As promised here is the article on the BATB convention held from 14th – 21st April in Adelaide, Australia. Beating Around The Bush is a bi-annual convention hosted by Country Bumpkin, who are the publishers of Inspiratons magazine and many of the familiar books we have on our bookshelves including the A-Z series. You can find more information here:
Country Bumpkin headquarters and shop are located in the beautiful city of Adelaide in South Australia.
Attending this event as a teacher was one of those pivotal moments in life. I was nervous to meet all those international embroidery tutors I had only heard or read about but also excited at the prospect of being a part of such a premiere event. It was wonderful to meet these teachers, exchange ideas and find that we were all just ‘normal’ people with common ground. (depends what you mean by normal!) The convention was held at Immanuel College in Adelaide – what a wonderful venue with its beautifully kept grounds, large airy classrooms the +/- 300 delegates felt right at home.
I was in my element with the modern facilities in each classroom such as smartboards, projectors and whiteboards – connecting 22 lights to powerpoints was a challenge but with the help of the trusty BATB team we managed to get it all together. Here is a picture of my class diligently at work (but believe me there was plenty of laughter and chatting going on in between!).
I taught 3 classes – a one day and 2 x two day classes and had students from New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, USA and UK. They were such lovely people, enthusiastic, helpful and appreciative and all managed to almost complete their projects in the alloted time which was wonderful. A few students even managed to complete their whole bird project by lunchtime of the second day which was incredible. Many of you have emailed asking for kits of the splendid fairy wren, unfortunately they were sold out at the convention but the good news is that Inspirations magazine will be publishing the project in the near future.
The organisation was incredible – the team of Country Bumpkin staff were always on hand to help and deserve a standing ovation for the amount of work and preparation that went on behind the scenes to make this event a happy, fun and productive time for everyone. The team wore bright pink polo shirts so they could be easily recognised – could not help asking how many shirts they had and was told they had one each so had to wash it every night! Below (left to right) is Laur Equizi -General Manager, Sally Bradshaw – BATB co-ordinator and Fiona Fagan the new director of Country Bumpkin.
A mini Country Bumpkin shop was located opposite the classrooms in the courtyard which meant easy access for students at tea and break time and was a frenzy of activity!
Tea and lunch was provided by outside caterers in the courtyard, which comprised tea, coffee, cake, a choice of sandwiches or wraps, even vegetarian options etc. We were royally fed and I think mention was made about +/- 4000 teabags being consumed over the 5 day period!
The tutors and students were accomodated in different venues according to budget – some of the students stayed on site at the College in boarding facilities and were locked in by the staff every night. (I presume this was to stop them bunking out or getting up to nonsense?). Others stayed in nearby apartments and hotels. Manyof the tutors, including myself were accomodated at the 5 star Stamford Grand hotel which was wonderful – I think longingly back on those buffet breakfasts and wish I had taken advantage of them at the time!
We were transported by coach to the event every day and this was a great time to mingle and catch up with others.
On the Wednesday everone got the day off to attend the Stitchers Market day and then a tour of Adelaide in the afternoon. THe market day was packed with vendors from all over the country and was such a treat to have the opportunity to browse and fill our shopping trolleys with such a variety of stitching goodies. At this point I was becoming very conscious of weight in my suitcase so had to hold back a bit!
Every night saw some form of entertainment, from the Quiz night where Hazel Blomkamp was master of ceremonies and lost her voice (say no more?), to the Ausise barbeque, open shop and finally on the last night the grand gala dinner. The dinner was the culmination of a wonderful week’s experience and everyone who attended was treated to such an interesting talk by Jenny Aiden Christie of the Royal School Of Needlework who was able to give us some inside info into the workings of Kate Middleton’s bridal dress.
Many people stood up at the dinner and expressed their thanks to Country Bumpkin for such a wonderful week, a great time was had by all and all I can say is start saving for 2014 ladies this is something you should attend at least once in your lifetime!
Wherever you are hope its a happy and productive week with lots of stitching. Trish