Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Drawing and Collage in Lockdown

Seeing as we are still in lockdown, I treated myself to an on-line purchase, some Tim Holtz fabrics.

I have decided to work a bit more on collage as I love the layered look that you get with paint but it is harder to achieve with fabric. So, I thought I would make myself another sketchbook and do some more on paper first. I find the sketchbooks that you buy with the spiral binding annoying when trying to draw, if you are using both sides of the paper.

I used some large watercolour paper folded in half and made a cover with some really heavy interfacing. I went looking for some fabric to fuse onto the cover and decided to use some of my new Tim Holtz fabric.

Usually, people hand sew the pages into the book, but I did it with a large stitch on the sewing machine. I've done it that way before and had no trouble.

So, now I have a lovely new sketchbook to use.

I have also been doing some mono-printing with some eucalyptus leaves, I think they were too big and I don't know if I'll ever use them. In fact, I am much happier with my sun-printing results.

I might see what one or two look like with some stitching on them.

I have also been trying to draw everyday, just a little pen drawing in the concertina sketchbook I made.

That is a benefit of staying at home all the time, you get to play around with this and that.

I've also been quilting my latest improv quilt that I finally finished piecing together.

I have been busy and luckily we are locked down because I haven't done my art quilters homework. That's on my to-do list along with lots of other stuff.

Bye for now,


Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Wonder of Eyes

 Last week the curator of the Wonder of Eyes quilt swap Brenda Gael Smith organised a fun Zoom event to distribute the quilts. 

This exhibition was supposed to be displayed at the Australasian Quilt Convention last year, but of course that was cancelled. Sadly, this year's event will probably not take place after being postponed twice, so it was time to distribute the quilts.

Brenda is very clever with all things computer and she arranged a wheel with photos of all the quilts on the outside. Whenever the wheel stopped the next entrant on her list got the quilt. Only once did a person get her own quilt and the wheel had to spin again.


It was fun to watch and good to see some familiar quilting faces again even though it was only on-line.

My Peacock quilt went to Cindy who lives in the USA.

I won a quilt named Reflection by Catherine McDonald from New Zealand.

Reflection by Catherine McDonald

On the back she wrote, 'Sometimes reflecting back on events your memory is blurred regarding details. I have tried to show the reflection in the eyes being a bit blurred rather than crisp'.

The other news is that 2 of my grandchildren had their birthdays, Jack turned 5 and Anna turned 3. Just like last year we are in lockdown and their parties were cancelled. We bought a little bike for Anna and left it at their door. Apparently, she absolutely loves it. We bought some Lego and a transformer toy for Jack but I didn't get a photo of them, but he was just as thrilled. Hopefully, they can have a party next year!!

Bye for now,


Saturday, 14 August 2021

Exhibition news

 There is not much happening exhibition wise in Australia, here in Melbourne we are currently in our 6th lockdown, where there are only 4 reasons to leave within 5k of your home. Everyone is getting pretty sick of it.

However, exhibitions overseas are starting to open up.

There is a travelling exhibition curated by Brenda Gael Smith called Open Borders, they are travel inspired quilts from Australian artists. We cannot travel but our quilts can!

There was a lovely advertisement featuring my quilt, Magical Coral Reef.

The exhibition will travel with the Mancuso shows this year.

The World Quilt Show is currently an on-line exhibition and that is on at the moment.

The quilts will be on show in person at

The Pennsylvania National Quilt Exhibition 16th - 19th September

Pacific International Quilt Festival 14th -17th October

Quilt and Sewing Festival of New Jersey 17th - 20th November

There is also going to be a Portrait exhibition at the same shows and my quilt was selected to be in that too. This exhibition was curated by Phyllis Cullen, I did a on-line portrait class with Phyllis and we continue to meet monthly via zoom for a critique session, which really helps to keep everyone motivated. 

My quilt of my grandson Jack climbing a tree will be in that exhibition.


