Friday, March 30, 2012

Sew…BIRTH? My first one day quilt workshop presented by The Art of Mindful Birthing

I'm just thrilled to announce that GeorGina Kelly from The Art of Mindful Birthing is presenting my very first quilt workshop! It's a combination that makes my heart sing - quiltmaking and women's relationship to birth.


A one day workshop
with Melissa Fox and GeorGina Kelly

Date: Sunday 22nd April Place: Piece Together
Time: 9am-4.30pm 33a Logan Rd, Woolloongabba

Cost: $140

The facilitators:

Melissa Fox is a mother of two daughters and maternity consumer representative on government and hospital committees. She has immersed herself in quiltmaking over the past three years.
GeorGina Kelly is a trained midwife and mother of 3 children. She has been working for 17 years supporting women as they embrace the transformative power of their pregnancy, birthing, and mothering experience.

The inspiration…

GeorGina and I are passionate about birth and it’s potential to be a transformative experience for women. We have both worked to support women to have an empowered, informed transition to motherhood, GeorGina as a midwife and myself as a consumer advocate with Maternity Coalition.

Having experienced a disappointing first birth, I felt the need to explore why it unfolded the way it did, process my fears around birth and cultivate a belief in my body’s ability to birth. Twice I completed GeorGina’s Art of Mindful Birthing course, once when trying to conceive our second child and again when I was pregnant and preparing to birth her. Along with our wonderful midwife, I was blessed to have GeorGina present at our second daughter’s birth at home, and I birthed her in exactly the same position in the birth pool as I had visualised it in a drawing in GeorGina’s course.

As I've mentioned in my previous blog post, recently we discovered the story of a mother in the United States called Renee Hoffman who experienced a traumatic caesarean in 2010. Renee created the piece below called "Caesarean Quilt". She and her husband brainstormed hundreds of negative and positive words to reflect how they felt about their disempowering, disappointing first birth experience. Renee stitched these onto red pieces of fabric which she quilted down.

Cesarean Quilt by Renee Hoffman, USA
(To read more about this powerful process and piece, go to Renee’s own blog and read her interview on the International Museum of Women's website.)

Earlier this month Renee and her husband were planning to birth to their second baby at home. In the lead up, she created these stunning red mini quilts, you can read about them on her her blog here:

Aurelia Jean was born on the 12 March, in an empowered VBAC at home after 36 hours of unmedicated labour! Renee said: “The whole at (a friend's) home birth experience was amazing for both me and my husband. My midwife and her apprentices acted as guardian angels throughout my labor--in the background, encouraging, but let my husband and I move and labor in the best way for us”.

Congratulations to Renee and her family! You can see more gorgeous photographs here (shared with Renee’s permission).

I was deeply moved by how creating their Caesarean Quilt assisted Renee and her husband to process the birth of their first child and work towards a place of healing. Inspired, I created some small art quilts for women I knew journeying with cancer. I found it very meaningful to mindfully stitch intentions of healing, love, community and acceptance into these pieces.

I wanted to help women access the healing around birth that was apparent in Renee and her husband's quiltmaking process and the power of intention I experienced in making the art quilts below.

Who the workshop is for…

This workshop is for ALL women. It is an opportunity to explore how we feel about birth. For some, it will be an expression of celebration around birth. Some may be healing from a past birth or postnatal experience, and those facing fears and preparing for an empowered birth. Others may be experiencing difficulties in conceiving a much wanted baby or grieving from the loss of their baby in pregnancy or labour. Others may be midwives or birthworkers who wish to explore their relationship to birth.

Safe space…

It is important to me to present this workshop in partnership with someone who can assist in providing an emotionally safe space for women as you explore potentially vulnerable parts of yourselves. GeorGina is particularly skilled and experienced at creating this in a compassionate way. She will guide participants through a process using mindfulness and art to bring awareness to the emotions, ideas, images, words and beliefs each of us hold about birth. This will form the basis for each participant’s quilt.

Importantly, GeorGina is available to provide ongoing support to women upon completion of the workshop, if issues arise for you.

No experience required…

This workshop is open to all women regardless of your sewing ability – whether you make your clothes for your children or haven’t touched a sewing machine since Home Ec at high school!

Making a quilt has been compared to birth. I believe both are journeys that benefit from preparation, support, creativity, curiosity, openness, persistence and acceptance. And both can create connection to something greater than ourselves, growth, connection and celebration! I will be honoured to midwife you through each step of the creative process.

Workshop includes…

• Art materials
• Sewing machine hire (very basic Janome model, used in schools and regarded as “unbreakable”. If you would prefer to use your own sewing machine contact me).
• Cutting mats, rulers, rotary cutters, scissors, tape measures, irons, ironing boards and associated equipment for sewing for each participant.
• Quilt materials including quilt “canvases” (pre-made A4-sized quilts made up of backing, batting, heavy weight interfacing and a plain fabric on top), wide array of fabric, fusible webbing, threads (regular cotton & thick variegated threads), embroidery threads, fabric pens, Shiva Paintstiks, pre-made hanging sleeves & dowel to be able to hang your quilt.
• Teas, coffee & water
• Nuts & dried fruit


Piece Together is a local business that offers workshops, sewing classes and sell local handmade and vintage items. We have hired their gorgeous workshop space and equipment for you to use.

Upstairs, 33a Logan Rd, (Antiques Precinct), Woolloongabba

There are no events being held at the Gabba on the day of our workshop. Parking is available out the back of the building or on the street (unmetred on weekends). BCC buses service the area (ph Transinfo 131230).

Please bring…

* Morning tea to share
* Lunch just for yourself (or you can buy it nearby at Pearl Café or Across Town. There is an ATM up the street).
* Extra snacks if pregnant and needing regular nourishment.
* Cushion/s (if you think you will need it – we will be spending some time as a group in arm chairs or on the floor).
* Notebook/diary & pen.

Optional for you to bring…
* Embellishments – beads, special fabrics (eg. baby clothes, wedding dress material, etc), ribbon or lace, wools, threads.

Join us...

Numbers are strictly limited. Booking will be confirmed once registration and payment is received. We will email a registration form to be completed as soon as possible, so the administration can be completed. We would appreciate payment at the latest one week before the course date (15 April). Email GeorGina at gmk at techsus dot com dot au

Looking forward to this special day with great anticipation! Hope you can join us!



  1. Fabulous! Have passed details to clients and friends x

  2. This sounds so awesome, Melissa! I'd love to see what people make in the class...

    I think you're so right about the rewards of mindful stitching. That's why I like to quilt, it's excellent for meditating.

    1. Thanks Steph! We are pretty excited!

      We will ask participants permission to share their work, anonymously if they prefer.

  3. sounds great and it's up the road from me too, will see if I can make it :-)

    1. We have a few spots left! We would love to have you join us Melinda! xx