Monday, 30 August 2010

FOQ - Contemporary Coffee Morning

Hmm... just found out I was nearly in a photo from the fashion show. The hands clapping in the forground here!

So anyway, after a late night at the fashion show, I woke early so I could get to the NEC for the rest of the set up for the Contemporary Coffee Morning.

Although most of us had never been to the event before, when the day actually came those had taken on a task just got down to it and did what they said they would do. What also should be noted, that most of us had only just met for the first time, the majority of the arrangements having been made online. Bernina helped to sponsor the event, but I missed out getting a photo of them at the beginning before they had to get back to the show floor.

At the event, groups of visitors rotated round the demonstrations with the assistance of very helpful "crowd control" ladies. It started off with somewhat even groups, but people continued to arrive through the morning...right up to nearly the end. Also, some of the guests had to leave early, so the size of the groups were quite different near the end, which is reflected in some of the photos.
The demonstrations included:
 Free Machine Quilting from Pauline Barnes
Painted Bondaweb from Penny Armitage
Drawing for Those Who Can't from Janet Cook
Using an Embellishing Machine from Jackie Smith
Cheat's Quilting from Sue Turner
Designing your Own Work from Your Photographs from Sandra Wyman

Because the demonstrations did not actively involve the visitors, I had imagined there would be those who would lose interest. Therefore, Chris Dixon and her helpers were prepared with a hands-on stamping/printing activity.
However, the guests were so absorbed in what was being said no one was inclined to wander. So Chris and her team busied themselves with starting the printing anyway and soon had the catering staff involved! One lady said, "I am going to go right downstairs and buy some of this stuff!"

We also had a table with sketchbooks and a few journal quilts from some of the members. Irene MacWilliams, who looked after the table, was able to help people to see how they could develop their ideas in various ways, (including NOT using sketchbooks, but little scraps of paper here and there round the house!) The sketchbook table was also helpful as a stop for guests arriving later in the morning to look while waiting for the next rotation of demos.

The responses to the morning were immediately positive. "You opened up a whole new world for me!" "Best £7 I ever spent!" But the success didn't stop there, we had people stopping us randomly the rest of the show to thank us and to say they had already joined CQ! A few of these live in countries where there are no Contemporary Quilters for them to connect with.

We had some great door prizes from well known authors and vendors. I don't know just what Hilary Gooding said to when she asked, but they were definitely not stingy in their donations!
CQ committee members receiving thanks from several satisfied guests!

Other comments... "It was the highlight of my show!" "Everyone explained things so well I actually think it is something I could do!" Someone said she had taken a 3-hour workshop in a technique the previous day, but got more out of the 15 min CQ demonstration! Comments coming through to committee members run along the lines of this one; "I'm out of my box and definitely not getting back in it no matter what."

THIS is why I am willing to organise things like this!

There were also benefits to those who participated. At least 2 of the demonstrators were asked to come to Scotland to do residential workshops for quilt groups. One demonstrator was offered a machine from Bernina to make work for their stand!

As I said in my report...Even though I was absolutely exhausted after the event, it was such a buzz to have such a smooth running event with such great results. A VERY BIG Thank you to everyone!
Here I am printing with found objects!

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