Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Art by the Lake

I thought  I’d share a video of my show last weekend with the Lakeshore Artists. We exhibit twice a year, in the fall at this beautiful outdoor location, in the grounds of a local cultural centre. One-third of the proceeds goes to a local food bank. I am thrilled to report that I did very well, selling 7 pieces, including Fiesta, our latest 12btd, and the large blue circle you see in the video, Coral Reef. I am the only textile artist in the group of about 50 professional artists. 

Friday, 6 September 2019

This is my piece titled Vice Versa which I entered into the South African National Quilt Festival, held in Johannesburg last month. I was thrilled to win Best Interpretation of Theme, which was Interchange. This piece, with others, will be shown in Germany and also Ireland in the next few months. Enjoy. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Andriacci inspired quilts

For once I think I'm glad, or maybe that should be relieved, that my sewing room is out of action. This round of quilts is amazing, the variety of interpretations and the standard of the work is wonderful, I'm not sure that I would have made the cut! I salute you all.

After five long months we are actually moving in two days time. Although not much smaller than our present house the bungalow we are moving to has a very different layout so I don't know how long it will be before I'm sewing properly again but I hope to pick up the group challenges again soon. I've no doubt that I won't have to wait as long as Mai-Britt did!

Monday, 2 September 2019

Hello everyone ,
My apologies for apparently not putting up my Andriacci piece by the 31st . My only excuse is that I have been travelling (US, SA and AUS )during the past 6 weeks and only arrived back in the early hours of 1st . September . However I thought I had scheduled it to appear on 31st August . It has not appeared !! Where it is in cyber space I have no idea ??? Anyway here goes:

ANDRIACCI appeals to me immensely as an artist because of his naive style but also because he makes his naive shapes more interesting by filling the primary shape with secondary shapes . In my quilting I do a lot of stylised flowers and so having zoomorphic symbols to deal with instead is a good challenge for me . I have done several Andriacci inspired quilts now and may do others in the future as the more you look at a work of his the more you see in it . I am really glad that most of you got some fun out of your beautiful interpretations . Here are mine :The Inspiration

My Frog

My latest piece done while visiting Patricia in SA where we had so much fun sewing together . I based this piece on Andriacci tree images which ,of course, are less structured than mine. I really loved doing this one . So much fun and bright colours.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Something Fishy

I found Fernando Andriacci's work a little bit to colourful for me, but I was happy to find his painting "Hidden Guys" which colours spoke to me. It's a funny painting, I keep finding more "guys" every time I look. 

This is my piece "Somthing Fishy" based on the right side of the painting.

I'm happy to have finished in time as I had several technical problems with my newly unpacked sewing machine (after a six month in hibernation), not to mention starting a "bit" late....... Next time - give my self more time. I'm ready for your challenge Allison. 

When the Crocodile eats the Moon

I was excited when I first saw the work of Fernando Andriacci but then I started to think about my piece and it suddenly seemed more challenging than I expected.  To the extent that I started using distraction tactics not to have to think about it.  I had to give myself permission to be as ridiculous as possible and to let my imagination run riot to get the ideas flowing.  What fun!

The title refers to the title of a book I have just read by Peter Godwin about life in Zimbabwe in the recent past (harrowing).  It is what the indigenous people say when there is a solar eclipse - a crocodile has eaten the sun!  I love that.

So my piece is an elephant which is my sewing machine with the LCD screen (and me!), knobs, thread, rotary cutter AND the crocodile eating the sun!

It is a wholecloth, painted and machine quilted.  I used a black laundry marker to draw the outline, then quilted the sandwich in those lines.  I have used Inktense pencils and blocks, ordinary artist's acrylic paints, Fabrico markers, Koh-I-Nohr paints and ink pad (to stamp) - and NO water.  It was all done with Aloe Vera gel and I didn't have a single bleed of colour anywhere.  I thoroughly recommend this idea.

This is the work of Andriacci that inspired my piece.  Thanks, Rosemary.  


