We move forward from two successful exhibitions in 2016 in Prague and in the USA to the challenge of an exhibition in the Netherlands in the Autumn. We continue to work on A2 sized pieces in portrait format and will be producing four pieces over the year with the theme of 'Freedom'. An essential part of our art is working in series to a common format which does give us all a framework for our creative endeavours.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Who am I

This abstract I made is inspired by a fingerprint of mine. For the background I used a snowdyed piece of fabric and also the blue squares are hand dyed. After all I am a dyer :-).  As I am always working on more than one project - and have a job as well, I am always dividing my attention and time to lots of different things. That is the reason I cut up the fingerprint into squares. After the (machine) quilting was done I added paint to the bue squares. Now I only have to find a title for this quilt.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Where I am

I had quite some trouble interpreting this theme- as I took the theme quite literally. As the place where I am presently living, is not my preferred place and simply a place for treading water whilst my youngest daughter finishes high school, it is not a place I embrace with my heart though there are pleasant aspects of the city and I am learning to live here and enjoy it's good qualities. But it is not like the bush where I used to live with occasional forays to other places in the world. I made a mind map to map, to map out where I am but that proved and unsatisfactory list of  positives and negatives with no clear idea of imagery.

Then we got a week of extremely hot weather- and there is nothing to do but hole up inside and move little- and wait for the heat to burst into rain and bring cool relief. Machine stitching is entirely too frenetic an activity in the heat- and we do have an aircon but it is so noisy that  i have  come to associate heat with a droning  noise of ghastly proportions- so I don't use it.

So ultimately my piece  "where I am" grew out of what I am making at present- a series of sentinelles to express my concerns about the environment and the state of our world. They are influenced by byzantine madonnas and other mythical figures and they are decorated by hand in rich colour.I printed the face with a Print Gocco-  actually the print is a bit of a failed print but with stitching it comes out a bit more, and because of size limitation of the Gocco screens and because I also wanted to  create a medallion portrait- as medallions were carried by travellers in medieval times to protect and suggest they were part of a certain pilgrimage they  are the size they are. I did a trial run of printing on lime green fabric not thinking I would use them, but lately I have been using everything that is at hand without  making new dyed fabrics- so here they are in al their lime green brilliance! I still have to put on thebinding but at least they are all stitched.


I have just returned from 2 weeks in India and feel so inspired to make lots of new pieces of work. I usually manage to have a few trips away but this year we seem to have had a few family problems and I just didnt dare go away. My daughter and her 2 friends are currently travelling throughout Asia and they asked me if I would like to join them for a couple of weeks.
Being home for a few months I had decided to do my Voyage quilts based on Yorkshire and I made the piece I first posted but I was never happy with it. The colours were just not right and working with the woollen fabric was awful!
I never ever redo work but this time I have decided to start again....
Whilst in India I took masses of photos of the men in turbans and the beautifully dressed women. They can be seen on my facebook page. Whilst at the Amber Fort near Jaipur I took a photo of lady coming through an arch.
Here is the quilt and I am very happy this time. I painted the background added some painted bondaweb to give some texture and appliqued the sari. I hand stitched some "Kantha" running stitch.
I put the new quilt next to the first one I have now abandoned and the old one is half an inch too short!!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

My first Voyage Quilt

Finally I finished my Quilt and I try to upload it to our blog. I decided to dedicate my Voyage on issues related to Israel. This time I focused on the desert landscape in the southern part of the country. After many years of drought we finally had a real winter this year with lots of rain. All streams in the Judean desert filled with water and there were many floods that were very impressive sight. One image I loved the most was of a sunset over desert after rain and I decided to translate it into a quilt.


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

First Piece

At last with Jean holding my hand I've got myself signed up and am ready to show off my first piece. 
Made here in the Glenthorne where Jean, Gillian and I first started brewing this idea... 

Where I am?  Well, I had to use a Wax Print to say where I am - A favourite of mine for years!  Simply featuring a beautiful printed leaf and flower design - doing my best to highlight the pattern with machine quilting - and a bit of where I'm going with the addition of some hand stitching.  It seems that these days a little bit of hand work is starting to creep into my pieces! 
Detail of leaf - look carefully for the French knots!

Well - this is my first ever posting on a blog - so feel free to congratulate me!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

onwards and upwards

Well, having completed and posted my first piece, this whole process is very inspiring. Thanks everyone for the great feedback.

I had so much fun doing the first piece that I have been inspired to get to work on the next one. A friend posted a beautiful photo of flowers on facebook for Valentine's day, and I am going to try to do that. I am at the innitial stages of working out simplifying the design and setting it up. I need to find just the right background batik. Wish I had Maggies stash of fabrics to choose from.

I am going to try to use the fusable stuff I got when I visited Maggie. Will see how that works.

So, what are the rest of you up to???

Saturday, 18 February 2012

“Chips off the Old Block”

My first quilt for our group shows, in a very abbreviated manner, how I have arrived at this point in my quilting journey. Each of the five “chips” starting from the left, shows a block similar to a quilt I have made during the last twenty years.
The first quilt I ever made used Laura Ashley fabric and the Hovering Hawks block. It was for our double bed and was the start of this passion for quilting which shows no signs of abating. I have always knitted, crocheted, embroidered and made clothes from a very young age, so always had a needle in my hand!
The second little block shows a crazy log cabin which represents my first quilt made using foundation piecing. The third is the New York Beauty block. I visited New York and bought lots of fabric at the City Quilter there; once home I made a colourful wall hanging using the block in different sizes- it was called “I love NY”.
A few years ago at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England Alicia Merritt taught her fine line and map techniques and I have since made quilts using the skills I learnt from her. The little fourth “chip” shows an example.
The fifth square is a funky house with make believe flowers, following an idea from Jamie Fingal, but with my own designs which I am using for the first four journal quilts for the British Contemporary Quilt Group's JQ Challenge for 2012.
The quilting on the Voyage quilt is free motion writing about and surrounding each block.
The main fabric, binding and backing is cotton sateen from Heide Stoll Weber.

