Thursday, August 08, 2019


My apologies for not blogging more when I had promised myself to blog more this year. But life has been busy and I can't believe we are into August already.

The house settlement went through  on 19 July and I can now say my town of residence is Morwell. The house I bought was in good condition but did need a brighten up with  a coat of paint and also needs some new appliances as the gas appliances that are there, look like they have been there since the house was built in 1950. So friends, and one of my daughters, have been helping me with the painting, and finally I have spent a few nights there, and the house feels good-  the sun comes up  through the  large windows in the lounge, I can see morning cups of tea, sitting in the early mornings as the day slowly starts it's whirr looking out that window, and other than the view of houses across the road  I can see hills in the distance and the chimney stacks of the power plant generators belching smoke. I have posted things that are going on on Facebook and Instagram ( the Instagram feed is at the bottom of the blog) but I thought I would share progress so far as it seems to have occupied a lot of my time.

The kitchen is not quite finished yet as a new stove will be installed and a range hood,  and the doors will acquire porcelain knobs, but already it feels so much brighter than it was and I can see this will make a lovely space to be in as it will be an eat in kitchen.

 The way the kitchen looked, and how it looks now after  some painting. I am not the best painter in the world but the room certainly feels much brighter and as the house was built in 1950 it actually has window sills so I can see a collection of greenery in the window! I have always wanted a kitchen with blue in it and I like the retro feel of the cupboards which were in good condition. The lino will probably be replaces with polished wooden floors. The tiles on the wall will stay, but the bench top will probably change as will the sink.

The loungeroom has also had a cosmetic makeover with painting and taking out an ugly laminated brown cabinet which was so well built we had to take to it with a hammer to break shelves as there was not other way of getting them out. The brick of the chimney was also covered int eh same brown laminate which made that loungeroom seem really dark. The Axminster carpet is in good condition but also hid good hardwood floors, so the carpet will come out despite it's insulating qualities, and the floor will be sanded and polished.

Before and after. The venetian blinds will also be doing a disappearing act, and I am thinking linen might make an appearance ( I just need to go to France and go  to Brocantes... it may have to wait awhile) I have lovely big picture windows which also have sills and may well turn into a jungle!

So we have been trying to get as much done as we can as my friends also have incredibly busy lives and after next week I should be there permanently. The paint takes longer to dry at this time of year and getting things done always takes longer than hoped for, but that said I feel we have made good progress as two of the bedrooms have also been painted. the other bedroom needs to have wall paper stripped and will be  a bit slower in changing. The garden also needs work and I can't wait to get some sort of vegetable garden going!

Things have been incredibly busy apart from the house. The organisers of the Craft & Quilt Fair asked if I would do sit and sew sessions at the Fair in melbourne in late July and offered a good space for a wall display. I had quite a few people come and sit and stitch including one young woman who wasn't interested in that stuff, but who stayed to watch a friend, and who eventually  agreed to sit down and give it a try- and who declared this was nothing like the stitching she had had to do in school, and that this was actually fun! She came back several times to check that the needles and threads she had bought were the right ones and the fabric- convert convert! I guess that is what those little sessions are about, making things accessible for everyone!

I had a lovely wall on which to display my work so thank you to Expertise events for the opportunity. I wanted to build a mosaic of colour and show a lot of the different work I have done over the last 7 years or so.

I have also finally got around to embroidering the little fish linocut I made whilst still in Europe. It is only small ( about  15 cm square) so there is a lot of stitching packed into the little space! I will have this print for sale soon or message me if you are interested. Cost is $7 inclusive of postage.

Berry Retreat
Next week I head off to the Berry Retreat which is on 17 and 18 August which is always a great fun event, and there will be some  great displays and inspiring teachers.  There will be a display of embroidered works entitled Lady Without a Donkey- several people have done some smashing embroidery on this linocut- and I am so looking forward to seeing them all. If you have embroidered one we would love to display it- so it would be best to send it directly to Berry or deliver it on the Friday in Berry ( set-up day)

I will be bringing some of the work of the women of Boneca de Atauro for display and sale, including wall hangings and rapin hirik bags. Will also be displaying  some of my own work and will have prints for sale and we can sit and stitch!