Dreaming of multicoloured mice

   I've already introduced our resident mouser JP. Although he is not our cat, he spends a lot of time in our garden, the attraction being the mice who live under our terrace . Other cats have always shown a passing interest in mouseville, but none have been as dedicated as JP. He spends hours lying in wait, and sometimes he is successful. When he is not mouse hunting, he sleeps on the terrace, or in the flower patch.

 . I liked Andriacci's paintings with the brightly coloured animals, si I decided to use JP as a model for my quilt and took several photos of him (from a distance). When I was designing my quilt, I tried to make the cat and the mice angular as in some of Andriacci's work, but they didn't look right, so I decided to keep them a little more rounded and realistic .  I quilted them first and then painted them with inktense blocks and pencils. I was pleased with the result once I finished the quilting, but was disappointed when I had finished colouring the quilt. I like the way JP has come out, but I'm not satisfied with my colour choices, finding the overall result not quite right. I think it's the background: it might have been better left in white.

Haida Gwaii

This summer we had  a fascinating trip aboard a very small ship (12 passengers) that took us around the national park of Gwaii Hanaas in Haida Gwaii.  We hiked through rain forests and visited abandoned villages where we were given talks by local Haidas about life there.  We saw bald eagles, ravens, one bear and lots of other birds and some deer.  We paddled in kayaks around tidal pools, and learned a lot about the west coast environment from the marine biologist on board. 

West coast art, particularly Haida art is very distinctive.  I wanted to be influenced by it, but not copy it - in these days of cultural appropriation sensitivity I tried to avoid copying.  So this is an example of this style of art.  It is a small piece that I bought from a young local artist and you can see the complexity of the design.  It is in part a whale  and a raven.  Not sure about the RHS. 

The piece by Fernando Andriacci that I used as my influence:

And my piece:


In keeping with my African roots I picked up on his under water scenes and in particular the turtles and have connected it to a scenario that happens almost every year off our southern shores.  Baby Loggerhead Turtles , a threatened species, for some reason find themselves caught in the cold seas which slow them down and eventually they find themselves  washed up on the beaches around the Cape.  In May this year over 200 we're washed up onto the beaches along with many who did not make it. They are rescued by volunteers and transported to the Two Oceans Aquarium where they are looked after until fit enough to be released.  They are then transported to Ushaka Marine World in Durban where they are released into the warm currents off our shores.  Many of those that did not make it had injested plastic, a very real and worrying problem in our oceans as we are all aware.

My piece is a homage to these little fighters who are faced with a growing pollution of plastic in our seas. Turtles are appliqued, the pale blue swirls and dots are actually a plastic bag that I have stitched on and then cut away with a soldering iron.  I have quilted the background with bubbles as the area was quite restrictive and this fitted in best.

Do Amigos - 2 Superheroes

This artist has been so much fun, as many of us predicted. Thank you Rosemary for bringing Fernando Andriacci to us.

I made this quilt almost as soon as Rosemary set the challenge - such was my enthusiasm! It was a case of just getting out some inks and fabric paints and spending an afternoon just letting my paintbrush wander - and this was the result.

The two funny characters I painted are very obviously inspired by Andriacci's own characters, although much simpler. I love the way he nests little 'personages' inside each of his characters - the more you look the more you find. It made me wonder whether Andriacci perhaps took some of his own inspiration from Paul Klee - I am thinking of his piece, 'The Cat and the Bird'.

Paul Klee: 'The Cat and the Bird'  (Public domain)

I decided to try and make my two characters as vibrant as I could - and as they took shape I imagined them as two friends who dress up as superheroes - with little jet-packs on their backs, ready to zoom off and save some poor soul who needs cheering up. It sounds silly but as I painted them I created imaginary personalities for the pair, who I named Pancho and Paloma and completely lost myself in the moment. It was bliss!

Superheroes:Inspired by the art of Fernando Andriacci

I loved making this so much I might even make a few more! Thanks Rosemary!

