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.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Six Countries On Earth Where My Feet Have Touched The Ground.

This year has been a significant journey for me. Moving back to the UK after twenty five years of living overseas. We have lived in six countries outside the  UK, always in rented accommodation. It's been an amazing journey. It's also wonderful, now, to be settled in our own home with all our memories around us. I have made all six of my pieces for 2014 within the last couple of months and have enjoyed sifting memories and fabrics to come up with ideas to represent each country. So many memories such a small spaces. Much more is going on in my head than I can record.

I'd like to thank my friend Fatima Ismail for drawing the Colosseum and my feet for me as I just couldn't get them to come out right myself.

1, Rockville Maryland on the edge of Washington D.C. USA. cherry blossom and monuments.
2, Harare, Zimbabwe, out first safari.
3, Asmara, Eritrea. Driving " over the edge of the world" going to Masawa on the coast down the hairpin bends.
4, Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. Unforgettable skylines.
5, Nairobi, Kenya. Gorgeous sunsets and the outline of marabou storks in the trees.
6, Rome, Italy. The colosseum and ice cream.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Last One

Here is the last quilt for 2014.
Another man - this time one from the Orissa area of India.
I painted his face and hands and added applique for the shirt and hat
Apologies as the photo is not brilliant. I had my camera stolen and I am waiting for a replacement. I'll download a picture of all 6 when I get the new one

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

My final piece is based on rock art from a place called Laas Geel in Sudan and depicts cattle. The back ground is ice dyed, the cattle raw edged appliqued. The magnificent horns are bark cloth.


I have always wanted to experiment with 'Bogolan' or mud cloth. After sewing 3 pieces of hand woven cotton together, I dipped the panel in Turmeric and water then dried it. I mixed henna powder and balsamic vinegar and used the resulting 'mud' to make my design which is based on Aboriginal symbols. The result is not as dark as I would have liked but I did have fun!!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Chaco Canyon, New Mexico: Marking the Middle of Time

Chaco Canyon is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon cut by the Chaco Wash. Containing the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, the canyon preserves one of the United States' most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas.

Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples.  Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes that remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century.  Many Chacoan buildings were aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction.  Climate change is thought to have led to the emigration of Chacoans and the eventual abandonment of the canyon, beginning with a fifty-year drought commencing in 1130.  But, there is also a legend that the Chacoans who built and maintained the buildings at Chaco Canyon may have found a way to control certain natural forces, and when they fully realized the consequences of such control, they abandoned Chaco Canyon and the knowledge they had acquired, leaving the canyon and its buildings to the whims of those natural forces they had so long sought to command.  Remnants of that long abandoned power are palpable in the canyon to this day.  

I made this quilt using commercial fabrics and hand-felted pieces with beading and embellishments.  The "stones" in the old wall were cut and laid one by one--just as the ancient Chacoans must have laid the stones in their walls.  The five felted pieces are intended to represent the sun or the moon on its journey through the sky each day and night. 


Monday, 27 October 2014

Mother earth speaks to us......

'Mother earth speaks to us through plants  and flowers'

Buddist quote

This piece continues my series using discharge pastes on dyed backgrounds. The base cotton was a low immersion dyed piece in deep greens - I was keen to see the resultant colour after printing on leaf images with different pastes, after two layers I lightly overdyed the piece in a leaf green to restore the background depth and finally discharge a third time with some decollourant.  My intention was to try to create depth in the piece by having some soft unstitched images floating in the background.

It never ceases to surprise me the range of various pigments that get pulled out of the dyed fabric. I used anti-clor as a final soak to ensure all the agents had been removed.

The piece was sandwiched together as usual and I used machine embroidery/quilting to emphasize the printed shapes with rayon thread as I needed the stitching to show.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Primal Lizard
I found a wonderful image of a lizard rock painting found in Kakadu National Park in Northern Australia. The area is inhabited by the Bininj and Mungguy people. Some of the paintings found here are 20,000 years old!
I used 6 layers of fabric, ice dyed, hand dyed, some damask from West Africa, batik from West Africa and a piece of metallic fabric I found in a second hand market in Nairobi. Using the Molo reverse applique technique was quite difficult as all the fabrics had a tendency to fray. I added some machine embroidery and quilting using rayon threads and then embellished the piece using ostrich shell and brass beads from Turkana. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Earth Quotes - When clouds appears like rocks........

"When clouds appear like rocks and towers, 
the earth refreshes with frequent showers."

Old Amish saying

The inspiration behind this piece is a chunk of Blue John rock from the Blue John mine in Derbyshire. An appropriate quote as the 'blue' of the rock vein is caused by the  rain seeping over the specific minerals underground over millenium. 

I used black cotton which I discharged initially with Jacquard discharge paste to get the light 'quartz' bands running down the  piece. I used  sponges to try to achieve different depths of texture in the rocks - I then used decollourant colour sample pots to add a range of rock like colours to the piece working from behind. (I always find the effects are much better when you are using colour replacement discharge paints if you work on the reverse.) Finally I added flecks of turquoise blue  for the Blue John crystals.