Teaching at Material Obsession in Sydney at the end of August
Then it is back to more house  decorating and gardening and then on 31 August and 1 September I will be teaching at Material Obsession in Drummoyne- hand stitching and embellishing and machine stitching. These will be classes showing the techniques and simply stitches I use to create the effects that I do. If you are interested in joining the classes contact Material Obsession as there are still a few spots available.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

At Last- A house

After almost six years of house sitting, couch surfing and shed living, it seems that all things going well I have purchased a house in Morwell in the Latrobe valley. There were a number of criteria that influenced my choice amongst which was ready access to a rail line- for after last years scare of not being able to walk and drive for a period of three months, you can't be stuck on a bush block without any services, being closer to my mother rather than the 4.5 hour trek I had to do when I went to visit her from Gellibrand, and good access to Melbourne and medical care. It became readily apparent that most places with good access to rail services were beyond my means,  but there was a glimmer of hope for Morwell- so I have been searching since January in this locality (viewing houses was made a bit difficult by being away so much) and surprisingly when the housing market in most of Australia is experiencing a downturn- this does not appear to be the case in Morwell- and this is probably caused by the fact that houses are fairly cheap compared to elsewhere. So this week I took the plunge- I visited some awful awful places, I don't think my mother would keep her chooks in there, some pretty dreadful places and some not too bad ( most of these were outside my means) I eventually narrowed it down to three places, made offers, was accepted on one, but then the power of attorney overrode the owner and wanted more money, at which point I wasn't in the mood for dealing with legal shenanigans, so it came down to two. The house for which my offer was accepted had been in the one family since it was built in the sixties, and it pretty much in original condition including the axminster carpet, so pretty retro , but it looks like it was well cared for, it even has a pretty nice garden with a few fruit trees and lots of possibility- it has a garage hereafter to be called the print room, and three bedrooms, so I can have a spare room and work room- so all in all I am happy with this place and feel even happier that finally all my things will be in one space and that I will have a dedicated space to work, plus I have a pretty nice garden- greenery is a necessary part of my life  given I can't look at the bush anymore since leaving Gellibrand.

So I am trying to gather together some money to help cover the cost of stamp duty and conveyancing, so I am putting some of my work up for sale. Last year and the latter half of 2017, were devoted to creating the Traveller's Blanket exhibition- which took an enormous amount of work, but as they were committed to exhibition I was unable to sell any of them and I had no real time to make other work for sale. The Traveller's blanket series is entirely stitched by hand on hand dyed and printed fabric- and I can tell you they took a whole year and some months of my life to make- so this is reflected in the price they are- what would you want to earn for a whole years work?? Some of the Traveller's Blankets are still on tour in Canada and not sure what their next stop is- it's part of the Crossing Oceans Exhibit. I am discounting pieces but they also  need to seel at fair compensation for my time and effort and the originality of the pieces.

The work created by machine is cheaper as the time it takes to free motion stitch is a lot less than stitching by hand! However all farbics are hand dyed and or hand printed- using various techniques. Descriptions of the pieces and prices are underneath the photos of each piece.

