Monday, 21 June 2021

Walls and walls

 I'm sorry for being so late.  No excuses except procrastination which then lead to creating it's own series of logistical problems.  So I've done two.  One is based on my original idea that has been in my head for months and the other jumped in after I had seem some of your works.  


The first is based on a small dry stone wall of blue slate at the cottage which protects a small garden from the forest above.  I have an indigenous plant called lobelia cardinalis which blooms faithfully every year.  

The second quilt is based on a picture that I took whilst on a trip to Israel, Palestine and Jordan when one of our daughters was doing a post doc in Chinese history at the Hebrew University.  

We had a very interesting trip to Bethlehem, a place that Israelis are not allowed to visit.  We stayed in a lovely old hotel, met many friendly people  and were dismayed by the wall.  Banksy owns a hotel which used to have a lovely view but a wall was built literally across a narrow road and this is now the view.  Hence the name of the hotel:  The Walled Off Hotel.  The wall itself traverses Palestinian lands, takes away farms and olive groves and is definitely an eyesore.  There is of course too much history on either side, but often we only hear one part of it.  

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Trump's Wall

Apologises for being so late, but, finally, here's my piece. I very rarely ever make a political piece, and I really hope I don't offend anybody, but I found that as Trump's presidency continued in the USA I got more and more annoyed with him. Towards the end I felt real anger with his treatment of people, and his flexibility with regards to the truth. When I started to think about walls, all I could see was Trump's wall between the USA and Mexico. So here's my piece....
It's a combination of two images. For the background I used a piece of public artwork installed in Soho, New York, in October 2020. It contains 20,000 proven lies told by Trump during his time in power, coloured by topic. The foregound is from a photo of the metal fence installed in places between the USA and Mexico where someone manged to temporarily install some pink see-saws connecting the two sides. I've made the bars from a translucent fabric so that you can see through the wall to the lies beyond. The background and foreground actually have different perspectives, a nod towards the divided opinions about Trump, and also because I felt it made a slightly more interesting effect. Why did it take so long? Firstly I had forgotten the deadline was coming up, and only remembered a couple of days beforehand, just as I was leaving for the first visit to my mother for 9 months. While I was there I decided on the main design, but not on the method of making it. It was only when I was home again that I realised that there was no way I was going to be able to piece the background as I had hoped, and I would have to paint it. This took so much longer than I expected!! Everyday I would add another colour, then run out into the garden to take advantage of the good weather. When it came to adding the bars I found I had to use fusible bonding to keep them straight but as the fabric was so thin the glue oozed through the fabric causing me problems with the sewing - and I didn't dare iron it for too long as I know the chiffon would shrink and distort if it got too hot. Finally the outline of a person on the see-saw was added by hand. It's still not quite finished as I'm trying to decide whether to bind it as normal, or whether it would be better with a facing. I'm not sure whether I like the final image or not, but at least it allowed me to vent some of my feelings. Now, if we could only change Brexit.........

Monday, 31 May 2021

War Remnant


War Remnant

The collapsed stone walls of a blockhouse.

A blockhouse was a small fortress, many being built by the British forces from available material found in the immediate vicinity. Each one housed and protected a few soldiers, but its value was in erecting many of them within sight of each other, particularly along railway lines and supply routes. This tactic effectively restricted the movement of the Boer farmers who depended on mobility across the vast open veld of South Africa during the Anglo Boer War of 1899/1902. The conflict ended over 100 years ago, but the remains of these fortifications can still be found around the country.




Creating the stones of the wall, I once again resorted to teabags with organza overlay, drawing in the rock outlines with a fabric pen and Pentel fine-liner.

I found a half-dyed fabric for the misty, overcast sky, across which I wrote some lines from the poem, ‘Bridge guard in the Karoo’ by Rudyard Kipling.

The frame was made from imitation leather with the buttons helping to secure it to the background.




                   My reference photo

Yorkshire Drystone Wall

Thank you to Amanda for such a good theme. I had much fun with this, having clearly seen too many (if that's posible) TV programes from and about Yorkshire, so this design was in my mind from very early on.

Yorkshire Drystone Wall

At first I found it very difficult to choose between drystone walls and woven hazel/willow fences, being very fond of both. In real life I think willow is much easier to work with, than stone, having made a willow basket and some deer protectors for small fruit trees. But for my quilt the stones won! I have collected Colour Catchers for years, and it was nice to make a stash backed with heat'n'bond and get the sissors out. 


Cotton fabric, Colour Catchers ®, Heat'n'Bond ®, variegated cotton thread, acrylic paint and fern leaves for monoprinting.

