Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

Well, we're about to move into another year and I would like to say how much I've enjoyed working with the group and what fun I've had.  The build-up to each unveiling and the support from everyone is wonderful.  I'm really looking forward to this coming year and more sharing of our talents and work.

Father Christmas very kindly arranged to have my finished embroidered icon framed and it is now proudly hanging on my bedroom wall watching over me as I sleep.  I have since discovered the image is of either St George or St Demetrius.  It is from an icon, probably a gift from Emperor Justinian, and is kept at the monastry of St Catharine in the Sinai desert.  How do I know all this? - Keith found a book by Sister Wendy (she's famous on BBC) on icons - perfect!

Anyway, here it is in the frame.

All the best everyone.


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Happy Holidays!

This is to wish you all a wonderful holiday, a wonderful break, safe travelling if you are going away and looking forward to a creative and fulfilling 2011 for all of us.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Happy holidays!

Hi All - the image you see is a small part of a quilt for a client who Helena referred to me a long while back. The client is a fan of the art of John William Baker, an engineer who lived in Quebec and made art in his free time. The client wanted me to interpret a piece of Baker's art into a king size bed quilt. The quilt is complete. It was superbly quilted by Colleen. Although I did not like the design at all, nor was I thrilled to embark on this project, I must say it has been exciting and creative and I have learned a fortune. The client and the artist's daughter are coming on Thursday to collect it - so do not breathe a word until then please Helena or anyone else who may know him.

Happy holidays to all of you. May you enjoy happy and safe times with your loved ones which will provide you with warm memories that will last for many years to come!

a few things...........

i have been following our blog and wanting to reply since phil posted her wire ornament. here goes......

those wire ornaments bring back feelings of nostalgia - thanks for posting that - also reminded me to buy Christmas gifts for my hairdresser, postman andnewspaper person. Thanks phil

i know heather's cards well - we saw them last year and this year and they do get better and better. read with warmth about rosemary and when i saw her photo, i thought that i had met her - maybe at helena's gallery? she looked so delighted at having bought a piece she loved (those pieces are easy to love). and now the caregiver has one as well - rewarding to have your work so treasured , heather. how wonderful for those who know her to be part of the life of someone so 'in it.' for sure she will be sorely missed, but it sounds as though she lived life to the full. may her family and friends be comforted by the special memories she created and the good name that she had.

Rosemary and Heather's Red Piece

I took this photo of Rosemary when she bought Heather's piece at the gallery two years ago. I am so happy to have this photo: Rosemary was a beautiful person and I am glad to have known her.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Xmas Greetings

Best wishes to you all for a Happy Holiday! Here is a photo of the fabric Christmas card I sent out this year. Maybe next year I will get around to making an actual card for each of you!

Christmas Gift

Almost two years ago, Helena held a group show at her gallery called "Red Alert". I submitted two pieces, and they both sold, one to a dear friend here in Hudson, Rosemary Lombardi. This was the third piece that Rosemary had bought from me and of course I was thrilled.

Rosemary was diagnosed with colon cancer five years ago, at the age of 60. She lived life to the fullest in the last five years, traveling to Italy twice, going to fitness class, reveling in the company of two little grandchildren. About 5 weeks ago, she asked me to visit her to discuss a Christmas gift for one of her caregivers, Kate. We looked at some of my finished work, but in the end I offered to make her a smaller version of the Red Alert piece, which Kate had admired.

Rosemary passed away on December 11, and her funeral was yesterday. This morning I delivered the framed piece to her husband Peter. Right up until her last couple of days, Rosemary was busy planning holiday menus and gifts. Her family called her "The Little General". I hope that Kate will cherish this piece and that it will remind her of a wonderful lady.


Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2011

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Movie Director Challange

South Africa was invited to join France and Japan in a Challenge, the theme being 'Movie Director's'. 30 people from each country were invited and then 5 Movie Directors from each country and 15 other's were chosen as the 'theme' directors. One person from each country was allocated the same movie director and had to create a 50cm x 50cm piece. Result - 90 quilts, 3 quilts on each Movie Director. My director was Alain Resnais who I knew nothing about. Turned out one of his more famous films was Hiroshima my love ( Hiroshima mon amour) which I thought was quite apt in linking the three countries together..... Japanese theme, French Director and SA Maker! The background is a whole cloth which I screen printed. Alain's face is a piece of handmade silk paper, machine embroidered and painted. the 'Dome' is applique and then stitched and painted. The quilting is 'pebbles' or 'pearls' .....not sure what it is called, representing the millions of broken pieces after the attack, buildings and people!

