Thursday 24 July 2014

Livng rurally and art quilting

I love my home and I love where I live.  
It is paradise on earth.  

I am so lucky to be able to look out of my window each morning at such an amazing landscape and beauty.  It is such a peaceful and quiet place and an amazing community.  I really feel very relaxed and so refreshed when I am at home. (who wouldn't :)  ) It is so inspiring to be able to create art here.

View from a 30 second walk along the road

But I have found some challenges being an artist living rurally that I have had to find some creative ways to overcome.  There are many things that are wonderful but a few things that make life a little hard.  

View from behind my studio


  • Living a long way away from  areas where art/quilting show are held.  The one that was 30 mins away has now been stopped.
  • Only having basic art shops close by which sell only  paintbrushes, one type of textile paint and one 'selection' of paper for drawing, water colour, acrylic and oils.  No good quality sketchbooks at all.
  • Only having one quilting shop which only sells supplies for traditional quilting only.
  • All the good teachers/lecturers seem to only go to big cities to teach
  • Living in a small area of a small county don't provide many opportunities for sales or teaching.  
  • Being isolated from other artists.This makes meeting other artists a wee bit more challenging and is makes open studio days harder to organise.
  • A small library with limited resources and it costs per book
  • Limited and expensive broadband

How to overcome these challenges?

With a little thought, work and effort all of these things can be overcome.  I have had to change my way of thinking.

'Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines'
Robert H. Schuller

  • The internet is a wonderful resource for supplies,  contacting people, being able to access classes,  joining a group,  discussing relevant information on forums and to be able to access books and articles.  Budget your broadband as you would money and search before you download.  
  • Books are great teachers.  I have a sister who borrows books and lets me have a read before they go back to the library or we discuss them on the phone. Buy books through book depository or other on-line book shops.  It is so much cheaper without the postage :)  Try swapping books with other family members and other arty folk or local art groups.
  • DVDs are a great educational tool. You can order them and watch them from the comfort of your home and watch them and re watch them to your hearts content.
  • Ordering supplies by mail or though someone you know and visits regularly.  I have a sister who happily gets things for me and brings them down when she can.
  • Car pooling with others to attend classes and booking as a group saves on costs and petrol.  
  • I choose only one class to attend each year or every second year to keep down costs and huge time commitments.  At the moment I am saving for Hollis Chatelain's 10 year class that are starting in Auckland in 2016. (I am so excited) 
  • Learn to do things different ways.  Try to adapt tools and medium you can get hold of and learnt how to use them in non traditional ways. 
  • Experiment with what you have.  By playing with what tools and mediums that you can access you can learn to make do with what you have.  
  • Using scraps of fabrics, left over paint, recycled materials and materials used for other purposes.  Not only is this good for the environment and the back pocket but it also is great if you don't live near specialist shops.  
  • Buy second hand.  My fabric for my quilts are sheets from second hand stores, I also get other material, books and magazines second hand. 
  • Use non traditional stores for supplies.  I.E  white cotton sheets to paint on, make yoru own stencils from OHP transparencies, make your own stamps from erasers, Sharpies to draw on fabric etc.

By creatively thinking, living away from cities doesn't have include a drought of supplies or ideas


  1. I can very much identify with this post as I too live in a remote rural area. The Internet is such a wonderful resource in so many different ways: shopping, both buying and selling, tuition, interaction, inspiration. I love that you use recycled items to create your beautiful art quilts.


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