My framed landscape of a Zanzibar beach has been featured in the April 2015 issue of British Patchwork & Quilting magazine.
I love the close-up photography they have done!
I've made a limited number of these landscapes in different colours and they are for sale. Do contact me if you are interested in buying one!
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of The Quilter magazine. I've had a number of requests from tutors for an internet link to the article, so I'm going to post it here. I hope it helps people to understand just what is entailed in being a speaker and/or teacher. Comments more than welcome!
©2015 by Linda Seward
I have been giving talks to quilt groups for many years. Generally, I have met wonderful, enthusiastic people and been given a warm and appreciative reception. But not always. In 2003 I wrote what has since become a notorious article entitled Let’s Put the ‘Guest’ Back into ‘Speaker’, where I gave some suggestions about how to treat the person coming to talk to your group. I’ve just re-read it, and it is still relevant today, so perhaps my editor may wish to re-run it in a future issue for those of you who weren’t members of the Guild in 2003. Anyway, there has been a lot of chat lately on social media about prices that speakers/teachers (henceforth referred to as tutors for brevity) are charging for talks and workshops, and I have been asked to bring up the subject in an effort to clear up a few mysteries surrounding pricing and the hiring and/or cancellation of outside tutors.
Let’s talk about pricing first. The days when we can expect to pay someone a small fee for coming to speak to a group are over. Those who are just starting out might charge less just to get experience, but if a group wants a professional who is going to provide a stimulating talk and/or workshop, it needs to pay for it. Consider the amount of work that goes into giving just a one hour talk: The presentation must be written, checked and rehearsed to ensure that everything works and makes sense. If actual quilts are to be shown, they must be packed carefully so they aren’t damaged. Items for sale must be gathered and packaged. The venue needs to be located. Time must be allowed for travel and setting up, so even a one hour talk means carving out a window of at least 3-4 hours, often more, depending on traffic or train times and distance. I spend 6-8 hours preparing for and travelling to every one-hour talk—that is the equivalent of a full working day. So when a price for a talk is given and rejected because it is too high, groups must realize that they are not merely paying for one hour but also for time and experience. The same goes for workshops. (And it is particularly humiliating to be queried about a fee when already at the venue, which happens all too often.)
Those who are in charge of booking tutors for talks and/or workshops know that they need to operate about a year in advance to secure the person and date that they want. It is then up to the group to ensure that the lecture is well attended and the workshop is filled through publicising the event and encouraging members to take part. Again this needs to be done well in advance, as we are all busy these days and schedules fill up before we know it. However, it is not unknown for groups unable to fill a workshop to cancel with little notice. Tutors depend on the income from the classes they have fitted into their schedule. If that is suddenly taken away at short notice, that slot will be nearly impossible to fill, with a substantial loss of income. Because this has become such a problem, some tutors are asking groups to sign a contract when they are hired. This binds the tutor to the job, but more importantly, protects the tutor from financial loss due to cancellation. I encourage tutors and groups to use contracts—this is in everyone’s interest.
In order to get the cheapest rate on travel fares, tutors often need to book months in advance, in which case, it seems only fair that the group pre-pay the fare. Then, if the class is cancelled, the tutor is not out of pocket. And, of course, mileage should always be paid if a tutor is driving; the standard rate for mileage is now 45p per mile, which can add up if the tutor is driving a long distance. Tutors realise that this is a big additional cost, which is why many prefer to combine several talks and workshops in one trip, spreading the cost around. This makes sense, but it also puts the tutor in an even worse bind if someone cancels in the middle of the tour. Some tutors supply kits for their workshops, which entails a significant outlay of both time and money. If the workshop is then cancelled or numbers are low, the tutor is seriously out of pocket.
I haven’t even gone into what it feels like personally to get a cancellation or speak at a poorly attended talk. It can be really depressing and humiliating. Of course, the shoe is sometimes on the other foot and some tutors cancel at the last minute or just forget to show up. I have been known to get up and talk at some meetings when the speaker hasn’t turned up! Thankfully, this happens rarely.
I don’t want this to turn into an ungracious rant because most of the time, groups are lovely and treat their tutors beautifully. But it’s in everyone’s interest to p(l)ay fair when it comes to hiring tutors so that everyone is happy.