What annoys me horribly but I have to work thru it as it cannot be changed is the slant of the writing. I used freezer paper cut outs to stencil and thought I had it perfect , aggravated with the quilting and the slant of the building .... ouch!

Great fun and a little daunting as I have never participated in anything as big as this.

The first showing of the Challenge was at the IQW2010 Show in Japan and it won Best Group Exhibition. It now travels in Japan, then France plus other countries and we in SA only get to see the whole exhibit ( although we do have pics) sometime in 2011 or 2012.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

I've just finished adding my latest journal quilts onto the Contemporary Group website, and thought you might be interested to see them all. They've not uploaded in quite the right order, the picture of myself was for January. This year I chose to use photographs I had taken personally, and then try a number of different techniques to portray them as mini quilts. I've used bonded applique, printing on fabric, printing on acetate (thanks Heather), using sticky-back plastic (thanks again Heather) and pure stitch. The December journal uses a technique you'll recognise from our own Reflections pieces, thanks to Dianne. I not only used the same technique, I used a photo of her dog as well.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Ammazulu African Palace

These should have come at the bottom ! Above are pictures of the interior of the hotel which includes graffiti on the walls!
This morning was spent at a boutique hotel called "Ammazulu African Palace" with my local quilt Guild. This is a vision that a local architect by the name of Peter Amm has carried for the last 40+ years. It finally came together over the last 5 years .... 2 years designing and 3 years building. The original idea was a museum to house his massive collection of african art, etc but it was scuppered by our local municipality as his property is on the edge of a magnificent gorge, Kloof Gorge, and is in a residential area, hence the boutique hotel. Above is the magnificent view over the gorge

This is the entrance to the hotel (actually running as a B&B at the moment). Below is the view thru the front door towards the pool and verandah. There are mezzanine levels on either side of the building which hold the 10 bedrooms, all with magnificent views.

This is just a taster of what's going on so if any of you find yourselves in my part of the world it is really worth a visit.

Friday, 3 December 2010

New Theme

I have doing some quilting - always a good time to let the mind wander around an idea for me.  With my background in architecture' structure' straight away said buildings to me, but I started to think about infra structures in our lives - utilities and transport for example.  Then I thought about the structure of our very being - our DNA.  Living on the beautiful Dorset coast with the Jurassic Coast and fossils nearby, I have often seen the structures of fossils - so what about a skeletal structure...?  What a fascinating theme - thanks, Heather.


PS  there's always de-structure....wicked me!

New Dates

New suggested quarterly dates suite me. I would prefer to stick with quarterly as well.

Love the new theme! I am so happy that I have been able to and still will be able to follow my own 'african' theme.

Structure ???? This will probably be a dead give away but having had the Soccer World Cup this year .........................!!!!!!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Deadline for our future challenges

I vote we stick with this new rhythm and go for three months from now - February 28th, May 31st, August 31st, November 30th.  That is unless you would all like to up the heat and reduce the time to two months?


Announcing the Next Theme

Congratulations, everyone, on the wonderful pieces produced for Frenzy.

Hilary has told me that it's my turn to choose the next theme.

Which is...

Structure. (Man-made or natural, interpreted as broadly as you wish.)

I hope you are excited by the possibilities.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


After a momentary blank on the subject, I remembered a scrap of graphic fabric that I had collected ages ago, chopped up a bunch of stuff with glitz and deemed it quite frantic. Unfortunately I had forgotten to put any adhesive type stuff down first and had to go through several manoeuvres of clamping and flipping to get my bits glued down.
Photographing it was difficult- I tried inside, outside, flash, no flash but could not get the glitz and lame to show.

Reflections of a Soldier

I appreciate that you all have been so patient with me on my "Reflections" piece. What I had originally planned turned out to be too technical for a 12 X 12 piece and I could not get it to look how I wanted (I hope to make it into a larger art piece at some point).
This piece is of my Godson and Nephew Zeke Grovenstein who is a US Marine. While he was in Afghanistan last summer, he snapped this photo of himself - he is a Humvee driver. With his permission, I altered the original photo and printed it on fabric.
I am so proud of him!

Fashion Frenzy

It always seems that getting dressed for a holiday party sends me into a frenzy - so when I found these nylon garter tabs in my sewing box they were perfect for how I feel...very "Scream"-esque!
I really had fun with this theme. Unfortunately, the details of beads, sequins and hot fix crystals do not "pop" in the picture as they do in real life.

3 to go!

well done to all of you and what fun. not sure why on earth my posting came out before a posting of heather's yesterday even though i did it afterwards. feel that the continuity is not as fluid because of this. any ideas on moving it so that it can be with the others will be great!
what is the next subject? and when is it due?
and come on you other 3 - i am running to my computer every few minutes awaiting the rest of the interpretations!
enjoy the day!