The Blue Traveller's Blanket - measures 92 cm x 140 cms ( approx)- and is densely stitched. This blanket was inspired by a journey through my surface design techniques since I commenced hand dyeing fabric early in 1992. It contains pieces of fabrics that have been dyed, printed with linocuts and print gocco, breakdown printing- anything I have tried over the years really! For Sale $2,750AUS

The Waste Not Want Not Traveller's blanket- has been stitched on two layers of dhoti fabric and scraps  from the Stitching Project in India. All fabrics have been indigo dyed or resist printed and have been heavily hand stitched in a warm colour pallette. This piece measures 120 cm x 120 cm ( approx) It is for sale for $3000 AUS

Discovering Australia. At university I studied Australian history and was shocked how little attention was paid to the indigenous history of Australia- and indeed when you  look at the journeys of discovery it was apparent that the explorers were intent on claiming Australia as a Terra nullius- very rarely was local knowledge sought and some of the only times that  indigenous people were of help was to rescue these reckless explorers who thought they could conquer a continent. Each of the circles represents indigenous knowledge and cultural practices- using very simple stitches and the tracks around the circles represent the white explorers who skirted around that knowledge. it measures 47 cm x 90 cm  and is for sale for  $850 AUS

Machine Stitched Pieces

This piece is inspired by olive trees and has been stitched by machine and hand. It measures 57 cm x 28 cm and is for sale for $150.00 AUS  SOLD


Homage to Raoul Dufy and Paris. Raoul Dufy was commissioned at one point to create a cityscape of Paris for a tapestry. I thought it was an amazing project to have undertaken, and of course I love Paris. So I drew the cityscape back to front on papers and transferred it onto Lutradur, and then embellished the whole scene with stitch. I included this quilt in Musing in textile- as maps can take on all sorts of shapes. It measures  79 cm x 86 cm and is for sale for $550 AUS  SOLD

I love tree shapes and am also enamoured of the way foliage was represented in late medieval and early rennaissance times- often trees are given very stylised shapes. This piece is both applique and reverse applique and has been heavily machine stitched. it measures  62 cm x 100 cm and is for sale for $450 AUS

Banksias- my ongoing love of banksias emerges from time to time in a textile piece. This was made for Quilter's Companion Great Australian Quilts 2017  from memory. It is hand printed and appliqued and measures 72 cm x 126 cms and is for sale  $650 AUS

If any of these pieces interests you please email me on

I am also teaching some in the flesh workshops at Open Drawer in Camberwell . On the 5th of July I am teaching form and variation. This is a workshop  in which we do hand stitching and look at all sorts of ways for working with circles ( or squares or triangles- whatever your penchant is )

 On the 6th of July it is Transfer Printing which is a lot of fun. You paint papers with shapes/motifs or even resists and once the papers are dry the  colours are heat transferred onto lutradur , and then we will stitch. You will be able to paint  quite a lot of papers that you can take home and work with later. The Homage to Dufy and Paris quilt above was made in this way.

I will also be teaching the Traveller's Blanket class over a number of sessions so that you can create  your own textile tales and Linocutting and printing in September.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Things Aquatic

Those who follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook May have noticed some photos with things aqautic especially after my visit to the Aquarium in La Rochelle. But to be perfectly honest I did quite a few aquatic things in the late nineties and early 2000's as we often went rockpooling with my daughters  near Apollo Bay or the back beach near Blairgowrie when they were children. One of the aquatic quilts I made I combined machine stitch and hand stitch. The image is entirely created by machine and hand work and it measures 1.50 metres  by 1.2 metres. I don't think I ever  exhibited it as it was purchased by a visitor to my home. In hindsight ( and isn't that a valuable thing- not) I should have exhibited it- never mind. I had been searching for images of it and finally found some in a flickr account I no longer use.

From the dyeing I would say this piece dates from around 2001/2002- the little dots in the background is hand stitching, and looking at it now and given the boat trip I took yesterday to Cadaques- my mind is abuzz with ideas.

I decided to spend a week in Roses on the Costa Brava because suddenly I wanted to be by the sea to breathe it and  to just take in the colours it was also on the way to some teaching I am doing with Rosario Casanovas at her shop in Pals next weekend. I am teaching linocutting  ( Saturday), making a good design for linocuts and then the following day  (Sunday) embellishing the linocut by hand or machine. I believe there are still a few places available if you are interested- you can contact Rosario through her facebook page or simply message me and I will pass it on to Rosario.