Another exhibition called the Wonder of Eyes was supposed to be on show all over Australia in 2020, then all shows got postponed to 2021. Unfortunately, now most of the shows have been cancelled this year as well. The little quilts are going to be returned to us. I did a peacock and there was a lovely post on Instagram showing some of the postcards and my peacock was in the front.

We are still wondering if the Australasian Quilt Convention will go ahead in December and our Victorian Quilt Show in November, but it is starting to seem unlikely.

Bye for now,


Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Digital Cloth Magazine

 I am one of the artists featured in the on-line magazine called The Digital Cloth issue 8. It is a great art textile magazine produced by Australian textile artist Caroline Sharkey. 

The Digital Cloth issue 8

I was very honoured to be included because there are always so many wonderful artists featured. I speak mostly about my Coral Reef series of quilts. The magazines are jammed packed with lots of photos and articles by various artists from countries around the world and not very expensive either.  A great value e-magazine.

I have done a couple of other articles for different groups lately. One is coming out this month for my local quilting group, Waverley Patchworkers monthly newsletter. I also did an article for our Oceania SAQA group about my studio. It's not really a studio, I took over the rumpus room when my children grew up. I really love being in that room though. 

Before I took over the rumpus room, I used to use my larger than normal laundry, now I use that area for dyeing and  preparations for sun printing.

Wet studio

The funny thing is, I took some photos and was disappointed at how messy my room looks when I am in the middle of creating a quilt. So I had to tidy up and take the photos again!

Here is where I do my designing at one end of our old table tennis table. I use the table tennis table for basting my quilts.

Design area

I have two sewing machines set up all the time and I work from one to the other.

Sewing machine area

I have one wall of cupboards for all my fabrics. Here is a photo of one of the double cupboards.

I sort my fabrics by type and colour.

That's a sneak peak into where I spend my days. I am really busy trying to get a quilt done for AQIPP (Australian Quilts in Public Places). It is a juried exhibition that is on every 2 years and entries are due next month! The theme this time is Where in the World. I didn't have an idea of what to do for ages and in the end I thought of two ideas. I only have time to make one though.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Portrait Quilts

 This year, I had decided that I wanted to get better at making portraits. The trouble is that it is hard to make portraits when you are also doing other quilts for various shows.

In our Art Quilters group, we are continuing to work in a series. Our recent topic was Grace Crowley, an Australian abstract artist who was born in 1890 and died in 1979 ages 89.

I did my first quilt inspired by one of her paintings from 1951.

When I was in Adelaide earlier this year, I spent a couple of hours at their Art Gallery. I was thrilled to come face to face with a Grace Crowley painting.

Abstract by Grace Crowley 1953

When it came to making the second quilt in the series, I decided to include a portrait of Grace Crowley. That way I could fulfill the brief of working in a series and practice my portraits as well. I used four values to make the portrait and I used the painting that I saw at the gallery as my inspiration.

Grace Crowley 2

I was going to use a transparency method to make a portrait for my third quilt, but I somehow forgot my intention and made another fabric portrait! I did use a collage method though. It was a much more time consuming method to make a portrait but I was happy with the outcome.

Grace Crowley 3

It was only when I had finished quilting the third one that I realised that I didn't use a light enough value for her face; it came out too dark. Oh well, I just keep learning and trying!

Here is a photo of all three quilts together.

Grace Crowley Series 

Last year, I had done a portrait class with Phyllis Cullen on-line and she is having a travelling portrait exhibition in the USA with the Mancuso group. She invited us to submit one of our portraits to be considered for inclusion. 

I remembered a photo that I had taken of my grandson Jack last year. We were just coming out of a four-month lockdown and the playgrounds were being opened up. We still couldn't meet at our houses but we could catch up at a playground. It was such a happy day and the children were just as thrilled as the adults to be out and about.

I dropped everything and spent all my time making the quilt, the deadline was approaching and the pressure was on. I was absolutely delighted when my quilt was accepted for the exhibition.


I posted it the day that I finished, I just hope that it gets there in time, the post is so erratic at the moment.

