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, 30 April 2012

Spring in the Galilee

Spring in the Galilee - detail

When spring comes, everything starts to bloom in the Galilee. The valley is filled with various shades of green. The fresh air and the quiet surrounding of the flourishing region invite everyone to visit. The statue of dancing lovers provides a nice ornament to the beauty of arousing nature. These are the lovely memories I have from my visit to the northern part of Israel.


Sunday, 29 April 2012

Desert Moon

Desert Moon - Detail

Desert Moon - Detail

Desert Moon
This little piece has been worked and re-worked for two months!  I started with a sketch that I found in one of my sketch books.  I liked the design, so I transferred the design to freezer paper, cut out my shapes and put the piece together.  Once it was assembled, I didn't like it.  The colors were all wrong and the design didn't seem to translate well in fabric.  I left the moon and the two background fabrics in place and began digging through my fabric stash.  One of my favorite things to do when I create a piece is to see if I can make the colors "float".  I love the orange moon (one of my moon photographs printed on organza and laid over a piece of orange printed fabric); and I absolutely love the way the blue/purple and turquoise fabrics "float" over that orange moon!  The fabric on the bottom third of the piece is a piece of silk that I hand printed using a method that I learned from Betty Busby.  After I got the quilt assembled, it seemed to lack "life"--even with the great color scheme.  I've never incorporated my sewing machine's decorative stitches into one of my quilts, so I figured, what the heck, I'll give it a try.  What fun!!  I also did some couching and some hand stitching.  All of a sudden the piece came to life and a really like it.  I added a few Swarovski crystals for a bit of sparkle.  I titled the piece "Desert Moon".  For all of its desolation, there is a magical energy to the Sonoran Desert and it is especially beautiful and mysterious at night. 

I must tell you all that I am having so much fun doing the projects for this blog.  I love seeing all of your work and reading your descriptions and comments.  You are all so talented and we are all influenced by so many different things.  It's a fabulous learning experience.   I really look forward to the time when everyone posts pictures of their pieces.   Keep up the good work!

Frances Murphy
April 29, 2012

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Jurassic Fern

Jurassic Fern
This is the fifth piece I have made in the last couple of months using this fern type shape.
I made the background from mostly hand dyed fabric, some of mine and some of Linda Kemshall's and a little commercial black and white which I curve pieced together.
Having drawn the five ferns in pencil on drawing paper to have an idea of placement,I free machine quilted them onto the pieced material backed with cotton wadding. I then painted the ferns with silver fabric paint. Adding more fmq in swirls and a zigzaggy sort of pattern, I highlighted some triangles with silver foil. Lastly I embroidered in seed stitch with a grey and a browny thread.
I used the pillow case method to add the backing as I knew the piece did not want a binding.
I have just had a two week exhibition, my first, here near Uzès and I took my sewing machine every day so that I could show visitors what I was doing. The background for Jurassic was assembled whilst there. Embroidery and quilting tends to be very traditional in this part of France, so I was amazed at the hugely positive response I received from people who had never seen anything contemporary before! I may even have made a some converts. I sold quite a few pieces and in all it was an amazing experience for me.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Kati's Garden

Kati’s Garden.

My friend Kati posted a photo on Valentine’s Day of the flowers in her garden. I loved the photo and thought it would be great for my next piece. On heading to the market, I bought every colour of orange and green satin they had. It confused the girls as I only wanted a half a yard of each, but we worked it out in the end. My friend Esther, an amazing batik artist had just the right piece for the background to give me the feeling I wanted.
     I did up some samples, working with the new fusible backing I just got when I was visiting Magie. It makes it soooo much easier. The piece was starting to come together, but the satins were just too flat. When my quilting friend Laura Evans saw my struggles, she showed up with a batch of her Sri Lankan silks, and that was the last part I needed to finish the piece. It is hand stitched and embroidered.
     All in all I am pleased with the final result, and grateful to the friends who contributed to it.  

Monday, 23 April 2012

Barn Door : Rusty nails

Well, this is the fourth of a series based on the derelict barn doors - and my second piece for the Voyage group - suffice to say I have explored the barn doors enough I think!  I wanted to replicate the bleached and swollen planks of wood in the door as well as the rusting nails that held the door together. I used the same bondaweb technique to create the remains of the flaking paint around the bare wood and used  Manutex thickened dye to colour the bleached areas of wood. For the rusting nails I used an iron filings based paint with a patina activator to create the crusty effect of the rust ( from the craft store) - I knew that the current technique of stuffing fabric with rusting objects in the ground for a few months would not work for this! Quilting to follow the grain lines finished the piece.

Some details of the piece

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Windmills 2

As my first windmills was in the wrong size, I had to make another one. It is not an exact duplicate, but made along the same line as the first windmill. Here is the picture:
And yes, I double checked, this one is 10"x20":"-).

Thursday, 12 April 2012


My second quilt is called "eGoli" which means "City of Gold" and is another name for Johannesburg. I started playing around with the monoprinted fabric I have been making lately and then I discovered a sort of source book I made years ago. Paging through it I found this picture of a mineworker and his eyes and general facial expression really spoke to me. I just had to use him. I grew up with the minedumps of Johannesburg being a very visible part of the landscape. There was even a drive-in at the top of one mine dump called the "Top Star" which we often went to on a Friday evening - this being an almost weekly family outing.
I also used stamping, free motion sewing, and hand stitching on this piece. What really surprised and pleased me was that when I outlined the miner's face it ended up looking like the map of South Africa. This was total co-incidence or "meant to be" maybe?

I enjoyed working on this quilt and it has lead me to some interesting reading about a time in my country which was very significant - the fifties. More about that on my blog : www.fantasticfabric.blogspot.com

Sunday, 8 April 2012


Without windmills half of the Netherlands would be covered with sea. The area where I live is around 13 feet below sea level. Windmills were used to create polders, but also to grind wheat and nowadays they are instrumental for creating energy. In honour of the different types of windmills I made this quiltlet. The background is made from split nine patch blocks. Different windmills are printed on Lutrador and the modern windmill is made from felt.

And this could have been my second quilt for this group, only I just realised that I made it in the wrong size 12"x20" instead of 10"x20". Shoot!!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Kutch

Maybe I should call this quilt "Where I wish I was". When we were in India in February we went to Bhuj in Gujarat, from here we travelled towards the Pakistan border and went to villages rarely visited by tourists. We were lucky enough to be in one village where the women were getting ready for a wedding. We sat in a small mud hut surrounded by women and their dowry quilts. At another village we watched women sew quilts. A fantastic experience. I just want to go back.
I painted the background and some additional parts of this quilt and appliqued others. The silver is made by applying foil and then added machine embroidery