds of years in their family, village, or town.


Embroiderers include women refugees in Palestine; victims of civil war in Kosovo, Rwanda, and DR Congo; impoverished women in South Africa, Mexico, and Egypt; women in Kenya, Japan, Paris, Sweden, Peru, Czech Republic, Dubai, Afghanistan, Argentina, Switzerland, Canada, Tobago, USA, Russia, Pakistan, Wales, Colombia, India, Saudi Arabia, the UK and Australia – with Gympie’s Debbie Mercer as one of the Australian embroiderers, through Allthreads Embroidery, Queensland.


The dress became a platform for self-expression, an opportunity for the women to have a voice to tell their personal stories. Some of the women are now re-building their lives with the help of embroidery, by using their skill or being trained in embroidery to earn a decent and consistent living. 


The Red Dress, now complete, is covered in millions of stitches but it’s true adornment is in the individual stories and collective voices waiting to be heard as by the threads and beads that embellish it.


Pics below: The completed Red Dress; contributing embroiderer Gympie’s Debbie Mercer, with a feature article on the Red Dress; the Allthreads Embroidery group that created the Australian patch to be included in the dress (Debbie far left, top row).

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Bus Groups
Please let us know if you are getting a group together, we can add you to the list, keep you in the loop and liaise about fast-tracking your group’s event entry. There’s plenty of room for buses to park, but it would be handy to have a rough idea of numbers of buses to expect. And here’s a tip: Sundays are traditionally less busy than Saturdays…. 

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Three co-events, all for one ticket price of $8 per person per day:


 1. Gympie Rotary’s Quilt & Craft Spectacular, October 30 – 31, 2021, in Gympie’s Pavilion www.quiltandcraft.org


2. Gympie Rotary’s “Ancient Crafts, Rare Trades” Expo, October 30 – 31, 2021, beside the Pavilion in the Showgrounds, Gympie www.ancientcrafts.org


3. Craft Beer Open Door, presented by Gympie Rotary Club, October 30 – 31, 2021, in the Pavilion Gympie – sponsored by Classic Queensland Homes, Gympie  www.quiltandcraft.org/craft-beer-open-door/

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With thanks to our sponsors: