It wasn't so long ago that all girls were taught to sew at school. Once considered as essential as learning to add and subtract, school sewing classes have now gone the way of deportment lessons. Some may say we are suffering for the loss of both.
But the disappearance of institutionalised sewing has in no way diminished the creativity of our local quilters and craftspeople.
Detail from one of Jan Rowe's beautiful quilts entitled If Monet Were A Quilter, image courtesy Craft and Quilt Fair website
Returning to Perth in May is the Craft and Quilt Fair and QuiltWest combo, five days of fabric, beads, embellishments, quilting, textile art and more. So much more.
With a focus on workshops this year, the program is full of free classes, the ubiquitous pop-up class, make-and-take-classes and longer more intense classes.
The free classes are short (between 30-60 minutes) and you don't need to book, although numbers are limited. Just some of the options include: applique techniques, learning about handbags and fashion, European card-making, hand-dyeing, discovering new gadgets, machine embroidery and trends in papercraft.
Beautiful yarns and threads will be amongst the goodies for sale at the Perth Craft and Quilt Fair
Alternatively, there are classes which require you to purchase a kit (kits range between $10 and $40) which you then make during the class under the watchful eye of an expert. Kit classes include sculpting with fabric ($20), vintage Japanese silk flowers ($20), mini coin purses and keyrings ($19), beaded necklace scarves ($35) and card making ($20). Kit classes need to be booked on the day.
Running daily, there are also demonstrations every half hour on a range of craft topics including how to frame a quilt top, stipple stitching and how to make ruffles using your sewing machine.
If all this learning is making your head hurt, then you can step out of the craft fair and into the serene world of the QuiltWest exhibition. The West Australian Quilters Association began in 1976 and is believed to be the first of its type in Australia. There are now over 750 registered members.
QuiltWest is their annual exhibition and showcases the many and varied talents of these amazing men and women (yes, there are male quilters). In addition to all the state finalists in the Best of Australia display, QuiltWest showcases the best artists this state has to offer.
And just in case you think that quilts are simply patchwork squares or fuddy-duddy flowers, you will be stunned by the contemporary nature of the work on display. In fact, there is even a new category on display this year: modern quilts.
Modern and contemporary quilts feature heavily at the QuiltWest expo
This year's feature artist is Jan Rowe, an award-winning local quilter who did learn to sew at school, but who has refined her art over the years drawing inspiration from her travels abroad and her keen eye for detail in nature.
With prizes galore, more shopping than you can poke a stick at (don't worry, they have a package minding service) and a Kids Korner where you can leave the kids to learn about designing their own (paper) quilt, the Craft and Quilt Fair will leave the crafty and wannabe-crafty in a happy quivering heap.