‘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!

‘Winter Leaves’

IMG_20160817_142935 (600 x 450)Work this week has seen the completion of a new thread painting and it is interesting to sit back and contemplate what conscious and subconscious influences have been at play while creating.  I was trying to use greens/pink/lemons as the colour scheme but kept being drawn to these burnt reds, browns and yellow colours – I wonder why?  The obvious conclusion is that I have been heavily influenced working on the 12′ x 12′ Yellow challenge, which saw me using the colour yellow as an autumn colour.  IMG_20160822_112607 (600 x 450)




However when I finished this thread painting I realised the colours aren’t neccessarily autumn colours but rather winter colours and I thought of the trees in my street that I drive or walk past everyday.  Although they are deciduous trees many of them still have many brown leaves attached – this is the subtle and subconscious influences at work.

IMG_20160823_082546 (450 x 600)So here is the finished ‘Winter Leaves’ thread painting…..Winter Leaves (257 x 600)I am not ordinarily a lover of the colour brown but I do really like the colour combinations in this thread painting.IMG_20160822_125706 (450 x 600)

My 12″ x 12″ answer to the ‘Yellow’ challenge….

My first answer to the yellow challenge was inspired by this absolutely stunning yellowing tree. 20160611_104911 (450 x 600) Yellow is not a colour I chose to use as the dominant colour, it can be overwhelming if surrounded by too much of it.  However I was surprised at how much yellow I had in my stash of threads!!IMG_20160812_150801 (600 x 450)





I began to start with experimenting and playing with options – free machine quilting the leaves and hand colouring before adding free machined embroidery. I have been playing with adding more 3D to my creative work and so I machine embroidered the leaves onto yellow fabric and cutting out the embroidered leaf shape.

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I wanted to be a bit more playful with the leaf shape and so instead of staying with the more realistic shading in the quilt leaf I created a line design within and hand coloured, before adding the cut out embroidered leaf shapes to the hand coloured image.  The image reminds me of the fallen and scattered leaves on the pavement.IMG_20160817_105629 (599 x 600)At the same time I wanted to push another design that I had been playing with, it wasn’t quite the yellow that was required for the challenge but I took the idea and re-created it with three autumn leaves.  After quilting I hand coloured the background and am happy with the result.quilted leaf (527 x 600)three leaves (571 x 600)

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Friday afternoon thoughts on inspiration…..

IMG_20160812_114409 (600 x 450)This is my next ambitious project, a sizeable art quilt combining all techniques that have been part of my repertoire for the past 3-4 years : raw edge applique, hand colouring/painting, and thread painting.  It was partly inspired by Michele Hill’s book “More William Morris Applique” and while it is very different to Michele Hill’s creative work in her book, the creating of beauty for the home with resonated for me. “Morris believed that beautiful surroundings in the home promoted creativity and happiness.” (Pg 5)

IMG_2269 (600 x 568)I have always been drawn to the ideas of the Arts and Craft movement; “with its emphasis on craftsmanship, quality materials and designs drawn from nature” (Charlotte Kelly, Living in the Arts & Crafts Style) to Art Nouveau; “a style of decorative art, architecture and design…characterized by intricate linear designs and flowing curves based on natural forms” (Google) and Art Deco;  the “distinguishing features of the style are simple, clean shapes, often with a streamlined look; ornament that is geometric or stylised from representational forms…” (Encyclopaedia Britannica).  The resonating theme for me with all of these movements are designs based on nature, stylised, and flowing or linear in character.

I also enjoy reading Historical fiction and am intrigued by the idea that British nobility would have many wall hangings – mostly embroidered – not only Changing Seasonsto add beauty but also warmth and often privacy.  These could be packed up easily(perhaps!) and moved to the next location, creating another space of beauty, warmth and privacy.  I have a fantasy that the textile arts were given great pride of place in the home, not only for their beauty, and practical application but because they also told a story of the makers.
Sometimes the rooms of the Arts and Crafts movement that I see in books, while they are beautiful, can feel a little over the top decorative and I was intrigued to read in Michele Hill’s book that “Morris preferred to whitewash the walls…and draped walls with carpets or tapestries…”(Pg 11)