A change in style over the past few years has not been a design choice but a physical necessity due to the progression of my Parkinsons Disease . As my skills diminished I had to find new ways of expressing myself resulting in a much freer approach. You can still see my tendency to compartmentalise the contents of my design, as seen in the 4 horizontal panels in Shoreline
I rely heavily on my sewing machine and the collection of fabric and threads left over from my more productive days. I thought my quilting days were over until I started making small, heavily textured squares which could be sewn together. I call these my TEX-tiles.
Plain and Fancy
This piece illustrates the directions I was taking towards the end of my quilt making - thinking about the scale of printed fabrics, shapes and quilting stitches and threads and trying to show the influence of plain colours on the prints while blending the prints into one another as shown here.
Still Life With Sunflowers
Compared to my quilt from the Nineties Collection, I am working in a much more unrestrained way these days.
Precise hand appliqué, hand quilting and a limited colour palette have given way to strong colour, fusible appliqué and machine texturing.
Ready fused fabrics were used to create a colourful background.
The vase, foliage and flowers were worked separately on baking parchment before being positioned on the background to create the still life.
Machine detail was added to hold the separate pieces in place and to
Size: 48cm diameter circle, 3 cm deep.
I was really pleased to be invited to make a new piece of work to accompany my piece in the 90's collection exhibition. It was such a timely offer as I was reviewing my work and its enduring themes at the time. I knew instantly that this new piece had to be circular, to reference the circles that are in the Ilkley Moor piece and which have been recurrent in my textile work since I began making in the late 1980s and for the fun of working with a circle!
I wanted my piece to connect across my making career since the 1990s so I decided to use the 'radiant' stitch I had developed and used in my well known piece 'red radiant' (a detail of this piece is the cover image for my 2013 book Mark Making in Textile Art). So far so simple! I have moved on from the Red Radiant piece by filling in the central circle, using more than a single thread colour and by my choice of green threads.
My love of green has several roots. Red and green is a traditional colour scheme for a quilt and they were the colours in the very first traditional quilt I saw and which really inspired me to use the medium. Red and green are also the colours in the new quilt work resulting from my recent collaboration with the Bradford Textile Archive. At the same time as I was looking back, I wanted to make work that linked to the future. Green is the colour of growth, of life and vitality.
There are so many greens in my world and they change throughout the year. This seasonal changing is important in my current project - working with the seasons.
I now live close to the moorlands of Derbyshire and often observe and record their changing colours in photographs, sketches, stitch and words. Maybe my choice of Ilkley Moor as a subject in the 1990s had more meaning and longevity than I realised at the time? Certainly I have moved nearer to moorlands than I ever thought I would do and I spend far more time out there walking around them than I expected.
Landscape has always been central to my visual world of course, whether as moors, settlements, woodlands, beaches or coasts.
I hope that gives you a sense of my thinking? I'd be happy to flesh out any of this, or to respond to further quetions so you can create the support materials you want to accompany the exhibition.
Construction: Reworked quilt and quilting hoop. Hand stitched. Calico and sewing threads.
Seascape with Selkies
This is a summer version of another piece called "October Greys" which was inspired by photos I took of grey seals while on a walk around the shore on South Ronaldsay in October 2007. In Orkney seals are called selkies after the silky, white fur they have as pups and they are also the subject of many myths and legends.
Pictish stones also fascinate me. On this one I have stitched 2 symbols. One is the sea beast which reminds me of a sea horse. The second, the Crescent and V rod, which symbolises the moon and its powers, sometimes had seal like shapes carved inside the crescent. One theory is that these represented the Seal Tribe so I have stitched this in Ogam writing up the side of the stone. Ogam is thought to have originated in Ireland and brought to Scotland by Saint Columba.
It is machine pieced, hand appliqued, free machine embroidered and quilted There is some fabric painting on the cotton fabrics. The wadding is Hobbs 80/20 cotton / polyester and I used Aurifil no. 50 cotton threads.
