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.

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.



  1. What wonderful thoughts behind this delightful quilt! I find the idea of talismans so appealing and reassuring and as far I am personally concerned, you can't go wrong with Africa!

  2. Loved the subtle colours of the dyed fabric and bark cloth Gretchen and what marvellous images from the talisman boxes.


  3. Different types of fabric are called bark cloth. You used the real one made from the - I think - ficustree? During my last visit to Uganda I bought a couple of yards of it, but have not yet found an idea to use it on.

    1. I buy it in a craft market Nairobi. It comes from Uganda. It is very versatile- you can wash it (carefully)iron it, machine sew it and hand sew it. Thanks for telling me the name of the tree- I have been trying to find out!

  4. I really like your idea for this quilt. What a great way to say where you are. The designs work so well together and are so interesting.

  5. Great ideas Gretchen. I really like the variety of patterning that there is to look at on your quilt and the colours you have used. I have only been to Egypt so do not know Africa at all, though I have a beautiful Tuareg key hanging here in my studio which a friend brought back for me from North Africa. I always mean to do something using its design.

  6. I loved your use of the talismans, we have a lot of chiefs war shirts here using them and yours really reminds me of them. Great work.

  7. BTW, the unknown that is showing up is me, Trish Graham, I need to figure out how to have my signature show up.