Shirley makes career of crafts
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.