Making Zen Online Retreat (2024)

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The next Making Zen Online Retreat is 27 – 31 May 2024.

In the lead up to the Making Zen Online Retreat, you’ll hear the latest Retreat news from Kate Ward and we’ll hear from Youngmin Lee, Trixie Symonds and Betz White.

Here’s the link to sign up for the May Retreat.

Below are previous podcasts for 6 textile artists who presenting at previous Making Zen Online Retreats. I’m thrilled that they’re back again for the coming Making Zen Online Retreat.

Ellie Beck

Jayne Emerson

Liz Haywood

Liz Kettle

Mijam Gielen

Selina Ben

Podcast from September 2023 Making Zen Online Retreat are below

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Arounna Khounnoraj

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Tuesday 19 September: Simple things from your home are what Arounna Khounnoraj will use at her workshop at the Making Zen Online Retreat .

“Dye, Stitch and Sew”
In this workshop you will learn how to create an image by painting a binder on cloth and then dyeing using organic material from your kitchen.

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In addition we will stitch around the design and sew the cloth into a pouch to hold your sewing notions and tools.”

Arounna Khounnoraj is a Canadian multi-disciplinary artist, teacher and author. Arounna immigrated with her family to Canada from Laos as a child. She studied at the Ontario College of Art and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and has a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo.

Bianca Springer

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Tuesday 12 September 2023: Bianca Springer used the 2 times in her life when she was in recovery to develop embroidery designs to reflect her culture for all to share.

Her story and stories are reflected in her book and you’ll learn from her at the next Making Zen Online Retreat.

Good Hair Day! is her workshop. You’ll be adding 3D hair details and textures to your favorite people centred fabric.

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Finished projects can be integrated into hooped art, on bags, as jewelry, garments and fun accessories.

Bianca Springer has a vision: to create culturally relevant work that encourages others to make art a meaningful part of their own lives. She didn’t see people who looked like her in the maker world. With a knack for incorporating upcycled and unusual materials, Bianca’s work is bold, bright and diverse. Among other creative pursuits, Bianca designs embroidery patterns that reflect real people – with all of their beautiful variations.

Deborah Fisher

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Tuesday 4 September 2023: You’ll find Deborah Fisher at the next Making Zen Online Retreat.

Deborah showcases her textile are and ceramics on her website Fish Museum and Circus.

She designs handmadethingsandobjects. As Deborah says ‘I am the docent and ring master of this crazy mixed up cabinet of curiosities. I am the circus juggler and the museum curator. Mostly you will find things of a sewing, textile, and ceramic nature.”

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At the next Making Zen Online Retreat you’ll learn to make lovely little felt boxes that are perfect for giving as gifts on their own or to hold a tiny treasure. These gems can be personalized with a variety of embroidery and embellishments.

Deborah Fisher is an object and pattern designer, and lifelong maker of handmade things. She is the circus juggler and museum curator behind Fish Museum and Circus, an online shop specializing in charming miscellany for the sewing room, maker’s studio, and the creative home, including her highly sought after ceramic and wool pincushions.

Deborah has designed sewing patterns for a variety of magazines, and is the author of the books Sew Fun, Quilt Giving, and Sewing Simple Softies (with Trixi Symonds). She is the founder and director of both the Bright Hopes Collaborative Quilt Project, a community quilt organization, and Bo Twal, an international doll project.

Deborah is very fond of hot cocoa and daffodils. She lives on Long Island with her family and way too many animals.

Visitwww.fishmuseumandcircus.comto learn more about her art and craft.

Melissa Galbraith

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Tuesday 29 August 2023: Melissa Galbraith of MCreativeJ talks about how she went back to embroidery and as at last year, this is now her full time job. You’ll hear how Melissa decided to make this shift in her life and career.

Melissa tells us how she values the use of therapy to manage the adjustment from being an employee to being a small business owner.

At the Making Zen Online Retreat on 25 to 29 September, Melissa’s workshop is called ‘Upcycle Your Clothing with Embroidered Flower Pockets.’

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This workshop will give you a taste of what Melissa’s workshops are all about, while upcycling your own clothes.

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Have a closer look at Melissa’s website to see how she is now living her embroidery joy and sharing this with many people who need that craft that gives them satisfaction.