Frenzy! OK, I'm guilty of it not being an original design, but I've always been fascinated to see if an optical illusion of this sort will work in fabric. My first idea was an image that looks as though it is rotating, but when I looked at the complexity of the design I decided against it. This design seems to pulsate in it's original version, but I don't think it has worked in this medium. Not sure why - maybe it needed to be more complex at the centre where I simplified the design slightly. Anyway, I love the colours and I am pleased with the result of this challenge.

I found it interesting that four chose fish as the subject, a subject that never entered my head when I was thinking about the challenge. I love all the pieces posted so far, and look forward to seeing the rest.

When is our next challenge due?? As we moved this deadline forward, are we moving subsequent dates forward?? I'm happy to have the next date as 1st March.

Feeding Frenzy

Hats off to those who were able to express the state or emotion of frenzy.  I do have a second idea in my head which is NOT fish related but this was too tempting.  The herding of shoals of fish by sharks and dolphins is an amazing thing to watch and the image was so strong I couldn't escape it.

Loads of silver fish cut from gorgeous 'tarty' fabrics which a friend brought from Abu Dhabi were free cut along with some silvery, sparkly sheer fabrics.  They were fused down.  The ever spiralling lines were free motion stitched and the shark was cut from a very old piece of commercial fabric - one of the first produced in Japan to look like a hand-dye.  The background fabric is one of Heide Stoll-Weber's beautiful hand-dyes.



When I announced the theme for the next challenge, this is what popped into my mind. The red is crinkled paper strips that surrounded a gift I received last year. I knew it would come in handy sometime. There are shreds from previous quilts and some silk threads as well, covered with black tulle and quilted. My machine did not enjoy quilting through the thick red paper! The edging is made of several strands of novelty wool.

Feeling Frenzy

Deadlines approaching and I am consumed in background fill on a whole cloth. My 'frenzied' theme wasn't working out as planned, panic set in. Helena mentioned frenzy related to the Christmas season so I jumped on it. I had a nice afternoon working on this.

Feeding Frenzy

When I was in London in September my daughter and I were wandering around Selfridge's and came upon a couple of girls with their feet in an aquarium.  The latest in pedicures!  These little fish, garra rufa, eat all the dead skin.  It doesn't hurt and apparently is very effective in producing nice soft feet!

I loved yours Pamela as it so depicts what we are also going through on our roads here in Gauteng - roadworks, lane closures and deviations all over the whole of the Johannesburg and Pretoria area and even further afield - it really depicts how one feels when you are actually driving - the colours say it all.

Phil I really related to the sardine frenzy, as we well know that there is so much press coverage when it happens and it is amazing how not only the sardines but the people who get into such a frenzy on the beaches. I also liked your background as it gave such a good contrast and showed wonderful movement.

Heather your colours say it all - and it certainly gives the feeling of what you were conveying there - the black and white always makes such a difference which I tend to overlook when I am doing anything - gives it a definite zing!

Fish Frenzy

As some of you have already put your pieces up I thought I had better do the same! Mine is, as you can see, called Fish Frenzy. It is a phenomenon that occurs when either sharks or dolphins 'herd' the fish into a spiral of thrashing fish and they then swim through them in order to feed - well that is what I understand it to be.

I drew the whole piece first then drew each fish onto my dyed background and started with discharge paste on some to remove the colour, also fabric paint and then some of the fish are appliqued on top give it more depth. I also used fabric paint to create sunlight coming through the water as I wanted to give some variation of colour and texture - I'm not sure if I achieved this but tried to vary the colour of the water and the fish.


Torn strips of cloth, stitched onto background, threads not clipped. Not pretty, but I do think it conveys a feeling of frenzy.


Sardine Frenzy! Annually, in July, this phenomena takes places along the east coast of South Africa. The Sardines swim up the coast in their millions, most times very close to the shore, which causes a 'frenzy' amongst the men in their boats who are after the game fish who in turn are after the sardines and the net fishermen on the beaches.
Background a very appropriate whole cloth; 'predators' in the background painted using a freezer paper template; sardines are made out of fabric, hand made silk paper, painted and angelina fused onto the fabric. I did add a piece of netting over the fish before I stitched and then added a few beads.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Citrasolv Play

Here are three photos, showing some of the results of today's get-together. Our play group met at Colleen's, and we experimented with using Citrasolv on pages of old issues of National Geographic magazine. I brushed the solvent liberally on the pages, closed up the magazine, let it sit for about 90 minutes, and now I am the pleased owner of about 60 very interesting pieces of paper with random, abstract patterns of colour and shape.

