Glorious colour awaited us in Cuba Street for this year’s final local gallery tour.  At {Suite} owner and director David Alsop took us upstairs and introduced us to artist Emily Hartley-Skudder. Recently returning to New Zealand after 18 months in Brooklyn New York, Emily continues her fascination with brightly coloured trinkets found in second-hand shops and garage sales. Choosing from this eclectic collection she arranges still lifes which are then photographed and eventually translated into intriguing oil paintings, such as the enigmatic night scenes on display.

After a coffee break we moved next door to Minerva, a specialist bookshop and gallery dedicated to textiles. Against a colourful background of books and skeins of embroidery thread, owner Anne Scott, who is herself a textile artist and publisher, told us about the development of quilting. She illustrated her fascinating talk with examples from her personal collection of historic quilts from this country and overseas as well as her own creations. We also learned about the various stitching techniques and designs used over the centuries. To enhance our understanding, Anne gave each of us a copy of her article Made in New Zealand 11 ‘Myth, Comfort and disComfort’ from the January 2010 issue of New Zealand Quilter.  Published to accompany a collection of New Zealand quilts selected for presentation overseas, the book illustrates how quilts can draw on memories to reflect our sense of identity.

Feature image: Far right, David Alsop and center, Emily Hartley-Skudder with Friends