So here I am, still trying to find my own individual style, but constantly being side tracked by others work which I know must contain better ideas than anything I can come up with! My aim with our Voyage group is to become more self confident in my own ability and to not be afraid to trust my own instincts and ideas.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Journey 1

This piece shows where I am from, or at least where I have been recently. On my trip to Yorkshire to visit Magie Relph, in Yorkshire in August, 2011, I had no project with me.  I usually take some handwork when I travel, but this time I had nothing. Magie has these beautiful langu lapu fabrics from South Africa. The print is literally made by placing plants on the cloth and letting the sun print them. She had also just received a shipment of beautiful, variegated threads.  They were so beautiful that I couldn’t leave them alone. After a trip to the local needle work shop, I had a new hoop, a whole stash of metallic threads, new needles, and a tidy tiny pair of scissors. I now had the perfect project for travelling, as I didn’t have to plan out the shapes, just outline them.

I do a lot of embroidery, mostly small pieces that I frame in rough wood boxes with added objects as accents. That was the original plan for this piece, but when I got the challenge, I decided to see if I could make it work in a larger format. Magie had brought me some wadding, and I work a lot with linen, so I got out my stash and found a wonderful deep green in just the right size. On sewing the whole together, it looked bare, so I decided to enlarge part of the leaf pattern and quilt it on the green. Hand quilting didn’t give me the right effect, so I borrowed a friend’s sewing machine, and did my first machine quilting, using a blue lurex thread. It is a bit messy, but considering I haven’t used a sewing machine in about 15 years, I feel quite proud of the results. Now it is on to planning out the next piece.

Trish Graham

Monday, 13 February 2012


I live in Kenya and have always been fascinated by all things African, the colours, the people, the magnificent landscapes and skies, the wildlife, smells and above all hte fabrics and embellishments.

My quilt is inspired by the 'Tcherot' or talisman boxes worn by the Tuareg people. These are made from leather or metal and contain verses of the Koran. The Kasena people of Western Ghana also wear clothing covered in leather talismans.

The talismans are worn for protectin against evil and dangers while travelling, during combat and during everyday life. The boxes are commonly decorated with Tuareg crosses which represent the four corners of the world and the hand or Khamsawhich represents the 5 principles of Islam.

I have used bark cloth, vegetable dyed fabrics, hand stamped fabrics and have machine quilted using metallic, cotton and rayon threads. The embellishments are from my collection.

My quilt will protect me on this exciting Voyage.


Thursday, 9 February 2012

My First Voyage Piece!

Image 1:  Photo of the entire piece
Images 2 and 3:  Details

Whew!  Got it done!  I haven't decided on a name for my first Voyage piece, yet.  I've got it hanging in  my studio and I'm waiting for it to "speak" to me.  This piece really reflects where I am now.  I'm in an experimental and "what if" mode:  What if I put this here?  What if I cut this piece in half?  My piece was constructed as a "sandwich" using a piece of batik fabric as a base and covering the batik with fusible web.  I then cut out pieces of interesting fabrics and fibers and arranged them on the fusible-covered batik.  After everything was laid out the way I liked it, I covered the whole thing with a lovely fuscia organza, ironed it  to fuse the organza and free-motion quilted it.   Then, I fired up the heat gun and burned through certain areas of the organza to uncover the fabrics and fibers underneath.  I made two separate pieces (one using the fuscia organza and one with a decidedly green cast).  I tossed them on the ironing board in my studio and dashed off to fix dinner.  When I came back into the studio, I saw the green piece lying on top of the fuscia piece and they looked so good together, I cut up the green piece and sewed it to the fuscia piece.  I believe this quilt has that free flowing "loose" look that I admire and wish I could incorporate into all of my work.  It seems to be a reflection of my visits to two of the greatest cities in the world last year:  London and New York.   I guess I'm a city girl at heart.


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Finished piece - Closed door1

The barn doors of the local farm proved to be an interesting source, below is my first finished piece with a small closeup sample and the final piece. I went on to produce a second piece based on the same barn door which I have posted for interest as the technique I was trying needed more exploration - (I'm not getting ahead for the next piece, I'll work on something different for the April submission!) I have to say though that I will keep working with this technique until I feel it has run its course.......


Close up sample

Closed Door1

Closed Door 2

Monday, 6 February 2012

Where am I ?

       I am in Rome. Brought here because of my husband’s job, after five years in the USA and 
      16 years in African countries. I love living in Rome, the freedom to walk about, history,
       weather, beauty, visitors (friends old and new) the beautiful apartment and neighbourhood 
       where we live.

       For this piece I started by thinking about layers. In some buildings in Rome one can go 
       below  ground level, through centuries of history to see the remains of  lives of other ages,
       literally layered on top of each other. I am fascinated by the mosaic floors and the patterns 
       carved in marble and stone.  The modern life and traffic rushing about on top is forming the 
       next part of history. Layers of a quilt, patterns of the past and present, interpreted in 
       fabric and stitch.

Alison Farmer