So I have been working on a new linocut- around a sea theme and intend to make a series of them which may yet  build into something bigger.

 This linocut was inspired by the visit to the Aquarium at la Rochelle and once I get back to Australia and dye some fabric to suit it , it will be available for sale. I always do a trial print on newspaper- not sure why I started it- might have been what I have available at the time. But I find doing the trail print on newspaper gives me a good feel for whether the graphic qualities of the uis working as it has to compete with the text and/or images in the newspaper. I have been keeping my paper prints with the intention of making a book with them- one day!

Of course I had to include a sea urchin! The shapes of the coral and  life are just weird and wonderful.

Traveller's Blanket On-Line Class

There is still time to join the on-line class to create your own Traveller's Blanket- there is information on my previous post on my blog.  The idea is that you create your own visual narrative using stitch and fabric remnants. I have been teaching this class for a number of years now and am always amazed at how these blankets grow and how  many  get finished and how many wonderful stories  get told in the process. It's a way of showcasing precious remnants ( from your mother's sewing box, or travels ) and give them centre stage so they never have to be hidden away again!

 Some of the travellers' Blankets I have made in recent times when I have been without machine and preparing for an exhibition ( and this work is available for exhibition if any organisers are interested) If you would like to join the class it starts on 17 June 2019- after my return to Australia I can send further information if you message me. Cost for the course is $75AUS and can be paid via the Paypal button below or if in Australia by internet banking.

Last week I stayed with my friend Margo Bimler in Moux in Occatanie and finally  got some machine work done on a quilt i started two years ago when I was demonstrating for Bernina France at Pour l'Amour du Fil in Nantes in 2017. I store a sewing machine at Margo's house as I seem to be overseas almost as much as I am in Australia. It kind of languished after the event but recently Auriful sent me some more of their wonderful Mako 30 weight cotton thread and I felt inspired to finish the piece ! Thank you Aurifil for your wonderful thread colours!

The quilt measures 76 cm x 94 cm and has  been  entirely free motion quilted- I have embellished linocut panels- the central panel is composed of three prints repeated. The side panels were printed with a shaped pomegranate linocut which I made to  complement the pomegranates in the centre panels. The quilt is for sale for $900 AUS.  I have been looking for  a house to buy once I return to Australia- think - i will need to sell some quilts that is for sure! I really need somewhere where I can work consistently and have a proper workroom set up.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Time to Myself

The last two years have been so hectic with work and health things, and then selling my shed, that I decided to take a little time out from working and just sitting and being still. That didn't last for too long, as I seem to be incapable of  sitting  still. So gradually stitching drew me back and  some visiting of friends and a few sights- but not too many because the idea was to be still.

I have been staying in a friends mobile at Royan- and the weather was not too great, but on the other hand it gave me time to procrastinate and try a bit of this and try a bit of that and go for a few walks when the weather improved.

Then I went to visit another friend who lives  near La Rochelle and of course we visited the town and port, and the wonderful Aquarium. Sea Creatures are weird and wonderful, hard to believe that they are creatures at all sometimes, but they are,and the colours, luminosity and movements simply mesmerising. It gave me lots of food for thought not only as inspiration but also about how we must do better to protect this amazing planet that we live on, despite the best intentions of big corporations to destroy as much as they can so that life itself becomes endangered. And people seem to be totally blinkered to the fact that this is happening - you only have to look and see.

I  got enthused to finish a linocut I had been working on that was made by Jacinta da Costa from Boneca de Atauro whilst I was there in february and that got me back into some sort of stitching rhythm.

I then started on the  Lady Without  A Donkey linocut I made last year for the Berry Retreat. The idea was that people would work on them and we would mount an exhibition of finished pieces at the Berry Retreat this year ( August 17-18 2019 ) and perhaps travel it to other venues that might be interested.

