The “‘Leafy’ Sea Dragon’, art quilt story continues…..

The”‘Leafy’ Sea Dragon” art quilt story continues……  At the end of last year I was approached by the Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine to see if I was interested in a write-up about my img_20161123_153041-600-x-450work, specifically my art quilts, to be featured in the AP&Q magazine.    The article, which focused predominantly on the “‘Leafy’ Sea Dragon’ art quilt, was published in the ‘Annual Machine Quilting Collectors Edition’, Vol 26 No 3 (July/August ?).  img_20161123_153150-600-x-450I have only just received a copy, apparently I was sent one when it was published but it is out there in the universe somewhere….in other words it never arrived and I have kindly been sent another one.  It is a priviledge to be published and I felt honoured to be asked.


It is interesting to read what I wrote 12 months ago, so much has transpired in that time.  However I am still creating thread paintings and art quilts……recently I was reading a Lindsay Taylors book on her Textile Art journey(gorgeous work by this UK artist) and one thing that stood out for me was her comment on “the highs and lows of being a textile artist”.  I would echo her sentiments and add there is also a lot of hard slog in between the highs and lows!

My latest art quilt…..

img_20160924_130815-450-x-600Recently I was fortunate to win a Merit Award for a mini Art Quilt, and also at the recent Auckland Festival of Quilts I was able to redeem my prize; a voucher for some gorgeous hand made fabric from Mallee Textiles, thanks Catherine McDonald.  img_20161107_083722-600-x-450Although I liked the initial mini art quilt I knew the design needed to be developed further and that is what I have been working on.

Beginning with a single Peace Lily image I created another sample(small art quilt on left below), using raw edge applique, free machine quilting and a small amount of hand colouring. Satisfied with where this design was going I created a panel of three Peace Lilies, and changed a few details to fit a larger design.



However not content with this design I have pushed it in another direction completely and am excited by where it is taking me!  Here is the original drawing and the auditioning of fabric colours.  The process is a mix of part drawing the design and allowing the design to emerge, which always takes time.  It is ‘play time’, and to an observer this might appear a waste of time, however it is incredibly important and actually requires a lot of creative energy.  At the same time I have been reading about structure in design, there is much about my design process that is intuitive but I also recognise the importance of stepping back and considering my design objectively.  Structure in an artwork is important in that it helps to create unity; it is the bones, the skeleton, the underlying framework of the image.  The above image is a linear structure whereas the new work is circular, a mandala.img_20161109_141802-450-x-600

I never cease to be amazed how the subconscious works it way into consciousness through creativity; it is partly because of my training and work as an art therapist and because I experience it so often in my own work and others.  Recently on my walks I have been taking photos of a ‘weed flower’ and what appeals to me, apart from the white flower, is the circular structure of the flower head.  At the same time the circular structure is emerging in my latest art quilt design!  The mandala shape or structure is serving both a personal and aesthetic need at present for me.img_20161111_061444-450-x-600

The Four Seasons process…..


This isimg_0266-450-x-600 the photograph that inspired the original ‘Autumn Leaves’ and consequently the ‘All Four Seasons’ series, it was taken at the Melbourne Garden Show(thanks Sandy!) in 2012.  What I try to capture in my photographs is the ‘moment in time’ that my attention is caught by what I ‘see’. My artwork then becomes an opportunity to give voice to what I have been inspired by; in this case to portray the leaves and branches through line, shape, and colour. Beginning with a drawing I try to recapture the essence of what inspired me, simplifying as I draw, creating possibilities, stylising before settling on a design and then adding colour.





Creating a thread painting of the drawing adds another dimension, a tactile layer that also allows for another level of intuitive expression.


However in creating this series and exploring the seasons and their colours I have come to realise that there are many colours that could represent each season; we all have our own interpretations and personal connections to both the seasons and their colours.  Therefor the colours used to represent the seasons in this series are the ones that I have connected with at this point in time.


I loved seeing them completed, and on view in my hall.  After spending so much time on creating artworks it feels important – if possible- to spend a little time with them, however they have now been posted.  Bon vogage and enjoy your new home!


‘All Four Seasons’…a commission….

For the past few months I have been working on a delightful commission – a series of four thread paintings depicting the four seasons.  There is a lovely back story to these commissions.  IMG_20160817_142935 (600 x 450)Originally I was contacted re purchasing a thread painting called ‘Autumn Leaves’ but as it had sold we discussed creating a similar one as a commission.  I said I would email a photo of the completed artwork to make sure she was happy with the image; “no need, surprise me” was the response.  Well my inner muse had her way and ‘Winter Gold’ surprised even me.  So I sent an email and photo anyway, and gave the option of trying again for the autumn colours if need be.

