Thursday, 4 August 2016


I am thrilled to report that I have had a garment accepted for this year's WOW Wearable Arts Show - called "Imperiana", this creation will feature in the Weta Workshop 'Baroque/Rococo Period' section.

This will be my seventh garment over five WOW shows, since 2011. 

I feel very privileged and am looking forward to seeing "Imperiana" in action on the WOW stage!

This year's show is sure to be as spectacular as ever.

Check my earlier Wearable Arts post (March) - it is a featured post - see panel on the right.  This post gives a good overview of WOW and my wearable arts journey.

Alas I can't share any photos of "Imperiana" until after the show, but here are photos of my two garments that did not get selected:
  • Guggintime (NY meets Bilbao, straight lines become curves) - with seed lights
  • Taziri (Berber inspired, following a visit to Atlas mountains in Morocco)

Guggintime - with and without lights (photos by RikMedia - Model Stefie Leech

Taziri - Berber inspired (photos by RikMedia - Model Stefie Leech

Tuesday, 2 August 2016


Do you find that, as soon as you learn about something new, it is suddenly everywhere in your life but hadn’t been up till then? 

Or is it that, now you know about this new thing, you are just noticing it when it comes into your world?

Either way, whether you consider it Coincidence or Observance, you’ve learnt something new and interesting and it is now in your world - and the fact you are thinking about it emphasises the importance and wonder of learning! 


Tuesday, 12 July 2016


I think that playing Bridge must be in my genes.

My Mum was a keen and competent Bridge player, as was my Nana before her.  I remember watching Nana and her friends play Bridge when I stayed with her in the school holidays as a young girl. Admittedly, this doesn’t sound like a very exciting holiday activity but I quite enjoyed observing and absorbing the process, as well as witnessing the camaraderie and shared passion around the card table. And we did lots of other things together as well, to keep the amusement levels topped up.

In the event, those days of watching ‘old’ ladies (they would have only been in their early 60s!) playing the card game they loved have stood me in good stead, now that I am playing the game myself.  Well, ‘playing’ is an overstatement.  I am learning.

I’ve just finished a comprehensive course of lessons at the Auckland Bridge Club, under the guidance of the knowledgeable and extremely thorough Douglas Russell. We have now progressed to a series of weekly ‘beginner’ play nights which has us grappling with all the stuff we’ve learnt over the past four months. Putting theory into practice – yikes, it’s not so easy, let me assure you. It’s daunting and nerve-wracking as we get to grips with the rules and tactics and etiquette in a real play situation, even though we are only taking gentle baby steps and are a world away from the pressure of competitive play. Shaming ourselves at this level is almost a given, and all part of the practice and improvement regime.  Having said this, scores do matter, so there is a competitive element! 

I am loving it, definitely, but I know that I have rather a long way to go to be anywhere near honouring the standard of my maternal heritage!

Actually, I initially learnt Bridge 23 years ago, inspired by my Mum’s love for the game. I was 30 years old, pregnant with my first child and keen to find out about this Bridge lark.  I completed the lessons (with Jan Cormack who has been a fine international bridge player for many years), got a few games under my belt, had Mum as my mentor, progressed reasonably well, loved it and then, inevitably, baby Sam was born.  Even though he was a really good baby, I had other priorities. Juggling working motherhood was hard enough without factoring regular card games into it (use it or lose it), so my Bridge went rather quickly – and sadly but rightfully – out the window! 

Fast forward to 2016 ... Sam and Michael are now young adults, Brett had been expressing keenness to learn Bridge and I was very happy to get back into it again. There was nothing to get in our way, so we signed up for lessons. I did think about doing advanced lessons because I had some knowledge of the game but, be assured, with a 22 year hiatus (probably even a five year one), the beginners area is where you need to be!