I forgot to add the piece I used for my inspiration ..............

Original artwork by Fernando Andriacci

I did enjoy your choice Rosemary as it was colourful and full of fun and I really enjoyed working on my piece. The first thought that came into my mind was to do something  playful and colourful and stuck with this idea.  A Juggling tortoise?  Great fun and in my first drawing I incorporated some of his images into the three balls but they didn't really work for me so I used some African designs,  which are similar to the Mexican designs but not quite so I worked around the two.  Really enjoyed doing this piece and used colours I love to work with.

Fiesta - Inspired by Fernando Andriacci

I was not too inspired by this artist's images, but I did really love his colours, so that is what I used as my inspiration for one of my "Colour Explosions." I have a show coming up next week, so this was a great opportunity to expand my colour palette and make a new piece to kill 2 birds with one stone. This piece is made of dozens of small pieces collaged onto a background and heavily machine quilted with added hand  stitching as well. It is mounted on a painted canvas. 

This is my inspiration piece:


I loved the choice of this artist - it was such fun to play with his ideas.  I wish I had had a bit longer to work on the design, but I immediately thought of New Zealand when I saw lots of spirals in his work, which fitted in fine with the theme I was working on before I took some time out.  Of course, New Zealand is famous for it's birds - any mammals on the islands have been introduced at a relatively recent date. I selected two of our favourite birds from my photos of our trip there, a Pukeko and a Red Stilt, and added Mick and I into the picture.  I kept the birds reasonably realistic, though with a few extra spirals.  Perhaps if I get time later I will add more detail to the background.

No stitching on it yet - that will have to wait until I have a studio again.  The picture is slightly brighter than shown here, I ran out of daylight for taking the photo.

Fernando’s Fiesta by Allison Moorcroft


I really enjoyed doing my piece after Fernando’s style – so colourful and vibrant! Could let my hair down, so to speak.
The first part was to create the lizard in bright colours and then to decorate it with rickrack, ribbons, beads and embroidery, as well as giving it a mask on it’s back. My second applique was sewing the toucan in patchwork and then embellishing it.
My initial idea for the background was ‘making’ Mexican tiles but when I placed the appliques on it, they were lost! So, ‘back to the drawing board’ – or rather my stash, where I found a few pieces of fabric I had dyed many moons ago. The appliques showed up perfectly on the 2nd background!
When I’d edged the 2 appliques with black, as Fernando does in his art, I was satisfied with my interpretation. 

The artist I have chosen is a South African, Derric van Rensburg. I enjoy his broad bands of vibrant colours particularly his artworks of the South African ‘veld’ – the wide open spaces we see as we travel the country roads. His interpretation of the wildlife is more modern – perhaps his more recent artworks?

Thursday, 29 August 2019

One more teaser ........

I have not used all the colours!

Another teaser

Not my usual style but, have I had fun!?  Only two days to go...   Hilary

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Back in the fold

It was lovely to catch up with lots of people at the FOQ, especially the members of this group.  I too was beginning to worry that I had left starting this challenge too late - I kept hoping for my new studio area to be ready to use, but alas it's still got no flooring or skirting boards.  So now I have a couple of days to devote to my piece, but still no sewing machines set up.  And I nearly made a fundamental error - it's so long since I have taken part I mis-remembered the size of the challenge.  It was only as I was taping together my 24 inch by 24 inch pattern that I sensed something was wrong and went back to check on the website!  Ah - 16 inch by 16 inch seems much more feasible in the time I have left.

So, my piece is likely to be made using fusible applique, but the chances of getting it quilted before the final date are extremely small.  OK, back to a very hot, stuffy upstairs room to put together the new, smaller, pattern now.