Please note the change of dates. The gallery will be on from Thursday March 19th through Saturday March 21st. I am hoping to be there much of the time, but won't be there personally on Saturday morning. The address is at the bottom of this post.
Here is another piece that I made for my gallery at Lady Sew and Sew in Henley-on-Thames.
It's called Zanzibar Boat 1, and is 12" wide by 8" high. Here is a detail:
It is one of a series of photos that I took in Zanzibar. I printed the photos on canvas, then embellished them with hand and machine embroidery, couched threads, beads, pearls and seashells.
No two are alike!
I hope you'll stop into the gallery at Lady Sew and Sew's warehouse on Farm Road in Henley-on-Thames RG9 1EJ next week, from Wednesday the 18th through Saturday the 21st of March.
I will be setting up a gallery at the Lady Sew and Sew Warehouse in Henley-on-Thames. It will be open from Thursday March 19th through Saturday March 21st.
Here is one of the pieces I made to sell in the gallery. It's called Zanzibar Beach 1, and it is 15 1/2" wide x 13 1/2" high.
Here are two details.
The image is my own photo printed on canvas. I have embellished it with hand and machine embroidery, couched textured yarns, beads, pearls and seashells. It is wrapped around a wooden frame.
The gallery will feature many of my quilts, both old and new, traditional and contemporary. I will be there from Thursday to Saturday to answer questions and help with any problems you might have with your quilting, so do bring along your own work. I'd love to see it!
Also, I am giving a talk about my new book on Thursday evening, March 19th at 7:30pm.
If you wish to book a ticket, go to the Lady Sew and Sew website, warehouse events. Here is a link:
I am delighted with the article Anne Williams wrote about me in the February issue of Popular Patchwork. See page 26 for the article. Very pleased!
I had a lovely time on Monday night giving a talk to the London Quilters, my favourite group, bar none!
Here are just two photos taken by Dr. Deborah Gubler, our house-guest for a month, to show what it was like after the talk was over.
It was really just like having a conversation with old friends and I enjoyed it very much. Thanks for asking me, LQ!
If you copy this link into your browser,
you will be able to watch an internet TV show that talks about some of my new pieces and the people I worked with when writing my new book. You'll also be taken on a tour of my workroom. I hope you enjoy it!
A few months ago I was interviewed by Patchwork Professional magazine to celebrate the publication of my new book. I just received the magazine today. Here is the article, but you'll have to read German in order to understand it!
I was surprised and thrilled to be contacted by Virginia Oglesbee through this website. She told me that she had a copy of my book, Christmas Patchwork Projects, originally published in 1986 by Sterling Publishers. Here is the Christmas quilt I made to feature in that book (with Jack posing proudly in front of it).
Virginia told me that two of her friends had made quilts using the patterns in my book, and I asked her to send some photos. This gorgeous quilt was made by Fran Szabo.
And here is Fran in the photo below. Fran hand quilted the whole quilt and embellished some of the blocks with embroidery. The dog is black, as they have a black Labrador. She personalized the quilt in many other ways too. It hangs in her living room at Christmas time and if you drive past her house, you can see it from the street. I love the extra narrow green border she added and the poinsettia basket, which wasn't included in my quilt.
The next one is by Catherine Lewis. Her quilt guild had a friendship quilt block exchange and she chose my patterns and supplied the fabrics for the blocks with instructions for completion, so in essence, this one is a group effort. She said she wished she had put the names of the makers on the blocks. Catherine told me, "My quilt was made about 1990 and was a friendship exchange. Various members of our quilt guild made blocks for me when it was my turn with fabric I provided. I was a novice quilter and borrowed your book from a friend who helped me plan the quilt. I had it machine quilted so that I could have it done in time for Christmas."
I am looking at my own quilt as I type this, and am so pleased to see that these ladies did exactly what I had hoped quilters would do when they bought my book: choose their favourite designs and interpret them in their own fabrics and colours rather than copying exactly what I had done. This makes the quilts uniquely their own. I am bursting with pride to see these wonderful pieces. If anyone else has made a Christmas quilt or any other project using my book, please contact me! I'd love to see it.
Oh, and Virginia tells me: "So now I guess I am going to have to make one also as I have acquired the book (on eBay). Maybe we will start a Christmas quilt revival!" Thanks, Virginia, and I look forward to seeing YOUR quilt!