I was happy with it; my family weren't that impressed though. I suppose a quilt can never look as good as a real photo. Probably a good reason to try a more artistic approach than realism. My daughter thought he looked like a scary doll from a horror movie, oh dear!

Anyway, I am not discouraged and want to make more and improve.

Bye for now,


Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Eco Printing Experiment

 I decided to try some eco printing, now that is something I never thought I would say! I was inspired by a You Tube video I saw as well as one of my fellow art quilters who was also having a go.

I found an on-line beginner class by an English lady called Caroline Nixon, she was very thorough with her advice.

Eco printing

You have to have a mordant for the leaves to print onto the fabric. You can buy iron sulphate powder in shops but I found an old rusting saw that my husband still had in his garage and soaked it in water and vinegar for a few days.

Making iron water

I forgot to take a photo of the iron water a few days later, but it was quite rusty looking. I had to pour the water through paper towels a couple of times to get the rusty bits out and just have the iron water.

I rinsed some raw silk into the iron water, rung it out and then placed leaves on the top.

I tried all different leaves to see what worked.

I rolled up my bundle of leaves using an old rolling pin and plastic wrap as a barrier. It's important to roll it tightly.

My leaf bundle

Then I had to wrap up the bundle to keep it together while it was steaming. I used some crepe bandage that has a bit of stretch.

Leaf bundle wrapped

Here it is steaming for One and a half hours


This is the first raw silk that I tried, all the leaves printed.

You get a clearer print if you put the back of the leaf onto the fabric.

That was so much fun, I thought I would try again with another piece of silk, but this time the fabric was a bit too wet and the print was a bit blurry. I used rose and camellia leaves, the camellia leaves don't print very well.

Blurry print

I quickly tried again but this time I ironed the fabric so it was almost dry, I still managed to get a print from the rose leaves but the fabric had been too dry. The yellow on the right was me trying the camellia leaves again.

Rose leaves

I had run out of time and iron water by now and so that was the end of my experiment.

I actually enjoyed it much more than I expected. I learned that I loved the smell of the leaves steaming and you need the fabric to be damp but not too wet or too dry. I also learnt that deciduous leaves print the best. They have the most tannin when they are about to drop off the tree, so autumn leaves are perfect for eco printing.

I will definitely try again one day; I don't know if I will start to include eco printing in my quilts but you never know!

I do enjoy experimenting though, it is fun.

Bye for now,


Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Sun printing

 We had a couple of days of sunny weather last week. It is the middle of winter and it wasn't warm but I thought I would grab the chance to do some sun-printing to prepare for an upcoming project I have in mind.

Here are some leaves sitting on some fabric waiting for some magic to happen.

Sun Printing with leaves

I want the fabric for a nature inspired quilt so I didn't want the fabrics to be too bright.

Here is the result of that fabric.

Sun printing result

After I had removed the leaves, I painted over with some yellow paint and then I added some olive green paint to make it more nature inspired rather than bright.

I also painted a fabric and left it in the sun with loose folds, once again I painted it twice for a stronger effect.
Sun printing with folds

I wanted to use up all my left over paint, so I put a stencil on some fabrics.

Sun printing with stencil

That was a very clear print, I think I'll be able to use them as applique in my project.

Some of my sun prints didn't have enough texture on them so I decided to add some flour resist. I hadn't done any flour resist since last year but luckily I could look up my old blog post to remember how I did it.

Here is my post on Flour Resist from last year.

I cracked the first one a bit too much and so the lines got a bit thick.

Sun printing and flour resist

I actually just gently tapped the stiffened flour on the back next to get a finer result.

Flour resist

Next I put some flour resist on plain white fabric, thinking I could paint it later in whatever colour I wanted. I was very gentle with the cracking this time and the lines were very fine.

Very fine flour resist

I think I will be able to use these fabrics in my upcoming quilt, I hope so anyway. I am trying something new this time, inspired by my recent collage work. I want to transfer what I have learned on paper to fabric.

Bye for now,