It was a week of liquid focus and fascination, flowing easily from day to day. Each morning the quilters climbed the stairs to the yoga shala where their sewing machines and tables were set up, commanding the most beautiful view of any quilting workshop. There they stayed until George beat the lali for lunch – and sometimes they’d still stay on, piecing together their pictures, stitching a line, ironing a corner, whilst their skill and creativity flowed into their quilts.
The colours were the blues and greens of the ocean and the oranges and reds of sunsets which were laid out before us every evening.
The sounds of the day were muted: the amiable murmur of quiet chat, the occasional exclamation of irritation when a mistake was discovered, the calm instruction of Gloria putting it right or demonstrating a technique.
These were not to be traditional quilts: Gloria teaches landscape art in which the quilter creates a wonderful fabric artwork. Gloria’s own quilts are masterpieces of the genre. The inspiration for the week lay outside right before their eyes.
And at the end of the week there were some glorious quilts displayed: Glenyce’s dying sun sinking behind the stark trees, Petal’s fiery sunset lighting up the palm trees, Andy’s view across the bay to the distinctive peak of an extinct volcano, and Ann’s palm tree swaying over a fading sunset.
In between there was time for exploration and swimming and snorkeling. Most memorable of all was taking Ann snorkeling: this a woman who was taking swimming lessons for the first time in her life back in Australia, and had the courage to don a life jacket, strap on a mask and snorkel, and come out into the ocean to enjoy the underwater world. I gave her a guiding hand as we floated over the corals and at the end she sat on the beach and gasped: “Brilliant!” She had been just that.