There is still a chance to buy a linocut  printed fabric as I have the prints with me and I can send them here from France. I have a good selection of colours  and if you are interested just message me. The cost of the panel is $25 Aus inclusive of postage and the panel is hand printed on hand dyed fabric and measures approx 25cms x 40 cms. You still have time!!

Traveller's Blanket Online Class

I have had quite a number of requests as to when I am running this online class again and have decided that I will run it again starting on Monday 17 June 2019. The class consists of the delivery of pdf files  delivered on a fortnightly basis ( 4 lessons in all) with ideas and descriptions, dyeing instructions if you are so inclined and stitching ideas, and all sorts of other information and the setting up of a private facebook group for discussion and sharing of progress. You work entirely at your own pace as this is not something you can finish in a week. It is a contemplative process, and one that slows greatly and yet many people who have started blankets have finished them because there is so much of them invested in the piece. By this I mean you are encouraged to think of something you may which  to tell or illustrate but with stitch and cloth and as  it grows it seems to take on all  sorts of meaning- each finished piece that I have seen has been very special and also very beautiful- it does not matter if you want to  make your stitching simple.

I have put a Paypal button  on this blog post to pay for the class which is $75 Aus but if you are in Australia and would like to pay by way of bank transfer please message me and I will give you details. There is also a brief class description of you would like some further information.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Back in France

What a whirlwind these past few weeks have been, in fact  I was exhausted and am having a few days of doing nothing much at all, not even stitching. Only the  week before last we  were saying goodbye to the women of Boneca de Atauro and we ate  our last meal at a boat on the Yarra River. Melbourne with it's night lights and many people out and about on a warm autumn evening was like going to a giant party. The women loved their last days of tourist things but were also tired from  the busyness of AQC and being outside their own language. Cannot wait to see the women again!

Almost immediately after I had to pack my suitcase for France to attend Pour l'Amour du Fil, where i was a guest exhibitor and was also doing some teaching. After checking in and waiting  for several hours at the boarding gate we were told at 12.30 am that our flight had been cancelled for technical reasons. Whilst I  was glad to not be on board a flight with technical difficulties, it did mean processing 800 odd people for hotels, taxis and replacement flights by the airline, which took quite some time and I did not get home until 4 am to sleep for a few hours and turn around to go back to the airport. Fortunately they were able to get me on a flight which  got me to Paris on set up day, so I had some hope of actually setting up at the event in Nantes. The first day of the event was super busy with many visitors and I had to teach a full class in the afternoon.

I did actually manage to finish my wellness blanket on the day of my flight to France. I had to leave some captions out as my piece of blue cloth was not quite long enough. I think I will make a booklet of sorts to accompany the blanket as the captions that were left over were mostly about the creative process more than anything. After the Exhibition we took our time to drive back to Moux and visited friends, Caroline Higgs near la Rochelle, and Jane Rollason in the Charentes .The weather was pretty good so it was most enjoyable being on the coast and visiting Ile de Re.

I always love looking at different modes of transport- walking biking and sailing!

Piled rock mounds made by who knows whom, but a lovely contrast to the deep blue of the sea. It was also limited to a small part of the coast near the light house in attempt I  suppose to limit people  making them everywhere. And below the lovely ruins of the  Abbaye des Chapentiers, a silent order of monks who tilled the surrounding fields.

The two photos below are of a small village, Montolieu  to the east of Carcassonne known as a book village. As it is the beginning of the tourist season not all shops were open and I had hoped there might have been some indie publishers or bookmakers. We did visit a paper mill and inevitably I did buy some paper to make I hope a hand made book ( I have making books on my to do list- in fact on my doing list!)

Some bookish owls installed in a tree! And a rustic vignette.

And I finished my latest Blackwoods Dancing piece, i really like the pink hills in the background- a colour that happened because I did not have quite the right colour in my bag of threads awhile ago.