Monday, 26 August 2019

Rosemary and I have just spent a wonderful week at our National Quilt Festival which was held here in Gauteng and was hosted by both the Golden Rand Quilters Guild (Johannesburg) and Jacaranda Quilters Guild (Pretoria).  I entered a piece in the challenge which was on the Festival theme "Connecting Threads", the only criteria being that it had to be 40cms square (16 inches) and have the colour orange incorporated in the piece and to include the theme into our piece.  My piece was called "Threads of Life" and hence the DNA Helix denoting the threads that connect all life forms.  I was very honoured to receive a Highly Commended in this category which I attach below and which I thought you may be interested to see.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

My model for the Andriacci quilt

   This is JP (short for Jean-Pierre) who has kindly agreed to model for my Andriacci quilt. He isn't our cat: in fact I don't think that he is anyone's cat (what cat is come to think of it), as he is very wary of humans, and it has taken two years and a lot of patience for me to get within a metre (and no closer, thank you very much) of him. JP  will also introducing  his 'friends' on the 31st. For once I have finished my quilt early, except for the facing which I will finish tomorrow, as my Mum arrives from England tomorrow and then we are away until reveal day. I hope everyone's quilts are coming along ok. I am looking forward to seeing them.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Counting down to reveal day!

I was thrilled to be able to briefly catch up with Mai-Britt, Linda B and Linda F at the Birmingham Festival last weekend.  I only had one day there and had booked to hear Michael James talking about 45 years of studio work which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I have had 3 workshops with him over the years and he is high up on my list of top quilters.  A really nice man and a fabulously talented quilt artist - well, that's my opinion!

I saw very few quilts and seem to have reached the stage where quilting friends are more important than quilts - can that be possible?  I certainly don't have any more room under my bed for
more large quilts.  Our small 12 pieces are perfect for my life-style now.

What gave me great comfort was that none of us (Linda B excluded as she is on sabbatical) had started our Fernando Andriacci pieces - phew, that was a relief.  I thought I was going to be the odd one out again.  Well done if you have already finished yours.  But, once home, I sat down and started sketching and the ideas kept flowing.  I have settled on #3.  It is in final sketch stage ready to proceed to the next stage - if only life would stop adding things to my to-do list!  This was such fun as I gave myself permission to be as ridiculous as possible!  Did you do the same?

Allison, I hope you have your artist ready to announce straight after reveal day.  This will then be the end of Series 3 which I think has been very successful - I'm sure you all agree.  This also means I need to sit down soon and work out the results of your preferences both theme and size-wise for Series 4.

Enjoy what's left of the summer, happy days,


Friday, 28 June 2019

Explosion in a jam factory

   When I first saw Mary Pratt's work I was amazed by photo-like quality of her works and the skill  involved. However, I found it  difficult to find inspiration in her subjects and spent a lot of time wondering how I was going to tackle it. One thing I was attracted to was the glowing colour in this photo of the jars of jam.

I decided to use explore that and included 'bubbles' inspired by the decoration on the glass jars. I used some cold wax, which I bought nearly 30 years ago and never got round to using, to make the bubbles on  pieces of hand dyed lemon cotton and organza at the same time, which I then overdyed with gradations of orange and red. I had wanted the edges to be a little darker, more of a plum colour, but it came out more of a dried blood colour. The hand seed quilting took forever, which is why this is so late. I had thought that I'd started it in plenty of time, but despite quilting almost every day until yesterday, it took a lot longer. My apologies for the lateness.


Sunday, 2 June 2019


Sorry for the delay in getting this done.  Especially since Mary was my suggestion.

I had taken a picture of the shells left of the Seville oranges which had been boiled, the flesh scraped out, and just jumbled in a bowl awaiting slicing.  I liked the light on the oranges and kept thinking of how Mary used ordinary, day to day images.  I did chicken out trying to paint a clear glass bowl though.  But I did paint it using my Cretacolors, because she was a painter. 

Saturday, 1 June 2019

The next artist is .......

