Norma Slabbert Quiltmaker


Norma Slabbert is a quiltmaker and writer from New Zealand who grew up on a bushveld farm and a mission station in Lebowa.  She started doing fabric collage and making quilts in the early eighties, while working as a pre-school teacher.  Her early work was bright and playful – inspired by children’s art.
During a mid-career break, Norma backpacked through Europe to visit major galleries and museums to study art and quiltmaking. She researched quiltmaking at British museums, libraries, and quilt shows, and the experience inspired a lifelong commitment to quiltmaking and art.
After returning from Europe, Norma’s passion for art led to a career change and a position as an art gallery curator.   As curator, she initiated and curated a number of quilt exhibitions in the city gallery – which was groundbreaking at the time.
She returned to university in midlife, to fulfil a passion for writing.  The Honours in Journalism had an impact on her quiltmaking and after qualifying as a journalist, her work became darker, more political, and grounded in reality – to question and reflect on world matters, the realities of daily life, and emotional truths.
Norma and her family migrated to New Zealand during the late nineties, which also had an influence on her quiltmaking.  As a migrant, her work often comments on coming and going, place and displacement, and the space between.
Now semi-retired, Norma spends her days on all things related to quiltmaking: doing the stitches, reading, research, writing, quilt judging, and exhibiting.   Recent highlights in her quilt journey were visits to the 2015 and 2017 Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival, in Japan.   She has published a number of books and wrote for New Zealand Quilter until it ceased publication.
Norma was the 2012 recipient of the Aotearoa Quilters Scholarship Award, while she worked towards her second solo quilt exhibition, The Walled Garden. Her third solo quilt exhibition, While We Stitch, was shown at ArtsPost Galleries in Hamilton, during September 2016.  During 2019 she showed a new series, Old Skills, New Quilts at ArtsPost Galleries – with her family under the umbrella name Family Making Things – Passing on Tradition.  Norma showed her latest solo exhibition, House Home Place, at Wallace Gallery Morrinsville during October / November 2022. 

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Quilt  CV


2022 – House Home Place, Wallace Gallery Morrinsville, Morrinsville

2019 – Old Skills, New Quilts, ArtsPost Galleries, Hamilton

2016  –   While We Stitch, ArtsPost Galleries, Hamilton

2014  –  Walled Garden, Minerva Gallery, Wellington

2013  –  Walled Garden, ArtsPost Galleries, Hamilton

2006  –  Stitched Stories, ArtsPost Galleries, Hamilton

2006  –  Stitched Stories, Taia Textile Gallery, Wellington



2023 – Selected for the 2023 AQC Challenge, Australia

2023 – Selected for Memories of Childhood, an Ozquilt members’ virtual exhibition

2022 – Selected for Textile Expressionism (SAQA Virtual Gallery) 

2022 – Selected for Changing Threads 2022 – the Contemporary NZ Textile Fibre Art Award

2019 – Selected for National Quilt Symposium 2019, Auckland

2019 – Selected for Art Quilt Australia 2019, National Wool Museum, Geelong

2019 – Ailsa Graig Quilt and Fibre Arts Festival, Canada

2018 – Auckland Festival of Quilts 2018, Auckland

2018 – Australia Wide Six Exhibition, Sydney, Australia

2018 – Art Quilt Australia @ Yarra Ranges Regional Museum

2017 – Japan Challenge,  Handmade Makers’ 2017, Yokohama, Tokyo

2017 – Auckland Festival of Quilts, Auckland

2017 – National Quilt Symposium, Creative Construction, Christchurch

2017 – Art Quilt Australia, Queen Victoria Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania

2017 – Australasian Quilt Convention, Melbourne, Australia

2016 –  Auckland Festival of Quilts, Auckland

2015  – Purple Challenge, Aotearoa Quilters, Palmerston North Quilt Festival

2012  –  The BIG Quilt Show, NorthArt, Auckland

2012  –  What the World Needs Now, Australasian Quilt Convention, Melbourne

2012 –  Connections, NorthArt, Auckland

2012  –  Quilts Aotearoa, Hamilton

2012  –  Year 60 Quilt, Calling All Quilts, Hamilton

2011  –  Quilts Aotearoa, Hamilton

2011  –  On the Surface, Aotearoa Quilters challenge and travelling exhibition

2010  –  Made in New Zealand 11, NorthArt, Auckland

2009  –  Made in New Zealand 11, 15th European Patchwork Association, Sainte-

Marie-aux-Mines, France

2009  –  World Quilt Show, New England, Manchester, New Hampshire; Pennsylvania

2009  –  National Quilt Extravaganza; Pacific International Quilt Festival, USA

2009  –  POST Stitch, Lopdell House Gallery, Titirangi, Waitakere City

2006  –  Australasian Quilt Convention, Melbourne

2005  –  NANZQ Quilts Aotearoa, Hamilton

2005  –  Quilt Auckland National Symposium, Auckland

2005  –  The Subversive Quilt, Auckland

2004  –  Whakatane District Community Arts Council

2004  –  Celebration Quilts, Taia Gallery, Wellington

2004  –  New Zealand Quilts, Pataka Art Museum, Porirua

2002  –  Calling All Quilts, Hamilton

2001  –  Celebrate the Quilt, National Symposium, New Plymouth

2000  –  Calling All Quilts, Hamilton

2000  –  Contemporary New Zealand Quilts exhibition, Pataka Art Museum, Porirua

1998  –  A Passion for Quilt Making, Bellville, Cape Town

1998  –  Transformed: Textiles as an Expressive Medium, Durban

1998  –  Innovative Threads, Cape Town

1997  –  Innovative Threads, Cape Town

1997  –  The Quilt Fairs: Sussex, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Bruges