Alas, Bridge does have a stigma as being a ‘boring old game for boring old people’ but there is nothing further from the truth. There are plenty of youngies learning alongside us more mature lot and they seem to get a kick out of it.  The ‘oldies’ are a mostly switched-on bunch and learning now is a wise move, setting up a whole new world to occupy time in that unavoidable ‘old age’ sphere of life.

Truth is, if you get into Bridge at a young age, there is scope and opportunity in the game that only those who care to explore it will ever know about.  

Don’t leave it too late to learn (60s is fine, 50s is better, 40s is great, 30s is superb and earlier is ideal) as, not only will you have fun, you will be giving your brain vital survival skills as the years advance. Bridge is a wonderful way to work out the mind, retain memory skills and, in turn, help fend off dementia. It’s also a great way to happily and purposefully spend your time when retirement comes calling, offering a good dose of challenge and satisfaction.
Being able to sort your bidding and organise and remember play is a sure sign your brain is in good form. Or not.

I do suggest getting dexterous with those cards early on. Being able to sort cards smoothly, fan them deftly, hold them adeptly, place your dummy swiftly (and proficiently) and play the cards skilfully – these are all part of the skills of a good Bridge player. Don’t underestimate any facet of this.

In essence, becoming an international Bridge player is a real possibility for any talented, dedicated and savvy player, if you get in early enough.Don't leave it until you are too "old"!

Having a lifelong passion and many friendships along the way is a given, no matter your age or ability.
And ... an astute Bridge mind is a sharp mind indeed.

To the game itself ...

There are so many layers to this hugely complex – and ultimately highly addictive – game. As I learn each new piece of the puzzle, I marvel at how anyone could ever have invented it.  It may seem perplexing to the uninitiated, but once you understand the complex and utterly inspired bidding system (again, how does someone devise this!?) then you are on your way to participating in a game that makes addiction seem like a most excellent thing. From what I can gather, Bridge becomes a compulsion, an obsession, a craving, once you step right inside the arena.

There are only 38 calls in the Bridge bidding vocabulary and you must determine your contract through a series of fine-tuned and highly explanatory bids.   Imagine making a critical decision by using only 38 words.  That’s Bridge!  Giving information, receiving it, responding, considering, fine-tuning, finalising ... it’s a tough brain dance.

And then ... you have to play the hand!

Now, the bidding is absolutely critical because you really do need to find the right contract.  But, once you’ve got that sorted (hopefully!), you must play your cards right and make that contract. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the crucial part.  Your score depends on it.

So, first, you have the bidding, the auction, which is CRITICAL to find the right contract.

And then you have the playing, the strategy, which is CRUCIAL to make that contract and get your points. It’s all about making a plan, drawing trumps, finessing, card counting – you really can’t miss a trick!

It’s about decisions and tactics and excellent communication.  Being in tune with your Bridge partner is a very important factor in getting all this right.
Brett and I have achieved a pretty good life partnership so far, now let's see if we can create a good Bridge partnership ...!

Etymology and brief background  

The name Bridge is an anglicised version of Biritch (Russian Whist), a card game which emanated, in the 19th Century, from Whist, a relatively simple trick-taking card game that is still popular today. 

Contract Bridge is, in effect, a highly complex extension and evolution of Whist.  The card game “500” has similarities to Bridge and is an excellent stepping stone but, it must be said that Bridge is infinitely more intricate and tactical, with many subtleties and variations, oodles of room for error, scope for risk-taking for those that dare and frustration for those that don’t. 

Bottom line, there is plenty of delight and fulfilment to be had. And what’s more, there is no limit to the learning. I highly recommend it.

We love it already but I know that we haven’t even started yet!
Let us journey on and experience every wonderful nuance the game has to offer.

Check out more at

Image result for bridge hand cards
1 Spade opening bid !

Thursday, 30 June 2016


Never give up until you see absolutely no further point in continuing.

Use your energy and determination to pursue your goals until you reach them, or the commitment is lost.

"Vintage Moment" - mixed media