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Melissa is one of 20 textile artists you’ll learn from and enjoy at the Making Zen Online Retreat, organised by Kate Ward of Zen Stitching.

Melissa is a member ofJOIN Designand theSociety for Embroidered Work. Her work has been recognized by theWoodlawn Needlework Exhibition.Melissa’s work has been featured invarious publicationsboth print and online.

25 – 29 September 2023 Making Zen Online Retreat

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Who’s on the podcast for this retreat?

Kate Ward – founder of Making Zen Online Retreat and owner of Zen Stitching.

Arounna Khounnoraj, Deborah Fisher, Bianca Springer and Melissa Galbraith

You’ll hear from each textile artist in the lead up to the next Making Zen Online Retreat.

Kate Ward

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Tuesday 22 August 2023: You’ll hear the joy from Kate as she launches the next Making Zen Online Retreat.

15 – 19 May 2023 Making Zen Online Retreat

Mirjam Gielen

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15 May 2023: Mirjam provides her backstory so you can find out what you’ll experience in her workshop at Making Zen Online Retreat.

Mirjam learnt all her crafts from the women in her family. At the age of 3, Mirjam had a needle in her hands to sew. Her textiles specialty is organic embroidery.

Last Making Zen, Mirjam ran a workshop about the honeycomb stitch – a variation on the blanket stitch. This time her workshop is about the stacked running stitch.

You’ll hear how Mirjam has loved being a participant in the October 2022 Making Zen Online Retreat.

Go to Mirjam’s Instagram account to find her wealth of information and workshops.

Liz Kettle

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9 May 2023: Liz Kettle developed the ‘stitch meditation process’ through a personal need she had.

You’ll hear from Liz how following the process fuels your creativity.

We’re human beings, not human doings. You’ll hear what Liz means with this phrase.

You can catch Liz’s workshop at the Making Zen Online Retreat this month.

Liz Haywood

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Tuesday 2 May 2023: Liz Haywood is running a workshop to create closures that are compostable and/or use resources you have where you live at the Making Zen Online Retreat from 15 to 19 May.

Liz is a local Australian who authored Zero Waste Sewing and The Dressmaker’s Companion Liz also talks about her latest A Year of Zero Waste Sewing ezines.

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You can find Liz’s website at The Craft of Clothes – a sewing and fashion blog (

Her Instagram account isThe Craft of Clothes – a sewing and fashion blog (

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Jayne Emerson

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Tuesday 25 April 2023: Jayne will be running a workshop that focuses on play with textiles at the Making Zen Online Retreat from 15 to 19 May.

Jayne completed a B tech in fashion design, then completed a multi media textiles degree and finally completed a Masters at Central St Martins. She also has an MA in Print.

Sustainability plays a big role in her textiles work as does the element of play in her workshops.

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Jayne’s workshop will help you ‘be in the moment’ and not think about the end product.

Members of the ‘no rules textiles society’ will know exactly what Jayne’s work is all about.

Make sure you hit the links to Jayne’s Instagram account and her website to have a closer look at the depth of her work and workshops. She’s a great talent.

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Make sure you watch Jayne’s at the Making Zen Online Retreat this month.

Meredith Woolnough

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Tuesday 18 April 2023: Meredith is back to run another great workshop at Making Zen Online Retreat.

In the previous workshop Meredith ran at Making Zen, participants used her freeform sewing machine technique for a way to use threads and water soluble fabric. This year, Meredith will share her preparation process with participants.

Meredith began her work during her Fine Arts degree in 2006 and participants will take away another skill to use on their own projects from the latest Making Zen Online Retreat.

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Her focus on free hand embroidery on water soluble fabric is what motivates her creativity and is another skill you can explore to add from this latest retreat. She has a degree in Natural History Illustration that is reflected in the workshop she is running this year.

Meredith was a teacher so she is very able to share her techniques to participants.

You can find Meredith on Instagram, on facebook and on her website.

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Yasmeen – Sand and Stars

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Tuesday 11 April 2023: Yasmeen Branton of Sand and Stars helps people learn to do needle turn hand applique.

Yasmeen is running a needle turn hand applique design development workshop at Making Zen Online Retreat – 15 to 19 May 2023. Her aim is to help people find their confidence and creativity through needle turn hand applique.