I placed pieces of white muslin, rice paper and cartridge paper between the moistened pages of the magazine, but the transfers were not spectacular.

I can see using these papers in several different ways. First, collage directly into work. Second, isolate a pleasing image with a viewfinder and use it as the basis for a composition. Third, scan an intriguing paper image, then transfer it to cloth by means of T-shirt transfer paper, using an ink-jet printer. Gift wrap? If you go to the Citrasolv website, you will find an artist's page with more ideas. Copyright is not an issue, because the pages are obscured beyond recognition.

Great fun!

Sunday, 28 November 2010


The definition of the word 'frenzy' includes 'temporary madness.' The adjective 'frenzied' means 'frantic, wild.'

For those of us driving in Montreal during the past few months, the meaning of 'frenzy' was very obvious.

On the front page of the October 26th 'Montreal Gazette,' was an image called 'signs of the times.' I grabbed the newspaper and said 'Frenzy, this is it!'

Using the photocopier, I made numerous copies - enlargements, reductions, colored, black and whites. I cut up images, collaged them , photocopied them onto fabric, colored them in, stitched around them and my interpretation of 'Frenzy,' came into being!

Looking forward to seeing the others!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Rainy day

What better way to spend a rainy day than playing in my studio.  Silver fish everywhere.  Oh, not that kind -  the kind I'm making.  And on top of it all,  I'm working on my second idea, having shelved the first for a bit, and now have a third.  This is all very stimulating.  This being a deadline methinks!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

New Pages are up

Now that we have the new pages with images what does the group think about removing the tiny little tiles on the right?  I don't think I will be able to create any more because of the limitations of the Flckr and Picasa Album setups and Blogger. 

There are a couple of images that are smaller on these new pages - that is because of the sizes of the images that were uploaded.  If you have bigger images please let me have them and I will upload them for you - Heather and Patricia (or you can have a go at changing them yourselves).

What about adding the statements to these images?  Any thoughts?

And please can we have pictures of the two missing quilts asap?  10 days till we reveal the next challenge!


Watch this space!

I have just discovered you can add pages to our blog.  Over the next few days I will be adding pages for each of our challenges.  This will allow us to quickly hone in on the pieces without needing to scrol through or rely on the limitations of the widget in the right hand column.  Hurray for progress.


PS the pages are shown at the top just like a normal website menu bar.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Contemporary Quilt goes live

The Contemporary Quilt website went live this morning.  Have a look when you have a moment.


Sunday, 14 November 2010

Open Studios, sewing rooms and stuff

Firstly, congratulations on the recognition that being included in a studio tour by a group of artists conveys, Heather.  Well deserved.  And I spotted your beautiful little piece in the slide show of the benefice evening - it puts a lot of the others to shame.  I hope it is one of the first to sell and that it goes to a good home..

Ha!  I don't think you will gain anything from my sewing room - it hasn't progressed into a studio yet.  It is  purely for me and my mess and for that it is precious.  I have inherited a hotch-potch of storage - some old oak family pieces plus Ikea shelving.  I started writing about it and uploading photos and then I had a sense of deja vue - have a look at the posting back almost a year to the day - 15th November - and you'll see my space, Heather (it was before you joined the group).

And to think that in Paris I managed to sew in a tiny bedroom which doubled as an office and had a bed in it as well, and in Johannesburg I shared a narrow balcony!  Something about nature abhors a vacuum......?



Open Studio

I have been asked to hold an Open Studio for the Friends of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, June 1. Forty or so people will arrive on a tour bus. They will also visit a couple of historic homes (Greenwood and Maison Trestler), the Vaudreuil Historical Museum, and the studio of a local painter, Rita Shellard.

I am delighted of course. The catch is that after Christmas I will be moving my studio from its current ground floor location. I plan to take over two of the kids' bedrooms, now that they have moved out, knocking down the wall between them. I will have wet and dry areas, a kitchen sink, and a computer corner with a scanner. The furniture, lighting, display boards and storage units will all be moved upstairs too. I hope this will allow me to work bigger and more efficiently. At this point, my storage has spilled over to the linen closet, and I frequently conscript the large table in the family room for wet work.
Here you can see how I use the bath tub for storage of canvases, stretcher bars and big rolls.

If you have advice for me at this stage, I would love to hear it. Have ordered some backissues of Cloth Paper Scissors' Studio magazine. Maybe you could post some photos of your workspace and we could have a virtual studio tour!

Fibre Art Scene, Montreal

If you're interested in knowing what Montreal's francophone fibre art scene looks like, check out this website. Its slideshow features some of the many works that have been submitted to the Centre des Textiles Contemporaines de Montréal, mostly 20 cm square, for their fundraiser.