Starting point


 I decided to go with the figurative with this challenge as fences and walls have featured literally in previous challenges of mine.  This piece is probably the simplest in all fields that I have done and yes the design is not unique, however, I think it makes the strongest statement of all my pieces.

My apologies as the pic is not the clearest.  I discovered too late this morning that I had not photographed it and have had to use my tablet. I will take a better shot later and replace it.

Walls are more permanent structures and shut out the problems or issues, fences can be readily moved or removed, however it is a public statement on where you stand on issues whatever side of the fence you are standing.  Unfortunately they are too easy to erect and very difficult to discard and often still leaving a mark.

Amongst many of these societal problems in the world, lock down has aggravated many of the problems in my country. Gender Based Violence is topping our list at the moment and it is very sad and very difficult to fix.

Very simple construction of whole cloth and hand appliqué .  I probably should have checked my pens also so might go over the writing to enhance it more. The fence stakes are painted lutradur and the wire brown ribbon.   I initially couched down the wire but it flattened the piece so they are now loose and the stakes are attached with simply.

Wish I was here ...

I think I've written too much so do feel free to scroll past the ramblings!

I started thinking about this challenge by looking for fences locally and was surprised to discover that there were very few that weren't totally covered by foliage, other than the sterile six foot high panels that appeal to some. So I went off in a different direction and ended up totally overwhelmed by the possibilities offered by political and emotional 'fences'.  Given that this was going on as we endured our second lockdown in England I wasn't able to find a way through the multitude of ideas that presented themselves.

Fortunately, having recently discovered Mylio I'd set myself the task of collating my various on-line photo collections, and whilst that task isn't complete (Will it ever be?) I found my fence as I worked through my holiday photos.

Several years ago we were delighted when my daughter and her husband invited us to join them and their children on their annual holiday in France. (And no, we're not there as free onsite babysitters, it really is a family holiday.) We've rarely travelled out of the UK for our holidays so this was a double adventure and I loved it. 

Until 2020 we've been away to France together every year since and I'm still enthralled by the experience. Spending extended time with the family, the warmth and sunshine, the food and the wine, visiting places I've read about but never thought I'd visit, the food and the wine, the evening sounds, the light, the food and the wine .... you get the idea.
Two things in particular will always stay with me - pinching myself as we walked along the causeway towards the iconic Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy thinking we're here, we're really here shortly after arriving and seeing the beach from the top of the dunes in Brittany which never loses its' appeal.  Time spent on the beach is pretty special and we can usually find somewhere quieter to visit. Our family love the water and beaches become extended sports grounds, why sunbathe when you can play games, fly kites, build castles and play in the waves?

So the photo I've used is typical of the fenced approach to the beaches we've visited. I enjoyed re-creating the image even though my machine has suddenly refused to stitch any more marram grass. I've painted, used Inktense pencils, acrylic paint sticks and stitch to re-create the picture in my head and had a wonderful time, just feeling the sun, listening to the sounds and remembering happy times with the family that I was missing so much.

Graffiti Graffiti

 I thought I was not going to make it having gone through Plan A (piece inspired by Gaudi mosaics in Guelf Park, Barcelona, or a piece based on a photo I took of a fence on the coastal path along the Jurassic Coast, here in Dorset), Plan B (couldn't find the photo so started designed a mosaic wall with dolphin as a proposition for Poole Borough Council as a dolphin is their logo) and finally Plan C.

This was one of those lightbulb moments.  I was watching a SAQA presentation of their 50 quilts for 50 years + talks by Michael James, Valerie Goodwin and Katie Pasquini Masopust. 

Katie's present style to incorporate paintings within a quilt of her painting got the idea started.  I remembered my Graffiti quilt from years ago and how that would be a good point to start from.  Then I had another idea to take the colour out of my quilted background to contrast with the original quilt.  I also decided not to reproduce the whole quilt again but to focus on my 'tag'.  I'm happy that it does not look like a Katie 'wannabee'.

So, my wall is a canvas: a place for opinion, revolution, leaving your mark, deviance, protest and just plain old artistic expression.

The bricks are fused to grey felt.  The tag is fused together and stitched in place.  The original quilt is a print on fabric.  Small white dots are acrylic paint.  Size 24" x 18".

All in all I'm happy (and I finished it a day early).



Fences and walls have been used throughout history in the attempt to control flora and fauna, the movement of people, and to divide and protect.

My piece depicts Australia’s significant fences – the Rabbit Proof Fence and the Dingo Fence – along with, less visibly, our state and territory borders.


The Rabbit Proof Fence dates back to 1901 and was erected by early settlers to control the introduced invasive rabbit. It was largely ineffective hence, added to over the years. More can be read about it here.