After completing her art college textiles specialty, Yasmeen took a few years off before she went to the Royal School of Needlework. She did a foundation degree in hand embroidery and she really enjoyed using traditional skills to create beautiful projects.

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She was then able to work in costume departments in film and tv where Yasmeen was required to repeat embroidery over and over again for up to 5 of the same pieces of costumes.

As Yasmeen says, ‘It’s the perfectly imperfect that will make it truly yours.’

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‘My name’s Yasmeen and I live in Surrey, UK with my lovely husband and crazy collie Kobie. Sand & Stars is my business where I focus on the beautiful traditional art of needle turn hand applique through designing patterns, teaching in person and online as well as enjoying the technique myself through personal projects. I’m passionate for everyone to learn this skill to build confidence and enjoy this therapeutic technique whilst creating beautiful projects.

Some of the things I love to do in my spare time is running (or over-eager shuffling is really what I do!), walking, baking and within the last three years developing my knitting skills. I also love other forms of craft – crochet, cross-stitch, essentially anything that involves using my hands to be creative!

Tell me more about yourself and some of the wonderful crafty things you like to do that make you happy!”

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Register for Making Zen Online Retreat today.

Read more about Yasmeen on her website or via her Instagram account.

Kate Ward

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Tuesday 4 April 2023: Kate Ward has created a new Making Zen online Retreat for 15 to 19 May 2023.

There is still the option to watch workshops from skilled textile artists for free each day and the simple option to purchase these workshops for $59.

This is one of the few online retreats that has always provided a free option to all subscribers and this year Kate has made sure this option remains available to everyone.

In the lead up to Making Zen Online Retreat, on the podcast you’ll hear from Kate Ward, Yasmeen of Sand and Stars, Meredith Woolnough, Jayne Emerson, Mijam Gielen, Liz Kettle and our podcast regular and SewOver50 supporter, Liz Haywood.

Each textile artist is talented in their own area of textiles and want to provide a workshop to retreat students. The full list of textile artists is about to be released so stay listening.

October 2022 Making Zen Online Retreat

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Saturday 22 October 2022: Ruth Woods is known as craftschooloz on Instagram and can be found on her website at Craft School Oz.

With a background in textiles, working as a clothing designer for over 25 years, then being introduced to basketry fifteen years ago Ruth loves to combine different techniques and materials. She has been creating textile baskets made from recycled materials and loves that you can create beautiful things made from waste products and finds it a challenge to use as little newly bought resources as possible.

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Friday 21 October 2022: Agatha Lee or Agy, is a textile artist from Singapore, who is providing a workshop called Translating Nature into Thread Art with Free Motion Embroidery at the Making Zen Online Retreat.

“Agy” is a Singapore-based textile artist specialising in embroidery. Although she learnt to sew from her mother, it was not until 2012 that she rediscovered her passion for it and started creating textile collages and 3D textures through free motion machine embroidery, handstitching and marking.

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Her previous career as an environmental policy maker has enabled her to bridge the gap between sustainability and art, and has encouraged her to create works to reconnect people with not only the environment, but their inner tortoise. As an environmental advocate, her work explores making visible the things that are usually ‘hidden’ from the public. These include corals, weeds and fungi.

Agy was an invited artist for The Big Draw 2015, Playeum, art residency L’Observatoire 2017, and Singapore Design Week 2018. She has also exhibited at The Substation, Singapore Eco Film Festival, The Festival of Quilts (UK) and The Knitting & Stitching Show. As part of her practice, she holds regular workshops.

She is a member of the Society for Embroidery Work and Fertile Art Refinery Singapore.

Learn more about Agatha here!

Sarah Pedlow – October 2022 artist

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Monday 17 October 2022: Sarah Pedlow is one of the textile artists at the October 2022 Making Zen Online Retreat. You can find Sarah on Instagram atthreadwrittenand atsarahpedlowstudio.

Sarah’s workshop demonstration is titled Cultural Embroidery Traditions and The Chain Stitch. Sarah Pedlow, the founder ofThreadWritten, is an artist working with embroidery and cultural preservation through workshops, textile travel retreats, and fine art.

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Sarah moved to Amsterdam, NL, in 2019 where she now lives and works.

