More and more fabric loving teachers are finding ways to visit horizons on various continents, but in today's blog, Vikki lets us travel vicariously through her. She shares her experiences and provides inspirations from various cultures. Her enthusiasm and joy in her experience are contagious. Note the photo of Vikki posed in front of a Maori carving in New Zealand.
Please give a warm welcome to Vikki Pignatelli! -- Dawn
2009 has been such an exciting year for me as a teacher and a person.
My husband, Denny, and I traveled down under to New Zealand and Australia this spring. I taught a month in New Zealand and a month in Australia for a total of 22 classes. This autumn I taught for a month in glorious Ireland and a week in England and we also had the opportunity to explore Edinburgh, Scotland. On top of all these wonderful experiences, we are grandparents again for the first time in 16 years…a very long dry spell! Danny and Allison, our son and daughter-in-law, gave us a beautiful new grandson in August, Miles Parker.
We had the opportunity to visit New Grange, tombs which are older that the Pyramids in Egypt. The people living there 5000 years ago built this in such a way that once a year on the winter solstice at sunrise the rays of the sun would enter a slit built into the hillside (where the tombs were) and flood the floor of the chamber with light…just for a short time.
I found that students no matter where they reside are enthusiastic, excited to learn and eager to share everything…fabric, information and knowledge. (See samples of Aussie fabric pictured here.) In the same way quilters everywhere also share the same insecurities about their work, color choices and designs as well. We all share a common bond and I believe that is because our inspirations and creativity comes from a common Source.
One thing that I didn’t expect in Ireland…there are very, very FEW stand-alone quilt shops. Most Irish quilt shops are in an owner’s home or garage. I am not sure why…it just is that way. (See examples of Irish fabric.) They Irish quilters were also eager for books and threads, both seem to be in short supply. And I’ve also noticed that quilting books/fabric, quilting supplies (and just about everything else) are significantly more expensive overseas in all countries (that I’ve taught in) than in the USA…big time! I think this is due not only because of shipping costs from point of origin, but due to the huge VAT tax (some as much as 25%) that these governments impose (I’ve been told this pays for their health care systems). For instance, I taught in Denmark in 2008 (and will again next spring) and my book sold for the equivalent of $60 American dollars. And our usual batiks and cotton fabrics that cost $10 a yard in the USA were the equivalent to $30 USD a yard in Denmark. (Note Vikki's latest DVD based on her book.)
All in all this year we had 35 flight segments during this year (19 in NZ/Australia alone) with aircraft ranging from 747s to a 19-seater prop in NZ (We had to fly over the “Southern Alps” of NZ in that thing…the tanker filling the plane with gas was as big as it was!)
As with all things, there is a yin/yang to being a traveling teacher. I absolutely love what I do and consider myself richly blessed to be able to experience all this…my wonderful students and people I meet, the memories of the beautiful places and scenery that are emblazoned in my mind.
It’s not all glamour though...it’s not easy living out of a suitcases and airports and hauling heavy baggage. Even as I compose this blog I’m on a plane to yet another teaching engagement. (See photo of Vikki feeding the lorikeets.)
Now my traveling for the year is finished. Denny and I’ll look forward to relaxing and playing with our new grandson. Hopefully we’ll sort out the thousands (not kidding!) of photos we shot. With a little luck, I may even have the opportunity to quilt!
P.S. Vikki is planning a tour in Denmark in 2010. Check out her website for dates and other information. Please contact Vikki via her email for more information about her books, classes, lectures and workshops.