Here in New Zealand it is 1st June so I thought I should introduce our next artist .
In 2015 my one son married our daughter-in -law on the Yucatan Peninsular , Mexico . We so enjoyed the chance to go somewhere which we otherwise would not have visited . Because of security issues we stayed in a resort called appropriately "Dream Resort" and we certainly had a dreamlike time there, wedding ceremony included . In one part of the resort's garden  I saw a tiled wall on which were painted fascinating naive animal and bird shapes filled with equally bizarre shapes of other animals and human faces or vaguely geometric shapes . I loved it and took several pictures . Here are a couple of examples :

I found his work happy,  amusing and delightful and have already made a couple of quilts based on it. His name is Fernando Andriacci . So ladies enjoy- with this artist anything goes!! His work is readily available to see online and is very recognisable .

Friday, 31 May 2019

Another Tantalizer

  Although I cannot yet most my Mary Pratt quilt, I thought that I would  at least show you a part of  it. I think it is going to take at least another week or so to finish, as I have vastly underestimated the time it is going to take to do all the hand stitching.

Remains of the Day

Right from the beginning I thought I would use this opportunity to see if I could depict glass in cloth.  I took this picture of the end of a bunch of tulips in a glass vase.

The process has made me really, really look at what is in the photo.  There were plenty of decisions along the way about the materials, fabrics and techniques to use.  Here is my offering.

Remains of the Day
The vase and stalks and leaves are appliqued fabric with a tiny bit of paint.  The tulip is my own embroidery design stitched out on my Bernina embroidery unit.  I may yet go in and add shadow to the stalks to make them more realistic.  But lesson learnt is: do not get excited and rush into a project until you are sure you have all the tools and materials you need.  I ran out of Bondaweb and so a lot of the edges are a bit whiskery.  Fusible would have stopped that.

(I have just got back from a meeting of my local art quilt group and the quilt needs another press but I was in a hurry to upload it and see all the other pieces.  I'm very impressed!)



Boy did this challenge take me on a roller coaster ride.  Loved it, now not working, about turn, that's better, oh no this won't do , I'm struggling, keep going , maybe now okay , to finally,  it will have to work!   I am not happy with the piece but I am satisfied.  Of our nearly 9 years with this group this has been the most difficult.   Not bad.

I have kept to keeping a slight home country link in my work.  I have not used any particular piece of hers other than using her kitchen/food theme. Poverty is a huge problem still in this country and most families have only one meal a day and that does not always include a protein.   One of the popular additives to their potatoes/ maize meal & veg dish is a can of Pilchards in tomato sauce.   This is one of the few things you may see stored in their cupboards or in a corner of the room.  Still not cheap as it sells for approx a pound a tin but it will feed quite a large family with the other foods I have mentioned .

So, here goes

The background is pieced and painted.  The tins are printed & attached using the T-shirt process.  For the quilting I divided the piece into 4 areas and stitched straight angular lines. I think the simplicity of it all was what caused the problems.

Mary Pratt - Fat fish on foil

Mary Pratt’s interpretation of ‘glassware’ paintings are amazing but I couldn’t see how I could express one of those in fabric. Then I found an unusual picture which really appealed to me and I knew that I could create it in fabric. Towards the end of April I was ready to ‘post’ my blog when, to my horror, I realized I had mistakenly chosen the work of an artist, Monika Wright! Mary Pratt had commented on this work and it had ended up amongst Mary’s collection in Google. This is where my mistake was made. 

So, here is that piece ‘off the record’ for you to enjoy.

At the beginning of May I re-started Mary Pratt’s ‘piece’. My title is: Fat fish on Foil. The fish was done using a self-dyed grey cotton fabric with organza overlay and coloured with oil pastels and then embroidered; finishing it off with an appropriate shell eye. After appliqueing the fish onto the background, I attached cut ‘shards’ in greys and whites to resemble foil and then used oil pastels to finish it off.

 After I had begun the Clown Trigger fish I found a small, framed piece of that same fish which I had done at least 10 years ago! I have included this picture.

Allison Moorcroft