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She has taught and lectured at the Fashion Institute of Technology, The Textile Arts Council at the de Young Museum, San Francisco School of Needlework and Design, Tatter (Brooklyn, NY), WildCraft Studio School (Portland, OR), The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Crafts Council Nederland, and Selvedge Magazine. Her work has been featured in Uppercase, Veranda, House & Garden UK, and Selvedge magazines. Find her artwork at

Learn more about ThreadWritten here!

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On Instagram you’ll find Sarah at threadwritten and at sarahpedlowstudio

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24 to 28 October 2022

Saturday 8 October 2022: 20 textile artists will be featured at the latest Making Zen Online Retreat from 24 to 28 October 2022.

Amanda Nadig: May 2022 artist

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Friday 29 April 2022: Amanda Nadig is a textile artist who finds inspiration in keeping with and breaking away from traditions in quilting.

Amanda’s hand quilted compositions explore colours and shapes sourced second hand from garments and home textiles. Inspired by life as a mother and high school teacher, Amanda incorporates embroidered drawings, an unexpected mix of synthetic and natural fibres, and monoprints into her work.

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You’ll find Amanda at her website and on Instagram.

Amanda is presenting Calm Compositions: make a quilted mug rug from found fabrics.

Ellie Beck: May 2022 Artist

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Friday 29 April 2022: Ellie Beck can be found on her website at Petalplum. Ellie’s talents range across many areas and her creativity is limitless.

Ellie does touch on how your creativity spans all seasons and when your creativity is dormant like Winter, you have to recognise this season of your creativity. She discusses this in much more detail on her Instagram account.

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Ellie Beck is an artist, a published author, a creative maker and an educator. Her creative making encompasses slow stitching, natural dye, mindful making and impro quilts. This is all part of her everyday life.

Ellie is also a web designer, mentor and writer. She runs online craft workshops and she’s a mum of 3. You’ll enjoy her workshop at the Making Zen Online Retreat and you can find her on her amazing website and instagram account.

Ellie is presenting Vessel: slow stitched bags for holding treasures.

Friday 15 April 2022: Kate Ward discusses this year’s Making Zen Online Retreat on 2 to 6 May 2022.

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You’ve got the materials, and you can’t wait to use them! But you can’t quite find the time…

What you really want is to be able to…

  • Make dedicated time for yourself to create and overcome procrastination
  • Learn new techniques to improve your stitching
  • Develop practices that stimulate new ideas and creativity
  • Achieve Zen through the creative process which brings clarity and peace of mind

You can have all these things without feeling overwhelmed. The best part: it can be simple.


You can tune into the Retreat fromanywhere with internet access.

Summit Sessions.

Up tofour sessionswill run daily, each running for about half an hour.

Presentations will be up to30 minutes in length. They will be availabledaily to encourage you to stop waiting for the right time and take action along with hundreds of other hand stitchers.


You’ll also have access to aprivate groupfor the summit where we can gather and mingle before the retreat starts and share ideas and inspiration once MAKING ZEN begins

Katrine Stålstrøm: May 2022 Artist

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Have a look at previous podcasts by Katrine of Mending Mayhem, as she’s one of the textile artists in 2022 Making Zen Online Retreat. Her topic is Meditativ Stitching.

Selina Ben: May 2022 Artist

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And yes, Selina of Selinaam05 is also presenting at Making Zen Online Retreat too. Selina is experimenting tribal textile techniques from Japanese Ainu and Chinese Miao.

Maria Theoharous: May and October 2022 Artist

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There was a lot to learn making clothes and accessories from coffee bean sacks. Maria shared this information at the May 2022 Making Zen Online Retreat.

At the October 2022 Making Zen Online Retreat, Maria helps you overcome your fear of using lace.

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Making Zen Online Retreat 2021

Monday 18 October 2021: Make sure you join the free retreat organised by Kate Ward – Making Zen Online Retreat.

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Making Zen Online Retreat begins on 18 October 2021 for 5 days and the free presentations are available until Sunday 24th October 2021.

This is an online retreat for hand stitchers who wish to take their creativity to the next level. Making Zen is a wholistic approach to inspire, learn new techniques whilst nurturing your well being. Empowering you to CREATE a life you love.