Wild, wacky and some of it quite wonderful, with very little quilting in evidence.

Friday, 12 November 2010


hi all - here are our nosegays. this was an interesting challenge organized by diane shink based on a workshop done in montreal with rayna gillman a few months ago.
i will attempt to identify:
top row - left to right: 2nd one is mine, 3rd one dianne robinson
2nd row: 2nd one is diane shink, 4th one marion perrault
3rd row: 1st one ann kaufman, 2nd one ?linda forey (is that correct linda?), 3rd one heather dubreuil
thanks to diane for issuing this enjoyable and creative challenge and to rayna whose name continues to be mentioned at every quilting get-to-together since she was here!
a great weekend to all

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Seeing Red

This afternoon I received a phone call to say I had one first prize in the fabric creations section of a competition that Crafty Computer Papers (where I buy my fabric printing sheets from and heat transfer papers, etc) runs each year.  I had entered my piece with Caitlyn in her red jacket at the sea.  You could have knocked me down with a feather.  I'm tickled pink especially as the prize is £100 worth of vouchers to spend with them (and a bottle of champagne).

Still can't believe it.


Preview of latest CQ challenge piece

Our Contemporary Quilt group have a new suitcase collection being assembled at the moment - submission deadline Friday.  As usual I have pushed myself to the wire and will have to send it special delivery tomorrow.  The theme is Childhood Memories and the pieces will be loaned out to groups around the country over the next three years.

Here is my statement that will accompany the quilt in a file:

My childhood memories are based on the fact that I was born and brought up in Durban, South Africa. In fact I was born in Addington Hospital which is literally across the road from the beach. Situated in the Tropics I was surrounded by brightly coloured flowers and birds, lush vegetation, exotic fruits and rolling hills.

The countryside was my playground and the first thing I did on getting home from school was to run bare foot out of the house and disappear until supper time.

The night sky at the top represents the clear skies and the Milky Way – no light pollution to spoil the view. I remember seeing Sputnik flicker across the sky.

Then there is the beach, the wide blue skies and the Indian Ocean, getting sunburnt, peeling, sand in the sandwiches and everywhere else! A trip to the beach was a treat which meant a ride on the train – a steam train with slam doors and windows that opened – the smell of the smoke and the smuts that got in your eyes.

Below is a representation of the garden my mother kept full of flowers and plants, the mulberry trees and the fruit which we gorged ourselves on, the Jacaranda tree with its purple flowers and the tree house and swing my dad built in it for us. The sparkles in the plants are the fireflies we saw at night.

What I can’t put in the picture are the sounds of the frogs croaking after one the frequent afternoon storms had passed and the smell of grass after the rain.

My life as a child was special. It was filled with love and music (my mother was a music teacher and played the piano) and art (both my parents were amateur artists) and crafts. We were encouraged and abetted by our parents to try all sorts of things from glass blowing to clay modelling, making kites to bashing sheets of corrugated iron into canoes to sail on the river. My mother sewed and made all our clothes – which is definitely where I got my love of fabrics from!

If the image I am painting sounds like paradise – it almost was.

I can't wait to see what the others have done.


PS  I now have to get cracking on two samples for the class I am going to teach at Festival next year - they must be finished and photographed in less than two weeks and they are only in my head at the moment!  H

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Nosegay Circle

I was not too happy with this effort. My old square was very fragile so I decided to fuse it before I started. I felt I could not sew this into a circle so fused all the way. Last weekend at Sandra Meech workshop I heard that fusables and glue sticks should all be stored in plastic bags. Now wonder my poor fused circle was gaping and falling apart. A lesson learned

welcome to kommetjie!

just to whet your apetite - this is a panoramic view of our cottage in kommetjie. it sleeps 8 - all are welcome!

Nosegays and Frenzy D-Day

I am tickled pink seeing what you have all done with your antique scraps.  Very imaginative and charming.  I'm sure the original makers would be delighted to see what you created.  Great challenge.

We don't have a consensus yet on bringing the date for the Frenzy challenge forward - if you can't make it and would prefer to stick to the original date please let us know.


Old to new finished

Here is the final version.  A little brighter than the rest, but they were all so different and interesting.  Hopefully Diane Shink will put them on her website.  They were all presented at the guild meeting this morning.  

Our speaker today was from a group called Quilts of Valour and they send quilts to Canadian soldiers that have come back wounded.  The letters of thanks brought us all to tears.  We never realize how much these things are appreciated.

Thanks for the festival info, Patricia.  It would be so lovely to go back.