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?
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