To The Brim
Just like my quilt for the '90s collection, this recent quilt was inspired by a painting. ‘To The Brim’ was greatly influenced by Paul Klee’s, ‘Ad Marginem’. His piece is a darkly mysterious work which features stylized birds, plant forms and a sun image but shows no respect for reality in the landscape they populate. His strange flowers and birds are concentrated at the edges of the canvas and are sometimes placed on their sides and sometimes upside down. This is perhaps more like a bed quilt where the design could be viewed from all sides rather than a conventional composition in a painting.
I have used cotton, linen, silk, tulle and chiffon with piecing, appliqué, painting and print. The quilt has been free machine quilted with a little hand stitched embellishment.
This small quilt was a delight to make.
The background is made up with various scraps of fabric, some turned to the wrong side to soften the colours. These were machine pieced together. Next, the doodles were drawn on to paper and traced on to Bondaweb. The shapes were pressed on to black fabrics, cut out and pressed in place on to the background fabric.
The doodles were then machined in place using the straight stitch on my machine. The quilting is worked using a variety of coloured Perle threads. I just stitched wherever I wanted to go and enjoyed the freedom of doing so.
The quilting process took a lot longer than I had imagined, approximately three months, and my fingers were very sore by the time the last stitch was sewn.
Once trimmed and bound, I stitched a sleeve to the back for hanging plus my label.
Compass Rose Quilt
One of a series of quilts which I call 'Patchwork Set in Stone'. LIke many quilters, I am interested in the link between floor designs and patchwork, but for me it's not just the shapes of the pieces - it's the narrow spaces between them that appeals. My collection of fabric from the now hard-to-find Stonehenge fabric was ideal for this Compass Rose design.
Hand blanket-stitch and hand quilting.
Laundry Labels – Ephemera
54 x 53cm
Found old damask table napkin, free-motion machine stitched colours and text, felt wadding.
Inspired by the tiny fabric identification labels that laundries attached to items of washing in the 1950s and 1960s. Clean sheets and tablecloths would return with them still stuck on and they fascinated me as a child. They were roughly an inch long and half an inch wide, with numbers and letters printed on them and in pastel colours with white vertical stripes. I found examples still attached to some old table napkins at the Antiques Centre in Snape Maltings in Suffolk. I used one of the napkins (price £3.50) to make this piece and attached one of the original labels to the bottom right. The numbers are random but the letters spell out the following text which I wrote:
AMONG THE INSIGNIFICANT SCRAPS OF EPHEMERA NOW FORGOTTEN IN THE COMPUTER AGE ARE THE TINY FABRIC IDENIFICATION LABELS WHICH LAUNDRIES ATTACHED TO ITEMS OF WASHING – THESE HAD A DECORATIVE QUALITY IN THEIR OWN RIGHT – THEY WERE USED BETWEEN THE PERIOD OF EMBROIDERED MARKS AND THE COMPUTERISED TRACKING TECHNIQUES WHICH ARE IN OPERATION TODAY
At 6s and 7s
I have always enjoyed making traditional strippy quilts and I also love hand quilting.
We go to the Isle of Arran every year where it rains a lot and I need a small project to do in the car, in the rain or after a day's walking, parked on the beach watching the seals. This is 2015's project.
This is a re-working of an earlier pattern that I designed in 2001.The piece shows exactly what my quiltmaking is about these days:
A teaching sample, showing Foundation Piecing, the use of Batik fabrics, plus quilting and embroidery with metallic threads, using freehand as well as computerised stitches.
In effect, using the lovely things we did not have such easy access to in the 90's:
Batiks, threads, stitches, and the machine to cope with it all!
Sisters Selection Star
This wall hanging was made for the Quilt Fest Challenge of 2008 to use the Sisters Choice block. The block in its original form can be seen in the four corners of the border. The centre star is made up of the block distorted into a 45-degree diamond. Using only fabrics from my stash, it is machine pieced and quilted with hand quilting forming the radiating rays with interspersed beads.
Apart from enjoying the challenge, it also helped in my recovery from a stroke and heart attack. I was pleased that I could still use the sewing machine even though it did not always stop at the stop lights! The end result was what I had hoped for even if it took me MUCH longer than it would have before the health traumas!!