Saturday, 28 June 2014

Golowan and the Cornish diaspora

The last week in June is the Golowan festival in Penzance.  This is a revival of ancient celebrations for the patron saitn, St John the Baptist.  There is a week of events and the town is decorated with banners made in special workshops.

The week culminates in Mazey Day on the Saturday and Quay Day on the Sunday.  Mazey Day is marked by a series of processions through the town while Quay Day is based on the traditional fair for people from the surrounding villages and area.

Each year there is a theme and this year it is the Cornish Diaspora.  I find this very interesting as my maternal grandmother's family came from Penzance and emigrated to New Zealand in 1874.  In fact we live less than a mile from where they lived.  The Golowan celebrations included a small exhibition about the diaspora mounted by the Cornish Global Migration Project  Some of us contributed short summaries of our families' experiences.  I found it difficult to reduce my text to 400 words but when I visited the exhibition the piece on my family, the Sam Lukes, looked very good as they had put a photo of the family that I sent them at the top

and a photo of the house that one of my great-grandfather's brothers built as his 'gentleman's residence' in Wellington at the bottom of the article.  This house was called 'Treneere' and named after the gentleman's residence that lies between the street where the family lived and our place here.  In the mid-nineteenth century the area between our village and their street was all farmland so I assume that the children played there.  In 1939 most of the land was turned into a large council housing estate but Treneere House is still there and is now part of Penwith College.

Unfortunately no-one in my extended family has a photo of my great-grandfather's house in Wellington which was called Tregellas after the farm on the Lizard where his mother grew up.  It took me years to track this down as all anyone in my mother's generation knew was that it was named for her.  We knew she came from St Keverne which is a huge parish at the far end of the Lizard and my grandmother used to talk about The Manacles a lot but it was not until shortly after my mother died that I located the actual farm.  It is now the base of the Roskillys ice-cream firm

The exhibition had a number of individual stories like mine and displays provided by Cornish associations in many parts of the world.   There was even a photo of two Australian Lukes who are Cornish Bards.  I had not realised that Cornish pasties were such an important feature of the diiaspora but there were photos of 'pastes' in Mexico which is their version of the pasties introduced by the Cornish miners.  Between 250,000 and 500,000 people left Cornwall in the century from 1850.  New Zealand does not seem to have had as many Cornish immigrants as places like Australia and the USA but I was told 150,000 went to NZ. Most of them were miners but my family were foundry men and there were also farmers and other occupations.  There were certainly plenty of people I knew in my childhood who had Cornish surnames.  The thing that strikes me about the diaspora is that it was just like immigration to the UK from the Empire after the Second World War.  Most of the migrants were single men who remitted money back to their families here and many of them returned.  Cornish miners were considered to the best 'deep' miners in the world.

I expect a lot of the schools' in today's processions also depicted the diaspora in their displays but I have given up going to Mazey Day because it is extremely crowded and very much for families.  I will just have to look at the photos in the local newspaper next week.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Linking Facebook and my blog

A few weeks ago my two sisters persuaded me to join Facebook so that I could see various family photos.  I set up an account, invited a very few people to be friends (mainly family and old friends from New Zealand) and told every one I was not going to post on it.  Then a little later I learnt about Facebook Pages and decided that if I set one up in the name of Reensstitcher I could (a) set it up with a link that would let people know I had posted on my blog and (b) use it to post photos of some of my quilts.  I am very aware that putting photos on it means people can 'rip them off' but this afternoon I have worked out how to do upload photos and the Reensstitcher page now has an album of quilt photos.

Deciding which photos to use was an interesting exercise as I found I had worked to themes more than I realised.  I will probably open another album with some of my other work at some point.  The next problem has been locating the photos.  How I wish I was a methodical tidy person but I am not sure if this comes naturally to creative types!  I have photos everywhere - on a memory stick, on a free standing hard drive and on the computer although I moved most of them off there at the end of last year.  Now I discover that some must have vanished when I bought a new computer in 2009 as the filing system (such as it is) seems to collapse at that point and there are at least two photos I wanted to use which I am going to have to take again.  So here is Gwithian Two which you may have seen before but nowhere can I find Gwithian One.  Fortunately I still have the quilt so I will retake the photos tomorrow.  I cannot even find it on my blog although I distinctly remember taking the original photos.  The album I have set up is on the theme of the coast and the sea around Penwith.

The other task involved in setting up the Reensstitcher page has been to organise a link between it and the blog.  I have had good e-mail instruction from a fellow contemporary quilter but I am still far from certain that I have done it right.  It appears that there is now an automatic link between the blog and my main Facebook account but not between the blog and the Reensstitcher page.  Of for a handy young person to sort me out!  If you have got to this posting via Facebook chances are you are one of my Friends rather than someone who has ticked 'Like''

I have however, been glad to learn in the last twenty-four hours that I am not the only one facing these problems.  There is some interesting chat on the SAQA Yahoo group about following blogs and what widgets to have.  Interesting what happens when the older generation decides to take over the younger generation's social media and I am not surprised most young people have abandoned Facebook.  The Preview page tells me I cannot access my widget so it will be interesting to see what happens when I publish it.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

SAQA benefit auction

I have belonged to SAQA for several years but I have never entered any challenges or participated in anything other than doing a stint on the stand at the Festival of Quilts every year and attending the get-together they have there.

Then last week I suddenly realised that SAQA had extended the deadline for contributions to the annual Benefit Auction.  At the same time I realised I had several journal quilts that measured 12 ins by 12 ins. which is the size required.  I could easily live without one of these but which one?  I become hypercritical in these situations and several were rejected because they were too dull in colour or rather boring in subject matter.  In the end I had to ask my husband to help me choose, something he does not like doing as he is not artistic.  I also had to make my decision very quickly: no chance to mull it over for a couple of days as I was in danger of missing the new cut-off date.

Here is the one that I finally sent off on Monday.

Potting Shed

I still have doubts about it being rather dull in colour and in this photo the edges do not look straight (but they are!)

I made this quilt and several others on the theme of watering cans after taking part in a workshop run by Bobby Britnell at a Contemporary Quilt Summer School.  I became really enthusiastic about what we learnt which included monoprinting and a lot about shading in order to create 3D effects.  I had already learned monoprinting techniques at a printing group I used to attend but this was the first time I had used them on quilts.

Potting Shed began with monoprinting onto calico with black ink.  I cut out templates for the watering can and flower pots and used a wide toothed comb to create the vertical lines in the background.  The unique thing, though, is the use of Chromacoal to colour the 'picture'.  I seem to remember that those of us who took this workshop went and bought up almost the entire remaining stock of Chromacoal in the UK.  This had something to do with it having been discontinued because of health and safety issues but if you look at Bobby's website you will see the work where she has used it.

Having coloured the top, I put it on a stiff wadding that Bobby recommended and then free machine quilted it.  Then I had no idea what to do with it so it sat in a box with other the same size.  When I read about the Benefit Auction I realised it was a really good cause.  This is SAQA's main fund-raiser, based on donations from members.  I do not really expect this to sell but it might appeal to someone who wants a decoration on a gardening theme.  The other thing is that it has made me realise how much I like this size of quilt so I am all set to make some more, using up some of my UFOs.