Blue John Rocks

I used a heavy rayon thread to emphasise the shots of turquoise that run through the veins with a whip stitch again working on the reverse to give a looser thread on top. Similarly with cream and variagated taupe threads to add texture to the 'quartz' veins. I added the odd bit of turquoise bling - (plastic small gemstones) to create the sparkle.

The background black rock was textured with free machine quilting.

Detail of rocks

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Cherries – A taste of summer

Cherries – A taste of summer – August 2014

Big, fat, juicy cherries come into season here in July. They are grown locally and in the nearby Rhone Valley and appear in local supermarkets, village markets and in wayside stalls which one can find all over this part of France in the summer. They are not around for long, so everyone makes the most of the few weeks they are available at quite reasonable prices.

The background fabric is cotton sateen from Stoll Weber. Cherry juice is depicted in the heavily quilted area with beads of juice dripping from the edge. I like text on my pieces as you know and the word Cerises, French of course for cherries, is quilted and filled with hand embroidered cross stitch using one of my hand dyed threads. The cherries are painted with fabric paint and shadows put in with more embroidery.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

3 Indian boys

I love making my Indian Ladies quilts but am enjoying the challenge of making quilts featuring the men and pushing me to practice painting faces, although with this quilt it is a back view.
I photographed 3 boys walking down the street in Mumbai. It seemed such a typical sight. They have a cricket bat and a tiffin tin.
The background is painted with added applique in the same style that I have made the other 5 quilts. I have one more to make in the same style.


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Red Rock Crossing - Sedona, Arizona

I've changed my thinking about the power of the earth that is so abundant in Sedona, Arizona.  I used to think that the earth power came from the majestic red rocks around which Sedona is built.  My impressions have changed, though, during my last few visits to Sedona.  My favorite spot to visit in Sedona is Red Rock Crossing, a "vortex" point just outside of town where Oak Creek babbles and dances across some of those majestic red rocks.  Oak Creek originates more than 8,000 feet above Sedona as runoff from the volcanic San Francisco Peaks.  On its journey downhill, Oak Creek has carved the cavernous Oak Creek Canyon and has sculpted those majestic red rock formations that define Sedona.  I believe the real earth power in Sedona comes from the water.  That is what this quilt is about--the water at Red Rock Crossing.  Cathedral Rock is just a reflection in the water of Oak Creek--the towering red rocks shaped as a result of the power of the water of Oak Creek.

This quilt is my first serious attempt at thread sketching.  I have intentionally left the rocks virtually unquilted.  They emerge from the water just as they do from the waters of Oak Creek.  I printed a photograph on silk and added acrylic paint and organza to the rocks.  I thread sketched the water and reflections to make them the focal point of the quilt.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Liar's Cloth.  

This months subject is Silk.  There is a small amount of native silk in Africa.  Magagascar is well known for it's silk, both local and introduced.  A lesser known silk found in West African is woven into beige cloths known as Sanyan (Nigeria).  The cloth is rough and heavy and not at all like Chinese silk.  The background of this piece is a Sanyan cloth - it may be silk - but probably is not, but it's the closest I can get! The purple distressed piece is more than likely silk.  It is a wonderful scrap that I found while rooting through the many bags of scraps that my friend Akwazi hoards.  Akwazi is a Kente cloth dealer, he spends many hours repairing old kente cloths - so his bags of scraps are a) useful to him and b) an absolute delight to root through!! This piece has certainly lived a life.  The silk for this cloth would have been imported from Europe, either across the Sahara desert or by ship to the Gold Coast. At one time imported silk cloth was bought by the weavers, unravelled and then used in their own work. The bobbin of yarn is to represent this idea.  The pattern in the warp - the three crooked gold lines is called 'Liars cloth'.  Once worn by the king or chief to put off Liars in his court.  

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Another Man

Another one finished
I photographed this man whilst I was in India in February
Painted, with added applique and stitch
For some reason I have lost my cropping of the photo!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

New Men

I have finally found some time to make some progress with my Voyage Quilts.
Here is no 2 in the series

Skinny Man with hat.
Whilst in Orissa in February I photographed this man who was looking at his goats.
The backgroung in painted with added applique

Here is the third one in the series, again similar technique. I photographed this guy in the Flower Market in Kolkata

I have started on the 4th one, not finished yet but here are the 4 together. 


Monday, 14 July 2014

Earth Quotes:If you think the ocean isn't important, imagine Earth without it...........

My third Earth piece is based on the quote:

"If you think the ocean is not important, imagine the earth without it. Mars comes to mind. No ocean, no life support system."

Sylvia Earle

I have used various shades of blue dye with three layers of discharge paste  which were sponged on the dyed background to create the various depths of the ocean around coral reefs. Jacquard discharge paste was used for the layer processes but to achieve a 'white' to show the coral near the surface I used a powder discharge paste  which was very effective.

Some colour was added to the reef with thickened dye and some highlighting with Inktense blocks. The piece was then machine quilted to add additional texture.


Earth Quotes: Trees are poems that the Earth writes upon the sky......