1996  –  Innovative Threads, Cape Town

1996  – Seasons National Quilt Festival, Durban

1994  –  National Quilt Festival, Cape Town

1987  –  Designer Crafts, New Forum, Cape TownTitle: No Man’s Land (Detail) Category: B
Maker: Norma Slabbert


2018 – Best of Show, Auckland Festival of Quilts 2018. Quilt: Wall 

2017 – First Prize, Modern Quilts, Auckland Festival of Quilts, 2017. Quilt: Modern Conundrum

2016 –  Best of Show, Auckland Festival of Quilts2016. Quilt: No Entry

2005 –  Best of Show, 2005 NANZQ Quilts Aotearoa, Hamilton. Quilt: I thought I Saw Some Red Hot Pokers in the Gully

2005 –  Best Innovative Wall Quilt, NANZQ Quilts Aotearoa, Hamilton. Quilt: I Thought I Saw Some Red Hot Pokers in the Gully

2004 –  Best of Show, 2004 NANZQ Quilts Aotearoa, Hamilton. Quilt: Welcome on Foreign Soil

2004 –  Best Original Wall Quilt, 2004 NANZQ Quilts Aotearoa, Hamilton. Quilt: Welcome on Foreign Soil

2002  –  Best Wall Quilt, Calling All Quilts, Hamilton. Quilt: I Had a House in Africa

2002  –  Best Contemporary Entry, Calling All Quilts, Hamilton. Quilt: Foreign Soil

2002  –  Merit, Original Wall Quilt, Calling All Quilts, Hamilton. Quilt: Sacrifice

2000  –  Merit Award, Contemporary New Zealand Quilts, Pataka Museum, Wellington.   Quilt: I Had a House in Africa

2000  –  Merit Techinical Excellence, Calling All Quilts, Hamilton. Quilt: Raw #2

1996  –  Third Prize, Art Quilt Small, Seasons National Quilt Festival, Durban. Quilt: Seasons of the Soul

1995  –  Roland Hill Award, Best Journalism Dissertation, University of Stellenbosch. Dissertation theme: Quilt Making: Art or Craft

1994  –  First Prize: Tomorrow Innovative Small, National Quilt Festival, Cape Town.         Quilt: Journey in May

1994  – Judges Choice, Jonathan Shannon, National Quilt Festival, Cape Town. Quilt: Journey in May



2021 – Juror, Oceania: Distance and Diversity, SAQA Oceania Regional Exhibit, Rotorua 

2019 – Quilt Judge, Great New Zealand Quilt Show, Rotorua, 2019

2017 –   Quilt Judge, Fragile Challenge, Aotearoa Quilters, New Zealand

2016  –  Quilt Judge, Great New Zealand Quilt Show, Rotorua, New Zealand

2012  –  Quilt Judge, Calling All Quilts, Hamilton

2007  –  Quilt Judge, NANZQ Elemental Challenge

2007  –  Quilt Judge, Human Rights Challenge, Quilt Symposium 2007

2007  –  Judging Skills Certificate – Jeannie M Spears NQACJ, Auckland

2006  –  Mentoree Judge, NANZQ Quilts Aotearoa 2006, Hamilton





Written on quiltmaking for numerous publications including:

New Zealand Quilter

Art/Quilt Magazine, USA

International Quilting Times, UK

SA Country Life, Cape Town

Vuka, Tswane

Talking Threads, Cape Town

Woman’s Value, Cape Town

De Kat, Cape Town



1998  –  A Passion for Quiltmaking, Cape Town

1991  –  Patterns for Patch Pictures

1991  –  Crazy Patchwork

1988  –  Patch Pictures




2012  –  Aotearoa Scholarship Award, New Zealand



SAQA Studio Art Quilt Associates –  https://www.saqa.com

Auckland Quilt Guild – Auckland Quilt Guild 

OzQuilt Network – Ozquilt Network Inc : Australia’s organisation for art quilters

Aotearoa Quilters – Aotearoa Quilters




2022 – Wallace Gallery Morrinsville – floor talk during solo exhibition: House Home Place

2021 – Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) Conference – virtual studio tour and talk 

2019 – ArtsPost Galleries – floor talks during exhibition:  Family Making Things – Passing on Tradition 

2019 – Judge’s Floor Talks, Great New Zealand Quilt Show, Rotorua

2017 – Floor talks on Year 60 Quilt, Australasian Quilt Convention, Melbourne, Australia

2016  –  Talk on Year 60 Quilt, The Great New Zealand Quilt Show, Rotorua

2014  –  Guest speaker, AGM, Capital Quilters, Wellington – Walled Garden Quilts

2014  –  Guest speaker, Peninsula Day, Patchwork Unlimited  Turua – Walled Garden

2013 –  Guest speaker, Embroiderers’ Guild, Rotorua – Year 60 Quilt

2011  –  Guest speaker, Waikato Embroiderers’ Guild – Year 60 Quilt

2011  –  Guest speaker, Waikato Patchwork and Quilters  – Year 60 Quilt

1999  –  Guest speaker, Palmerston North – A Passion for Quilt Making

1999  –  Guest speaker, Wellington Quilt Guild  – A Passion for Quilt Making

1998  –  Guest speaker, Kapiti Coast, Wellington – A Passion for Quilt Making

1995  –  Durbanville Quilt Guild – Working on a theme in quilt making







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