Monday, 26 April 2021



                                               19" x 37"

detail:  This work entirely hand embroidered and has taken me the better part of a year to complete.  Luckily I have had a lot of time on my hands, and needed to keep them (my hands) busy to keep my mind peaceful.  

detail:  this turtle was inspired by the photo below that I took while exploring the Galapagos Islands.  This was an unforgettable adventure that was in the true spirit of 'wanderlust';  defined by Merriam-Webster as a "strong longing for or impulse toward wandering"
Watching these prehistoric creatures wander was mesmerizing.  With seemingly no where to go they patiently and steadily kept on going.
detail:  this depiction was inspired by the photo below.

I began the project with the hand-dyed, yellow cotton and drew the 2 tortoises on to the fabric.  I created the shell, the under cavity of the shell, and the faces with embroidery floss.  Their legs I worked through with free motion stitchery because I wanted them to have the three dimensional feeling of the real dimpled legs.  After the tortoises were done, I felt that they needed a context since they seemed to be 'floating on the fabric' and so I worked hand dyed silk organza and cotton around them to set the scene.  Then I stitched seed stitch over the layers of organza. in various tones with embroidery floss.  Not a straightforward path to the destination, but then wanderlust is never straightforward.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote; " I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.  I travel for travel's sake.  The great affair is to move."  This is what I miss most during COVID.  The freedom to travel freely for travel's sake.  I have an itching lust for wandering.


Tuesday, 20 April 2021

weaving with fabric

Shades of Blue

93" x 75"

My third queen size covid bed quilt.  As you may have noticed I am always trying to come up with something new, as well as trying to challenge myself.  Not a pattern follower.  I was still working with scraps, and most of this fabric is from my hand dyed cottons.  Working with a very limited palette of hues, I was trying to create the illusion of depth shading from light to dark.  Since I wasn't willing to buy new fabric to get a more gradual shading affect, I am not sure this goal was met.  I also wanted it to look like the pieces had been woven like a warp and weft and too, not sure that worked out.

Nevertheless, because I have such an expert long arm quilter who has my back; (itchintostich Jeannie Jenkins) no matter what I put together she makes it work with her amazing quilting.
Many people don't care for a large rainbow of colours, and to that point, this quilt has already been claimed by someone like that who loves it.  
so.....the lesson is you just never know....and even if you think it wasn't all that successful in meeting your personal goals, it can still touch someone's heart.

This is the back of the quilt.  Really shows off Jeannie's stitching.


Sunday, 28 February 2021

quilt for Newlyweds


Wonky Log Cabin

I created this muted quilt for a young couple, recently married.
92" x 99"

As one of my quilting consorts suggested, if they get bored while sleeping with it, they can try and figure out what the pattern is!  This young couple is part of the cohort that decorates with minimal hues, focusing on greys, whites, and texture.  In an effort to respect their style, while still working with my scraps, I kept my colour ways minimal.  This is the second completed of my 5 queen size quilts that I have created during the pandemic lock down.

In this close up, you can see the beautiful quilting done by Jeannie Jenkins on her long arm machine.  We chose a heart pattern.  Corny perhaps, but appropriate I thought.  Jeannie is also known as "itchin2stitch" and I think she is an expert and pays exceptional attention to detail.

I created a braid that I inserted on the back of the quilt, using all the same scraps as the top. I love using a braid for its symbolic value.  the intertwining of two into one.  Like the log cabin design that is representative of the hearth and home, the braid suggests the joining creating harmony.

There is also an extra large log cabin on the back, just for fun!

Due to the pandemic, unfortunately, I was not able to attend this wedding.  so....I tried to convey how much I have been thinking of them, and sharing in their excitement, through this creation of love.  




Sunday, 24 January 2021

Waiting Too

Waiting Too

15" Wide by 40" High

Detail:  The title of this work references I piece I published here in November of 2018 which had been exhibited at OCADU.  I felt I had another image to create on the same theme.  These are the same goats who are waiting in the first work, and stitched again, using the photo/water soluble technique I use.  

detail:  The background fabrics are created by ME! All hand dyes on cotton and silk organza


Stitching leaves in the tree is hand done with embroidery threads, over hand dyed silk organza.

Monday, 18 January 2021

second set of covid posies

24" wide by 41.5" high

Covid Posies

Detail:  the first composition of these hand embroidered medallions was a horizontal one, and in my 'what if' musings: I wondered how this would work in a vertical composition.  I do find that it is helpful to go at an idea in more than one way sometimes.  In the end I think it is probably personal preference in terms of which you prefer, I don't think one way is considerably more successful than the other, but I am certainly interested in your feedback.  The previous version was posted in November.

Detail:  this detail demonstrates how the centre pops out from the background.  Every centre was hand embroidered, but in this work I did more embellishment with the machine in free motion when attaching it to the background.  The more sewing, the more it pops out.

Detail:  All the machine stitching on the background as well as on the medallion is with free motion, the stitching on the petals became more wild as I carried on and my ideas got looser.

detail:  The background fabrics, both the green and the grey, are from my hand dyed collection. The green piece had quite a few different layers with different techniques of dying and printing.


Monday, 28 December 2020

Critique: Helpful or Hurtful

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in an on-line critique process.  I chose this work to have reviewed as I put an awful lot of effort into it and yet, have had it rejected from a few calls.  Since the figures are hand embroidered and the background is painted/printed/dyed I did wonder if it was this contrast that created a disconnect for the viewer.  

The viewers could only see the work from a distance on their screens but this vantage point brought out interesting points.  Although all comments were positive about the figures, there was much critical commentary about the background.  It wasn't what I expected.  Many didn't understand that the red painted shape was an apple, but even if it is, it was suggested that it is too close to the figures and out of scale.  
other comments included:
  • The dark spot over their heads was confusing
  • they seem to be floating over the background rather than IN the scenery
  • the little strip of blue sky at the top maybe unnecessary

Since I worked on the figures for so long I am willing to cut them out and re-create a new background for them.  That is definitely on my 'to-do' list.

However I wondered if you would be interested in weighing in on this critique, not to mention critiques in general.  I had thought that I was lucky to have been chosen by SAQA for this opportunity.  But some people have let me know that I was very brave to do this and they wouldn't be able to expose their work to strangers in this way.  What do you think?  Critique: helpful or hurtful?


Wednesday, 16 December 2020

self portrait

Self Portrait

20 inches wide by 17 inches high including frame


This work is entirely hand embroidered with chain stitch.  
The embroidery was stitched onto hand dyed cotton.

Second Detail

This work was based on this photograph taken of me, by a very good friend, a very long time ago.  Recently, our paths crossed again, and he gifted me this photo that he had saved all these years. He reminded me that he was an avid amateur photographer at the time, and even did the developing himself.  I do wonder why he kept this photo of me for over 30 years. I have my theories, and you can have yours, but I can suggest that the moment he caught does seem quite intimate.

Although the hand embroidery was extremely time consuming and labour intensive, I do find it is helpful for settling the mind and soothing the spirit.