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.  

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Quilt Festival in South Africa 2011

Pamela and Dianne (and anyone else who is interested) the Quilt Festival in 2011 which is being hosted by the Good Hope Quilting Guild in the Cape, is being held in the beautiful town of Stellenbosch from the 1st of July, 2011. If you would like more details the website is www.quiltfestival2011.co.za. The theme is "Alive with Colour" and looks as if it is going to be really good.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Well, here's my result from the Nosegay challenge. I did it as soon as we got the blocks, back when I thought I might be leaving Canada in September. You can still see vestiges of the original block, though I never thought to take a photo of the original.

I also never thought to take my camera out with me last Sunday. It snowed here on Saturday night, and on the Sunday Mick and I went for a walk in a park nearish to here. The snow had frozen onto every trunk, branch and twig, but there were still leaves hanging. It was a complete study in black, white and gold - absolutely beautiful but you'll have to imagine it for yourselves.

Off to start Frenzy - I haven't even got any ideas yet, but I'm glad the date has come forward. Our son is coming out here for Xmas, and we're renting a small cabin in a national park for four days - with no electricity or mobile coverage!!

old to new

My goodness. Go out of town for a few days and look what happens: a flurry of blog activity. I will have a good think about our next theme. I am entering a fine craft show for December 5, and will be focused this month on producing work for that, but I should be able to meet the new December 1 deadline for Frenzy.

I also undertook this challenge from Diane Shink, to create a new 15" by 15" square block from an irregular nosegay, measuring not more than 11 or 12" in length. Here is the nosegay I started with:
I basically took it apart and used what I call the "Jean Wells" approach, irregular strips pieced together, using the little bits from the nosegay as the centres of the log cabin-type constructions. Only a few threads of the original were left over. Dianne R. suggested that I call it "What Nosegay?"
A cheerful palette suggestive of the 1930's, finished with my "rustic" hand-quilting. Linda, let's see yours too!

Name out of the hat aka plastic bag

It's Heather Dubreuil who will have the pleasure of choosing the next theme. Over to you, Heather!

old to new

This an old block, one of many that Diane Shink handed out to the Guild to turn into a 15" quilted and finished square.  Diane is an appraiser with the American Quilt Society (www.dimacquilt.com) and she is a collector (which is an understatement!) of star quilts, vintage blocks and aprons.  These blocks are not well constructed and we were allowed to do with them as we wanted - deconstruct, whatever.  I decided that since it was a posy block I would turn it into leaves and flowers, but in a modern stylized fashion.  And is where I should be at this moment-  completing it for tomorrow!


This is the intermediate step.  I'm hoping to cartoon it with flower petals and leaves.  

Keep watching !

Change of Date for Frenzy

Oh dear, the caffeine obviously hadn't kicked in when I wrote that date.  Of course, I meant December 1st - duh!  Thanks for pointing that out, Patricia.

Good on you for being so organised.  Now I am dying to see what you have done and patience isn't one of my virtues!


Change of date !

I was thinking the same thing Hilary - a lot of people may be away as we in the Southern Hemisphere tend to go off on our summer break at this time of the year. I would suggest we make it the 1st December and not the 1st November (I guess thats way gone now). I am very happy with that as I have finished my piece. I had a bit of spare time on my hands and had an image in my mind so took the opportunity of putting pencil to paper and then setting it out on the fabric. I must say I am so enjoying 12" x 12" as you can play without getting too stressed. I was not that happy to begin with but it worked out OK in the end - the quilting always seems to make a huge difference.

The Festival of Quilts is coming up next year and will be held in Stellenbosch in the Cape and from all accounts sounds as if it is going to be really great. I am thinking of entering something, but at this stage it is in its thought process - I won't however be going down as I can't do Cape Town and Birmingham in one year - too expensive.

The deadline date for the next challenge

As the next deadline is New Year's Day and we all have more than enough to do over the festive season, how about bringing the date forward a month?  Strictly speaking we should all be working on them now to get round this busy period and, speaking for myself, I usually do everything at the last minute anyway - which translated means in the last two weeks.  So what do others think about pulling the date forward to 1st November - that gives us over 4 weeks? 

We need a consensus so please let us know what you think.

Also, I have added a link button to the top of the side bar (above the challenge photos)  for those of you who haven't set up the automatic link to the site everytime something is posted - this sends an email into your 'unread' box (in Outlook - not sure about Macs) to notify you of a new posting.  This way you are always bang up to date with what is going on.  The 'comments' button is to notify you if someone leaves a comment about a posting.

Not many of you add postings and I can't believe you all lead uninteresting boring lives.  It's lovely to read about things you are making, doing, buying, winning, achieving - whatever!  Maybe it's because so many of you see each other regularly and so don't need to post but for the rest of us thousands of miles away it's the only way of getting to know the other members and start to feel part of the group.  Thanks for all the postings!

Back to starting my Frenzy piece,


Monday, 1 November 2010

Fingers Crossed

I have had to create myself another email account to be able to display the Reflections quilts in the side bar.  But there we are - at least we have the three challenges up now.  I find it frustrating that it isn't possible to display  photos from a specific album but there you are - it's free so I suppose we should be thankful.