This is Kate’s sixth podcast and this time it’s to encourage you to try a new technique with all the amazing speakers – Zac Foster, Meridith Woolnough, Sarah Woodyard, Sky Pennant, Liz Hayward, Maria Theoharous, Evelyn Bourne, Andrea Tsang Jackson, Raina McDonald, Heidi Iverson, Emma Freeman, John MacPhail, Vaina Soucy, Amy Maricle, Kaila Givehand and Kate Ward. Here’s a link to their bios and presentations.

Live discussions with each speaker take place on the day their presentation is released. Three presentations will be released every day.

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Thanks from Kate Ward

Hey there,

Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you for making the Online Retreat so incredible. I’m still basking in the afterglow of the retreat and wanted to share a note of gratitude to everyone who made the Making Zen Online Retreat such an enjoyable and inspiring event. It was a creative retreat of the very best kind!

First, a big thank you to the fabulous artists who invited us into their studios and so generously shared their passions and unique approaches to creativity. They have filled us to the brim with creative ideas and inspiration!

Next, a huge thank you to YOU! You made putting together the online retreat so worth it! Thank you so much for sharing in the fun and joy of creative exploration and sharing your projects with us in the Facebook group or Instagram. Thank you for your enthusiasm and excitement. Thank you for elevating the collective experience through your contribution (I’m loving seeing all the cross fertilization of ideas learnt last week). Thank you for your emails and kind words of gratitude. Thank you for sharing your takeaways, and how the experience impacted you in big and little ways.

Friday 23 April 2021: Have you wondered what the effect of decluttering enmass has on thrift stores and op shops?

Kate Ward is back to help you come up with repurposing clothes rather than having your clothes end up as landfill when you declutter.

Here are some recycling ideas to inspire you.

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Friday 9 April 2021: Kate is back to talk about her Project 333 experience.

Kate did her research last year before she assessed her clothes using the Project 333 guidelines. Kate refers to Courtney Carver’s work where Courtney says ‘Simplicity is the way back to love.’ Kate Ward grew up in Australia so to use the Project 333 guidelines on making her Winter wardrobe simple, was brave and very practical. In Australia, we don’t have the same lived experience of living in a country with long and extreme Winters like Canada has.

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Since December 2020, Kate has curated her Winter wardrobe and of the 33 items she’s selected the jacket pictured above needs to be repurposed. What are your suggestions for repurposing this jacket? Can you help Kate?

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Kate discusses some of the learnings she has gained by following the Project 333 guidelines and she’s discovered her style in the process. You’ll need to hope over the Kate’s blog to see how she tackled her wardrobe once you’ve listened to her podcast.

Thanks again to Kate for sharing her Project 333 experience.

Friday 26 March 2021: Kate has researched the detrimental impacts of textile production on the environment to reinforce the benefits each one of us can make to lessen by extending the life of our clothes.

You really should go to Kate’s website and read this research she shared with us for #Mendmarch.

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Friday 12 February 2021: This time Kate Ward delves into the research where time spent crafting and stitching has so many benefits for us. This podcasts covers her blog posts 10 reasons why stitching is good for us and 7 more reasons why stitching is good for us.

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Friday 29 January 2021: Kate Ward is a multidisciplinary artist, working injewellery, textiles, ceramics, video and installation. Kate’s work is often minimalist, focusing on form, colour and the interplay of contrasts. Her practice is inspired by the ephemeral, the metaphysical, the symbolic, and the relationship between art, ritual and culture.

In this podcast Kate tells us about her arts training and a few reasons why stitching is good for us. There are many more reasons why stitching is good for us.

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Kate has a number of art degrees.

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She first obtained a Bachelor of Visual ArtfromtheAustralianNationalUniversity,Canberra,Australiain 1998. Went on to study a Masters in Arts Management and Policy fromLondon University,UKin 2008. A Certificate in IV Ceramics from Goulburn’s TAFE,Australian 2012. And culminating with a Masters in Fine Arts at theNova ScotiaCollegefor Art and Design,Halifax,Canadain 2016.

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Kate has been the recipient of numerous international scholarships, residencies and exchange programs. Her work has been selected for national and international exhibitions, and won the Fibreart International Guild’s 2001 ‘Outstanding Work by an Emerging Artist’ award,Pittsburgh,USA. Her work is in private collections world wide.

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Making Zen Online Retreat (2024)
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