Somewhat ironically, the Fence proved to be a lifeline to three young Aboriginal girls as they used it to guide themselves home after being torn away from their families by the colonial government authorities. If you haven’t seen the movie Rabbit Proof Fence, I highly recommend that you do. 

The fence is still standing and has value to pastoralists protecting their crops and livestock from a range of animals - native and introduced.


This is the longest fence in the world at 5,614 kilometres (3,488 miles), finished in 1885 and designed to protect sheep stock. Satellite pictures have shown that removing the dingo from the environment is actually having a negative impact on the eco system. More information on the history of the fence and its ecological impact can be found on these links.


We have 6 states and 2 territories. I machine sewed the borders to make them less obvious as they are, after all, not physical borders. However, we have seen so clearly over the past year with COVID-19 that they are indeed walls or fences, call them what you will, that can be made legally impenetrable when necessary.


The piece is made up of used teabags, dried, and emptied, stuffed with a square of batting then machine pieced.

I then used the drawing I made of Australia as a stencil. I lay it on the teabags and used two water colour blues for the ocean. I added a bit of rust water colour paint to a few of the teabags that were a little too pale for the amazing outback.

I machine stitched the state and territory borders and hand stitched the fences. Here are a few photos of the process.


Sunday, 30 May 2021


Thank you Amanda for giving us the option of a metaphorical wall.  I wasn’t too keen on doing bricks and/or fences so stepped out on a limb which I have explained below.  I discovered halfway through that this was definitely not going to be the easiest choice.  I layered white organza between two layers of Aquasol and did most of the quilting at the same time.  After dissolving the Aquasol I then layered this piece onto blue fabric and did more quilting to hold it in place.  I didn’t expect sand dunes to prove so challenging and after assembling it and quilting it I used Oil Paint Sticks, Gelato crayons, Inktense blocks and finally to get a misty look to the fog I used Luminaire paints.  I used a lot of paint to give it depth and life which led to much frustration on my part but in the end I had to leave it as is otherwise it might have been a disaster.  Nevertheless a good challenge as I was constantly second guessing myself.


Condensed information from Wikipedia:  The Namid Desert purported to be at least 55-80 million years old and is said to be one of the oldest deserts in the world.  It stretches for more than 2000 kilometres along the Atlantic coast (West Coast of Southern Africa) of Angola, Namibia and South Africa and the  sand dunes, some of which are 300 metres high and span 32 kilometres long stretch along this coastal region.  Near the coast the desert reaches daily temperatures of 45 degrees C.  Fogs that originate off shore from the cold Atlantic sea (Benguela Current) and hot air from the desert create a fog belt that frequently envelops parts of the desert.  Coastal regions can experience more than 180 days of thick fog a year which has proved a major hazard to ships thus it is named the Skeleton Coast, but is a major source of moisture for desert life.

 The fog is my metaphorical Wall as seen below.

Ammonite Wall


  We have twice stayed in the same holiday cottage in the Morvan hills in Burgundy. It is situated in the Parc Naturel Régional du Morvan, and the owner of the cottage was involved in the founding of the park. There is a wall at  the entrance to the cottage, which is made from the local stone, and which includes two ammonites, one of which is about twenty centimetres across. I decided to use this as the inspiration for my quilt, making a lino print. The rest of the wall is also inspired by a photo taken in the Morvan, but I suspect it is not the same wall. I painted the wall first of all, adding the ammonites after. I used machine trapunto to make the ammonites stand out a bit more, but it hasn't worked as well as I would have liked. I have sparsely quilted the rest, just where the edge of the stones should be, though it was rather difficult to determine where that would be. 

Four Seasons of Quarantine

I was inspired by the early fences in Taiwan - iron window grilles.

In the 1920s, iron windows became popular due to the need for burglary prevention in houses. The soft and malleable nature of iron windows made it possible for ironworkers to bend and forge them, turning the homeowner's imagination and wishes into an iron window flower so that each home could have its totemic imagery.

My quilt is a blurring of the four seasons when looking out during the quarantine period. The four colors represent spring (green), summer (blue), autumn (yellow), and winter (gray).

Due to the covid-19 epidemic, the world is currently in darkness in every field, and the global human is causing negative emotions in prolonged quarantine, but we still need to hold on to hope and the future! That's why I chose the most common totem of the windowpane - the clouds. This totem has a unique symbol in Asian culture - 吉祥 which means auspiciousness, happiness, and good fortune.

In terms of the quilt, the pieces are decorated with shiny threads to reinforce this positive idea.

Wishing this work can comfort your heart. 

Stay safe, stay well, stay positive!



I'm going to be late this month - sorry!! I managed to work out a design I'm happy with, but then a few days spent with my mother put the deadline out of contention. I've started -
and here's the proof. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has done.