A Weekend in the Life of a Quilt and Bag Designer and Teacher
With a son and daughter-in-law living in Ottawa, I often find myself travelling with my husband Rob to that area. It's about 6 1/2 hours by car from our place in Strathroy, Ontario to the nation's capital. Paul and Leah live in Nepean, a city which amalgamated with Ottawa in 2001. They live in a comfortable 1970's bungalow and have been married since 2013.
While there, I usually fit in a teaching session at one of the nearby quilting shops. This past weekend I had the opportunity to present my slide and trunk show presentation 'Quilting in China' as well as teaching a day class for the Essentials Tote.
A chat with a fellow designer
Prior to those two events I had a chance to sit down with fellow designer Michele Foster of Mishka's Playground at Paul's kitchen table, to discuss building her business. We both belong to an online business group, so have chatted online for a little while. Michele, who has a thriving PDF quilt pattern business, is interested in cracking the hard copy pattern market, and I was keen on hearing her take on the sale of downloadable patterns. Stuff like this is the background business chatter that bounces around my brain at night. It's always nice to meet somebody in person with the same bizarre interests!
The shop that I had the opportunity to visit is called Quilty Pleasures and is located at 2211 St. Joseph Blvd. in Orleans, Ontario. Orleans is a town of about 107,000 souls situated along the Ottawa River and is a bustling suburb of Ottawa located just 10 miles from downtown. Orleans has a sizable French speaking population, which is evident at Quilty Pleasures Quilt Shop, where many of the staff and customers are bilingual.
Friday night trunk show
Friday night was trunk show night and I had a leisurely 2 hours to do my presentation and let the audience examine my bags and quilts. Every seat was sold with a $15 admission fee. My husband later bragged to my son and his wife that people paid more to hear me speak than they paid to watch Star Wars at the theatre - he's such a clown!
La Quilting Coach
After the trunk show I was pleased to meet and speak with attendee Marie-Claire Charette. In her former life Marie-Claire spent 32 years as a leadership coach. Her business, La Quilting Coach, has become an extension of her former experience, but now she gets to have fun connecting with other quilters. Marie-Claire is one of those gals who is engaged and engaging in every sense of the word.
I had earlier marveled at a shop sample of the Urban Computer Satchel and discovered that Marie-Claire had sewn it and would be teaching the class later in February. I am honoured to have such a splendid teacher sharing my work.
My Essentials Tote class on Saturday was very special as well. One of the students, Jacinth Ferron, brought along her service dog, Picot.
Picot had his own dog quilt which he rested upon during class. When needed he could pick up things that had dropped on the floor and even pull Jacinth around in her wheelchair. She demonstrated this after I asked if her husband had to walk Picot or if she could manage it herself. It was a real pleasure to have met this dynamic pair.
My students produced some lovely bags. Most were just about done with the sewing by the end of the day and were extremely excited to have accomplished so much. It's always fun for me to share in this good feeling at the end of a fun day.
Because the Essential Tote class could have sold out 2 1/2 times, we've been asked to visit Ottawa again this spring to hold two additional classes. I look forward to seeing all of my new friends again this May!