On Monday 4 July Epping Group was delighted and privileged to have Liz Gemmell join us and hear her speak of her career in knitting and design. She radiated ideas all through the morning and brought us beautiful examples of some of her work. It was a joy to have her encourage us with the advice that everyone has their own talent and should develop it. Look at what others have done and adapt to your own ideas - think "how do I want to use it?". Leave your yarns and works in progress out where you can see them and be inspired each time you pass by. A tidy house is never a creative house! And remember a computer is only a tool.
She answered questions, borrowed knitting to demonstrate, and told us a little of her history: arriving in 1949 from the Ukraine at the age of four, her family was and is very close, and they are currently facing the heartbreak of her father suffering from Alzheimers' Disease, to the point where he now needs full time care. On train journeys to visit him, knitting helps keep her calm and she showed us a beautiful example of a neckpiece in hyperbolic knitting made on one of these journeys, which Margot was delighted to model.
She teaches these days at the University of Technology Sydney and generously told us she learns from her students as she teaches, especially variations in knitting techniques as her students get inventive as they learn. She suggested pins with knobs are "corridors with no windows or doors" and are too restrictive. As she spoke throughout the morning she used her hands so effectively and with such lightening speed it was almost impossible to capture her on camera but one moment could be recorded: as she talked she frequently drew on the whiteboard. There is a well-known story of a man who met the artist Picasso on a beach without recognising him. Picasso drew a picture in the sand to illustrate a point and walked on. Just as the man realised whom he had been talking to, a wave came in and washed away the marks. Not so for Liz when she visited us at Epping last Monday.
Let us hope her students at UTS understand just how lucky they are.