Saturday, 15 September 2018

Festival of Quilts- Fine Art Quilt Masters 2018

photo of quilt masters brochurephoto of entry in brochure

Back in August I visited the NEC in Birmingham for this year’s Festival of Quilts. It’s a huge event in the textile calendar for exhibiting quilts, buying supplies and workshops for those interested. I was lucky to be shortlisted for the Fine Art Quilt Masters which is a juried competition for quilts that transcend into fine art rather than pure quilting. There were 21 quilts chosen this year from over a hundred submissions so I was very honoured to have my quilt “Multiverse” chosen.

It was good to see all the quilts on show during the festival as there was a huge variety of  techniques applied and quirky interpretations on themes. I went primarily to pick up my quilt after the festival finished but managed somehow to come away with a good stash of haberdashery and fabrics! 

Display of quilts Fine Art Masters exhibition


Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Multiverse - quilt for the Festival of Quilts

Multiverse- art quilt

For the past 3 months, I have been working on a very large wall hanging with the intention of submitting it for the Festival Of Quilts, Fine Art Quilt Masters competition. It is a big event in the textile calendar attracting huge visitors to the hundreds of quilts on display, workshops, exhibitions and shopping for craft supplies. It is held every year at the NEC arena in Birmingham and I visited it a few years ago and was impressed by the variety of work on display.

With the great intention of applying and making a quilt for entry for the past few years, I finally found the time to do it. Of course, having an idea to implement is also part of the worry as there has  to have a visual impact for a large piece (one side has to be at least 1 metre). I did’t have any set idea in mind as an idea organically changes once you start putting texture, colours and pattern together. I did though plan the top layer of the quilt to be a large cyanotype print but as I washed the fabric out, the print disappeared! Back to the drawing board...

So here it is. "Multiverse" is a large wall hanging completely made from antique and vintage fabrics. The main textile is a 19th century hemp dyed in indigo, worn, patched and mended. Behind the holes and patches, contrasting coloured and pattern fabrics, vintage quilt pieces and Japanese textiles are placed.

Detail of stitching on quilt

Areas of the quilt are heavy stitched by hand to create texture and colour. I have mainly used dyed linen and silk threads with sashiko cotton thread being the bind through the fabric layers. The finished piece is 147cm x 125cm with three main layers. The whole piece is in fact, all hand stitched as I love stitching by hand, but also adds the unique element of human contact. I am not a precise stitcher and would never call myself an embroiderer, but nor am I interested in perfection either! 

The striking red that edges round, is from a 19th century quilt backing and the outer fabric is from the edges of a paste-resist 19th century Chinese textile. These wonderful fabrics have a lovely soft worn look that only the passing of time can produce.

The title of the piece, "Multiverse" refers to the hypothesis of alternative universes coexisting with our own. The swatches of colour, pattern and densely stitched areas represent the different time dimensions. The constant renewal of materials whether it be molecules, gasses or fabrics is a source for exploration and the “boro” ideology is an excellent example of reusing textiles to this effect.

I am thrilled to say that it has been shortlisted with 22 other amazing quilts for the Fine Art Quilt Master competition with the winner being announced on the 8th August after the judges have seen the quilts. They will then be on show at a special gallery within the exhibition hall from the 9-12th August. I will be visiting the Quilt Festival myself and will post some photos of it in situ in a later post.

Detail of patches and stitching

Friday, 25 May 2018

Work in progress...

I’m currently working on a large quilted hanging to be hopefully on display at the Festival of Quilts in NEC Birmingham this summer. All made from antique and vintage textiles, mainly 19th century, it follows my inspiration of the Japanese technique of “boro”. It is all hand stitched in a running stitch, densely in some areas.

The main fabric is a indigo dyed hemp from 19th century which had been patched and darned. These lovely areas show the passage of time and evidence of unknown person’s handiwork, a dream for any textile enthusiast! I have mixed vintage quilt pieces with Japanese patterned fabric also vintage, some appliquéd, others reversed appliqué. 

All the stitching is by hand as it gives such a lovely texture and randomness using linen, silk and cotton threads. It is an important part of the overall look of the piece and part of the “boro” aesthetic to have a human element and irregularity about it. 

I love having flashes of colour so have used a 19th century red cotton that was originally a quilt backing. Now it’s back to be used in a quilt again!

Tuesday, 27 March 2018


detail of textile

Early last year I made this textile piece but wasn’t quite happy with it. I wanted to make it look more worn so what better way than to leave it outside! So I have all winter in the snow, wind, rain and occasional sunshine. It looks a lot more weathered and still needs some more work done before I think it’s finished.

detail of textiledetail of textile

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Landmark Art Autumn Fair 2017

Back again to a favourite venue of mine, the Landmark Arts Centre in Teddington for their Autumn art fair. This time I was selling with other artists not just a specialist textile fair, so I got to show my work to a different audience. There were some jewellery, ceramics and photography stands as well as fine art and mixed media. A good mix of subject matter was present though nature seemed the most popular theme.

As always at this venue, the people were friendly and curious about my techniques, the cyanotypes in particular capturing interest. It’s very important to get feedback on your work, to see how others see it as I get a bit dismissive about my work, seeing it too much without distance can have a negative effect. Having it hung altogether on the wall is invaluable. I certainly noticed that I have too many moons in my work!

It’s great to meet other exhibitors and chat about their experiences selling their work, a good way to learn from others. It was a successful show for me with enquiries afterwards too. This was the only in person show I’m doing for the moment, though I will have some work on show at the studios I’m based at in early December. A chance to have a wee rest!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Selling event at the Landmark Art Autumn Fair 14-15 October 2017

Orion’s arm: dyed hemp with embroidery and cyanotype print.

This weekend I’m going to be at the Landmark Art Autumn Fair in Teddington selling my latest work. There will be some large textile hangings as well as framed textile works.

Over the summer I’ve been making lots of cyanotypes with a botanical theme taking advantage of the sunshine and the summer flora.

This will be my only selling event in person for this year as other work commitments clashed with the Christmas markets I had planned. Hopefully there will be others next year. 

Moon rise: shibori dyed canvas and cyanotype print.

Cyanotype print of feather and flowers.Cyanotype print of flowers.

Moon over clouds: cyanotype prints

Friday, 9 June 2017

Getting ready for Autumn/Winter!


The summer months are usually spent gearing up for Christmas markets. I'm taking a small stall at Sparkle contemporary craft and gourmet food fair this November in Teddington. I haven't shown here for a few years so I'm specially making smaller items as Christmas gifts. *UPDATE: sorry, had to cancel this event. :(

Using my new skill of shibori dyeing, I will make some beautiful scarves and have already started making cyanotype prints while the sun still shines..