This quote:

 "Trees are poems that Earth writes upon the sky" by Kahlil Gibran 

was the starting point for this piece. The background was dyed and lightly discharged to give some soft images of tree shapes.

 It was then overdyed, discharged with some larger more definate, shapes.  I then appliqued with dyed fabric the three trees in the foreground before machine quilting the outlines of the trees.  Some Inktense pigment was used to create light falling on the trees


Monday, 7 July 2014


For this month I have chosen Indigo as my subject.  Not a cloth coming from the African Earth - but a colour. I felt that Indigo is significant enough as a dye within Africa that it warranted attention. The plant is grown and used in many cultures across West Africa.  I've created a kind of sampler with many small pieces of different indigo cloths set on the background of a beautiful piece of strip woven Mossi cloth.  These Mossi cloths come with a fabulous hand twisted fringe that I just had to include.  (It is removable if it is deemed necessary for exhibition).  All the fabrics are from West Africa and include examples of weaving, tie-dye, starch resist, and stitch resist. Some are old and some are new. 


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Earth - Quotes "The earth laughs in flowers....."

"The Earth laughs in flowers"    is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, a nineteenth century American Philosopher - this was the starting point for this piece. 

It is a wholecloth piece dyed and discharged to achieve a textured natural background using Gocco screens I made to discharge the flower images before adding some Inktense pigment to some of the flowers in the foreground.

I machine embroidered flower outlines through the wadding but left some of discharged images  unstitched to give a softer distant effect. Whilst I initially used Jacquard discharge paste for the first discharging, I used Decollorant with pigment to remove and add colour at the same time for some of the flowers.

Friday, 20 June 2014


Detail View

Full View

 I grew up in southeastern Idaho in the United States just 60 miles west of Grand Teton National Park.  The Teton Peaks are a constant part of the landscape of southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming.  We saw the Tetons nearly every day, and trips to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park were regular occurrences.  The Grand Teton Peak rises 13,775 feet above sea level and 6,530 feet above the Jackson Hole valley.  The peaks dominate the landscape and when I see them I can never seem to take my eyes off of them.  It appears to me that the Tetons are always ready to disappear into mist--like Brigadoon.  They never really seem to be solidly in front of me.  It is an old legend that a mysterious race of people lives inside of the Grand Teton and that maybe the mountains are not really of this Earth but are the construct of another world.  To me, they flicker in and out of reality.  I have tried to capture that essence of the Teton Peaks with my third quilt for 2014.  I printed a photograph of the Teton Peaks onto fabric, but I only used small parts of that photograph in my quilt to suggest that when one looks at the Tetons, the mountains move into and out of reality, becoming ghostly and ethereal.


Friday, 23 May 2014

This is my 3rd piece, it doesn't have a title yet. Again from a Zimbabwean rock painting. It's architectural design is very interesting. I used hand dyed cotton and a wonderful Mulberry bark cloth I found at the Birmingham show last year. It is much harder to use than the bark cloth from Uganda. I stenciled the giraffes using acrylic paint and a stencil I had made from paper.


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Voyage 2014

"Ancient Beehive"

My second piece was inspired by an ancient rock painting from Zimbabwe, probably the Drakensburg Mountains. I used some of Magie's wonderful fabrics from Ghana and Gambia and some hand dyed cottons. The edge of the hive is trapuntoed and I machine quilted using rayon threads.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

No need to cook

No need to cook - May 2014

The strawberry season is in full flow here in the south of France. The locally favoured and grown variety is the Gariguette, known for being smallish and full of sweet flavour.

I printed some cotton fabric in the colours I wanted, using my Gelli plate. Some of this fabric I used in the two sided border. The background was quilted with the words “gariguettes” and “fraises” (strawberries) and the large strawberry was fused before adding quilting and hand embroidery. The small strawberries were fused and machine quilted.

We have a punnet of Gariguettes waiting in the kitchen for tonight's dessert!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014


One of the aerial views I wanted to do was a glacier. A diffcult one, but the pounded fabric I created last month was the perfec starting point. I unrolled and split a cotton ball and added this to add a bit more white to the quilt. Covered everything with a black tulle and stitched through it. This is how it turned out:

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Raffia cloth

Piece no. 2 from me.  Raffia is my cloth this time.  Once again I'm in The Congo - but in the Kuba or Kasia region - towards the south of the country. There are a number of different types of kuba cloth.  Embriodered, Applique and 'velvet' or cut pile.  They are all made from raffia cloth.  Raffia cloth is difficult to weave and as raffia fibre cannot be plied a woven piece of raffia can only be as large and the longest length of raffia fibre.  The cut-pile cloth is the hardest to make and now the hardest to find as a new cloth. 

I have combined two types of kuba cloth here - embroidered and velvet, featuring a small piece of velvet on a background of 'embroidered' cloth. To imitate the embroidery I have stitched rayon yarn onto  the tea- dyed background.  (Best thing to do with tea in my opinion!!) 

Plain Raffia cloth was once used a currency.  3 m long embroidered and appliquéd Kuba cloths are used as dance skirts in ceremonies.