Monday, September 17, 2012

Third and final week.

My exhibition closed yesterday (Sunday) with a rush of visitors on Saturday and Sunday who hadn't heard about it until they saw the write up in their local paper (I was in three papers).

The visitors included many ladies who write blogs as well as reading mine, and many of them were members of suburban patchwork groups such as Waverley Patchworkers and North Of The Yarra Quilters. They asked if I would like to give a talk at their meetings, and of course I said yes, I'd love to. Other people representing various community groups asked the same, and I'm happy to do it, as long as I don't have to travel too far!

 The Tea And Talk presentation went over very well, I'm pleased to say. Cara, the Gallery Curator, introduced me, and presented me with two gifts from the Homestead - the history of Bundoora and their own limited edition souvenir tea towel.

The gallery staff said they had glowing reports about my talk afterwards :-) The audience were all women except for one elderly man, who I assumed was the husband of one of the ladies. He came up and shook my hand after the talk, and said it was the best talk he'd seen at the Gallery. I thanked him politely, wondering just how many presentations he'd been to...I was told later he is on the board of directors for the Homestead! High praise indeed!   I was delighted that several women brought some of their old linens to show me and ask how they should care for it.  One lady had a cloth and napkins in a box which she had never opened since it was given to her for a wedding gift 50 years ago.  I suggested that we have a look at it, and she was dismayed to find the napkins were torn where the creases had caused the fabric to disintegrate.  I wasn't surprised because I've seen this before.  I advised her to remove everything from the box, dampen and press them lightly, and store them flat from now on.   She assured me she would!

There is a charming little cafe in the Homestead, and after the talk, the audience is treated to a light afternoon tea in the cafe. I asked the manager if I could put some nice cloths on the tables and she thought that was a nice idea.

The sun was shining right into the window when I was taking these photos, so they aren't very clear, but it gives you an idea of how sweet the cloths looked. I told everyone my linens had come home - they looked so right in the old house.

On Sunday morning just before they opened the doors to the public, Donna (on reception) and Mel (cafe manager) came into the gallery with flowers and a card for me.  They said it had been fun having me there to talk to for the whole time the exhibition was on, because usually the artists hang their pictures and come back weeks later when it's time to take them down.  But the girls said it was great to have me there to chat to people about my linens, and give them helpful advice about theirs.  I was so touched!

The whole experience was something that I will treasure for a long time.  It was the first time I've ever had my collection (well, a small part of it!) on show to the public, apart from when I've taken linens with me to do talks to community groups, and I was overwhelmed with the interest the show generated.  Having people offer me their family linens for my collection is a bitter-sweet event, as I would much rather they stay in the families, but if the younger generation are only going to send their ancestors' hard work to the tip, I'm more than happy to rescue it from that fate.  I think I've made a lot of people go home and have a second look at the contents of their linen cupboard.  I hope so.

The staff are already talking about having me there again, along with some other embroiderers, to demonstrate stitching techniques on Heritage Days at the Homestead.  Looks like I'm in for a busy time in the next year or so!


  1. It was a wonderful exhibition that Susan and I enjoyed very much and was well worth our trip.
    I think lots of good things will come for you out of this display. Maybe one day you will have to open your house to groups just like Janet did with her Royalty Rooms. Be warned though, tour groups always expect home made cakes with their cup of tea. Sylvia

  2. LOL! Our house is nowhere big enough to do that, Sylvia! My dream is to win Lotto and buy a warehouse to set up my collection as a permanent display open to the public....just a dream I'm afraid. Until then, I'll have to content myself with showing bits of the collection now and then.

  3. I'm glad to hear your exhibition was such a success Gina. I certainly enjoyed it. It was made all the better meeting you as well!

  4. All I can say is "Dear Gina I wish with ALL! MY HEART! I could have been there to see your display......I am so proud of you dear friend. Hugs Lee-Ann

  5. Loved the Exhibition thanks for sharing some of your treasures. I told a few friends about it, and one called this week to say she went up the day after me, and loved everything there! .. L


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