Shirley makes ca­reer of crafts

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Local News - REXINE HAWES

Once a month, The Mata­mata So­ci­ety of Arts pro­files one of their mem­bers with an ex­hi­bi­tion at West­pac. Reporter Rexine Hawes sat down with Shirley Frew to talk about her pas­sion for tex­tiles and de­sign.

Shirley Frew has made ca­reer out of cre­ative crafts.

The former Mata­mata Col­lege tex­tiles and de­sign teacher spent al­most four decades pass­ing along her skills.

And while she says she is now in re­tire­ment, it’s not rest­ful.

‘‘There is no such thing as re­tire­ment, I have never been so busy in all my life,’’ she said laugh­ing.

‘‘In my re­tire­ment it has been my sav­ing grace from be­ing lonely. It fills in the hours.

‘‘You can’t say it’s re­lax­ing as you are al­ways on the go, but it’s very re­ward­ing.’’

She hasn’t fully left teach­ing be­hind, she now takes patch­work and quilt­ing classes in the evenings at Mata­mata Col­lege.

A col­lec­tion of her work from those classes is now at West­pac, as part of the Mata­mata So­ci­ety of Arts monthly ex­hi­bi­tion.

Shirley has al­ways had a love of sew­ing and cov­eted her grand­mother’s trea­dle sew­ing ma­chine.

‘‘We weren’t al­lowed to touch but this lit­tle lady de­cided to give a it a go,’’ she said.

‘‘She did mend­ing and I used to help her.’’

Home Sci­ence was a school cer­tifi­cate class when she was a stu­dent, and she de­cided that was the ca­reer path she wanted to take.

Her first job af­ter grad­u­at­ing was at Cam­bridge High School.

Mother­hood took her away from teach­ing for 12 years, but she re­sumed it when the Mata­mata Col­lege prin­ci­pal at the time Gra­ham Reid asked her to re­lieve for a term.

‘‘And I was there for 38 years,’’ she laughed.

She says teach­ing has been very re­ward­ing, es­pe­cially in wearable arts.

‘‘It re­ally takes you out­side your com­fort zone and get’s you into some­thing re­ally dif­fer­ent.

‘‘It’s a pity now the course doesn’t lead on the way it did when I was at school. The kids win awards through fash­ion de­sign and al­most make a ca­reer for them­selves just out of that.

‘‘A lot of kids from Mata­mata have gone into de­sign work of some sort.’’


Shirley Frew is the Mata­mata So­ci­ety of Arts Artist of the Month.

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