March 27, 2003

Hello Everyone,

I am currently in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia at the Sovereign Needlework Shop which is owned by two wonderful women, Pam Hughes and Shirley McIver.  This is my fourth visit to this shop and it is a delight as they keep the classes limited to twelve so the students get lots of attention.

To catch you up to date I arrived in Hobart Tasmania on the 2nd. of March after 25 hours of travel.  I was met at the airport by Mary Anne Tiller and whisked away to her charming cottage which is an old convict cottage.  It is lovely and cozy, filled with antiques and lots of books, two cats, a spoilt, fat little Corgi,a magnificent German Shepherd and a lovely Swiss partner called Yvan.

I spent four lovely days with them, which included two days of classes and a free day of photography up in Battery Point, a charming, historical area filled with little antique cottages.

I was taking a photo of a particularly pretty cottage when the front door opened and out came a beautiful old lady with two elderly dogs.  I introduced myself and found out she was Marjoie Kimber age 93  and the dogs 14 and 15.  As we were talking a lady drove up.Upon getting out of her car she told me that Marjorie was the darling of the area and her secret to longevity was lots of brandy and frequent walks around the block with the Lord and the Commoner (her dogs)  I went for a walk with her and came back for a cup of tea.

Here is a photo of Marjorie...
I hope we can all be as bright and alert as Marjorie... She is a delight. I then went on to Launceston, for two more days of classes and then on to Devonport for another two days..The ladies were lovely and very good students. The Island is so beautiful and I recommend it to everyone that wants idyllic country side and sea.

Then it was off to Melbourne to do a radio interview for the Melbourne Stitches and Craft and to set up my room for the Lecture Series.  As the Guest Artist for Stitches and Craft I did four lectures a day and then went to sign Books at the Anne's Glory Box booth.

Gloria and Don McKinnon who own Anne's Glory Box are dear friends and we stayed together in a wonderful Motel which was like an apartment, just five minutes from the Caulfield Race Course where the event was held. There were record crowds and the booths were wonderful.  I managed to stop at the Thread Studio Booth going and coming....They have the best threads ever!

The highlight of the Stitches and Craft Show was to see old friends such as Judith and Kathryn and Chris and Lyn Uphill, just to catch up with them and have a few laughs.  I had a marvelous surprise on the last day when during a lecture I kept noticing two distinguished looking men in the back row.  After about ten minutes into the lecture I couldn't stand it any longer and asked if one of them was John Hose...the wonderful man who married Ernest and I at the William Ricketts Sanctuary in l995...Sure enough it was!!! It was such a wonderful surprise..He was with his friend Leo and it was marvelous to see them again.  We have made plans to get together for lunch when Ernest comes over April 11th.  (I can hardly wait.)

Here is a photo of us taken at the Show.

A special thank you to Anne's Glory Box and the Stitches and Craft staff for bringing me over as their Guest Artist.  It is an honour and I really enjoyed it.

I am sure you can appreciate it that after six classes in Tasmania and five days of lectures in Melbourne, I was a bit tired...So on March 17, my 58th birthday, Gloria and Don took me out for a special birthday breakfast and then dropped me off for R&R at Anne and Peter Riseborough's in Kew.  I have been recouperating at their house on an annual basis for 16 years now...and it is a delight.

They live in a marvelous old house and it is in a continuous state of renovation..There is a fold-out couch there with my name on it and this year they sprung for a new mattress!! I have watched their children Claire and Tom grow up and their marvelous little dog Ralph (who is mortalized in my book Art and Inspirations) was one of my dearest little dog friends.  We lost Ralph two years ago and i must admit I stil expect to see him..but the new dogs Bomber and Fletcher will have to do and they are lovely dogs but not of Ralphie caliber.

After a few days of a zombie like condition..I was able to go down the the Silk Works on High Street in Kew to buy my annual supply of silk and dyes. I then found the energy to play in the back yard with Annie, making silk paper and generally having a good time.  We make the silk paper from silk batts which are hand dyed by Jacinta Leishman who owns a marvelous thread company called Spiral Dyed Fabrics and Threads.
She dyes marvelous colour ranges in twelve ply, boucle, chenile, thin, medium and thick noil...all silk and the variegates are marvelous... She has a web sight which is I am completly in love with her threads and cannot get enough of them.

Annie and I had a wonderful day in the city and went to several small boutiques which featured one of a kind art to wear.  Then we went to the National Gallery to see a shoe and hat exhibition which was wonderful. After a browse through the Australian Craft shop we went to an amazing photography show sponsored by M.I.L.K. (Moments of Intimacy Laughter and Kinship),  a New Zealand Group who sponsored an International photography competion which featured Love, Friendship and Family .  I had purchased the three volumes at a Kew Bookstore earlier in the week so imagine the delight in seeing them in their original size and laid out along the Yarra River.  It is such a moving show and should be compulsory for everyone!! Watch for it to come to you area. (see photo of us at the show)

On the week end of the 22nd. I taught at theComplete Stitchery in Diamond Creek.  Denise and Marie are the owners and this is my third year there.  Thanks to Annie's Stitch and Bitch group the classes were full and we had a lot of fun.  This group of girls are all talented needleworkers and they had fun making the sea garden pouches.  They meet every Monday evening at Annie's and have a lot of fun.

Well goodbye for now..I must finish this as I have to be up bright and early for classes in the morning....Love Judith

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