Rosalie Dace Asks, “Are We There Yet?”

Rosalie Dace taught Art and English at the high school, college and university levels in South Africa, before becoming a full time quilt maker and teacher. I first became aware of her phenomenal work in Quilting Arts Magazine, Issue 23, Fall 2006.

Rosalie describes her teaching approach this way:

My classes are for class participants to have fun while they are learning, and to go beyond where they thought possible. In a non-threatening and respectful environment, I guide students to work in the direction of their own interest so that each person produces individual work within the general theme of the class. For this reason I do not usually provide patterns or kits. All classes however are supported by extensive visual material such as slides, pictures, books and actual examples of techniques and possible interpretation. As an art educator, I encourage students to develop a thorough knowledge of the elements of design and learn to apply these to the medium of quilt making with confidence.

You can understand why I was very curious to find out what was going on in her classroom at Quilting By the Lake. It was obvious, entering the room, that her students were engaged and energized. Unfortunately, I had little time to spare for further investigation. Visiting her online gallery only inflamed my desire to delve into more of her work and participate in one of her workshops. (Her art quilts can also be seen on Fibreworks.)


One of her works that speaks to me most clearly is titled Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet? ~ art quilt by Rosalie Dace

Are We There Yet? ~ art quilt by Rosalie Dace

The artist statement for this quilt poses some of the questions I have asked myself:

This quilt is about questioning the direction we take through life. We seem to be heading to some desired destination, but will we recognize it when we get there? And what happens when we’ve got there? Is there rest and re-creation, or another ‘there’ for us to move on towards?

Personally, I do not think I will ever experience a sense of having “made it” or “arrived.” There is always more to learn, new challenges to take on, incredible friends to meet, amazing art to acquire lessons from. And Rosalie’s point about rest and re-creation is crucial. If I will never actually arrive, it is important that I learn to incorporate rest and recreation into my journey. Otherwise, I risk falling into fatigue and discouragement because all my energy is expended as I chase the immediate goal before me.

I love sharing my life journey, of which art is a very significant part, and will continue to reach out to as many others as I can. I am particularly drawn to those who crave the depths~who are willing to delve into themselves and their world for the symbols, images and words that will enliven their art and guaranty that everyone knows it is their art. This does not need to be a somber, heavy process. Rather, it is enlightening, joyful, and freeing. You are loosening the constraints that kept you from revealing and reveling in your true self.

Seeing Rosalie Dace’s work, and reading her teaching goals, reassures me that my direction is a sound one. I already knew it, but like the students who have a sense of what they want to say, but haven’t quite said it, reassurance from a compassionate and accomplished teacher can make all the difference for sprouting their own art wings.

That is what I always aspire to be with my students: a source of encouragement.

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings. ~ William Blake


About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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5 Responses to Rosalie Dace Asks, “Are We There Yet?”

  1. tammy vitale says:

    great post…and did she answer the questions she posed for that quilt? Those are the very answers I would very much like RIGHT NOW. =]

  2. carolwiebe says:

    Personal questions require personalized answers, as I know you know.

    NOW is all encompassing, and so is there. In fact, there is no there. It’s always HERE.

  3. jeane says:

    I admire quilters so much – such an amazing craft/art – this quilt is just incredibly beautiful and exciting – you must be very inspired :)

  4. Deb Sims says:

    Rosalie Dace’s quilts absolutely take my breath away. And having seen her classroom at QBL and the quilts that came out of her workshop, I am now more determined than ever to take one of her workshops. Her quilts vibrate with color, energy, questions and answers. I want to know more about her process. What inspires her? How does she get from inspiration to finished art? I can tell she has much to share and I want to learn it all!

    As for Are we there yet?, I like to believe there is always another journey waiting when we arrive at a given destination. I can’t imagine being “there!”

  5. carolwiebe says:

    Jeane, I am very inspired by all that I experienced and saw at Quilting By the Lake. I agree that Rosalie Dace makes very beautiful and exciting work.

    Deb, have you ever sat down and written out how the germ of an idea starts for you and develops as you go? What inspires you? It would be an enlightening exercise, and I am willing to bet that that your explanations of your process would inspire others. I know from experience that YOU have a lot to share!

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