Her reply was very moving; I never cease to be amazed at the power of art…… “The ‘Winter Leaves’ (which I have since renamed ‘Winter Gold’) are gorgeous, and it leads me into Vivaldi’s Four Seasons when I see this piece together with the ‘Autumn Leaves’.      I was married 25 years ago to Vivaldi’s Spring, and your creations evoke emotion and flooding memories.”     This thread painting set of four seasons are an acknowledgement of 25 years of marriage, and I think celebrating seasons as an acknowledgement of a significant anniversary is quite apt; there are ‘seasonal’ cycles in nature, relationships and life.

So….four thread paintings later and “All Four Seasons” are complete and ready to post.  The following images are partial images of either the work in progress or the finished artwork.

“Summer Verdancy”


“Autumn Rustling”



“Winter Gold”


“Spring Blush”




Whats new? The current NZ Quilter magazine….

After several weeks of ill health I am finally feeling ready to face the world so took myself out and bought the current NZ Quilter magazine.  It is a beautifully presented, glossy and colourful magazine and I am sad and disappointed to learn that the magazine will cease to be published once it reaches the 100th issue.  The current issue is No 97, so only three more issues to go….img_20161019_155022-600-x-450 Inside the current issue is an article on the NZ entries to the 2016 World Quilt Competition XX called “A Celebration of Colour”, written by Anne Scott.  I am delighted to see a photograph of my quilt in the magazine…..img_20161019_084559-450-x-600The diversity of the quilts representing NZ is wonderful to see.  One day it would be amazing to see the World Quilt Competition and exhibition!  Just to recap: here are some images of the journey in creating “Dancing Kangaroo Paws”….FullSizeRender (58)20160106_200959 (600 x 450)IMG_1343 (1)20160516_113740 (600 x 450)20160622_120021 (600 x 450)

Visiting and viewing the ‘Yellow’ and ‘Floral’ Quilt challenge….

Here I am shaking Catherine McDonalds(from Mallee Textiles) hand and receiving  my prize, after visiting and viewing the Aotearoa Quilters ‘Yellow’ and ‘Floral’ Challenges at the Auckland Flower and Orchid Show last weekend. Catherine donated the prize I received and I am excited to be receiving some of her beautiful hand dyed fabrics – thank you.  In the background you can just see two of the three mini quilts I entered – the ‘Peace Lily’ and the ‘Ginger Flower’.  The third quilt; the ‘Calla Lily’, had sold and gone to its new home.img_20160924_153746-600-x-450

What a wonderful variety of work was on display in the two exhibitions, and the Orchid and Flower Show was also stunning; the colour, the variety, the scent…it was all a visual feast.  Here are a few of the many photos I took of the Orchids.  The designs and markings in these flowers are wonderful and very inspiring.img_20160924_130542-600-x-450


‘Floral’ art quilt “Peace Lily” wins merit award…..

prayer-lily-351-x-600Today the Auckland Flower and Orchid Show opened and…. today I received a lovely message to say that one of my ‘floral’ art quilts won a merit award at the ‘Floral’ Challenge being exhibited at the Show.   Unfortunately I don’t have an image of the completed art quilt but the image shown here is a detail of the quilt in progress.  The quilt is called “Peace Lily”;  it is raw edge apliqued, touched up with hand colouring and then closely straight line quilted with a walking foot.  img_20160922_170225-450-x-600

For me the really interesting fact is that I drew this design at least 10 years ago and, even though I would get it out every so often, this is the first time I have created an artwork from the design!  Once again, for me, the impetus was about finding the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.  These beautiful sculptural flowers are a reasonably common flower and it would be easy to walk past them and not notice their colour, their shape, their sculptural strength.  I think that is why it took me so to create an artwork, I kept thinking it is such a common flower and I hadn’t connected completely with its uniqueness.  That is until I decided to simplify the shapes and use a black background.

“Peace Lily” is the third of three that I created for the ‘Floral’ challenge, they each stand alone as a completed art quilt but could also be grouped together as a tryptich.  All floral quilts had to be 20cm(w) x 45 cm(h).

Certainly there are parts of the world that could do with peace; recently I was reading a book on Art Quilts and one of the featured artists (Lisa Ellis) writes that “through her art she strives to make the world a better place” and that statement resonates with me and my creative work.



‘Spring Bursts’…..into a thread painting….

Here’s a peek at my ‘Spring Burst’ thread painting.img_20160910_073249-450-x-600

Spring Bursts….so much inspiration…

The ‘Winter Blues’ thread painting featured in my last post and spring was peeking and pushing through, about to burst with glorius and riotous colour. I think I have taken enough photos in this lifetime to last me several lifetimes of creative work! Time to get off the internet and begin creating…..
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Winter Blues finished…..

imageEarlier in the year I began this image, one in a series of four depicting this leaf design but using colour and pattern to express the season.  I began the thread painting but it got put aside for more pressing matters such as finding a home.  Recently, after a very wet spell of several weeks I picked it up again to finish. It seemed appropriate to call it Winter Blues because I find constant wet bleak days difficult.  However today it is complete…..and spring is all around us with colour and new life…..

Winter Blues 2 (347 x 600)Oh and check out my gallery pages -I have been spending a little time updating images into my portfolio…well past time!