Friday, March 31, 2006


Currently I have an urge to paint fabric. Here are a couple of "backgrounds" I made yesterday. For some reason these pieces, like my other works, look much better in real life than they do in the photos. I'll use them to fuse shapes onto. Unlike the Chicago School of Fusing, I don't fuse directly onto batting. I use cutouts on a background rather than creating a picture out of fabric pieces. I am enjoying making these.

This morning's pieces are rather "in your face" - you'll see them tomorrow when they dry.

Feel free to ask me questions about how I've done these if you're interested. I'm experimenting with some different techniques.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Sucking the lemon

Here's a lemon print I made yesterday after finding out that someone has mucked up enrolling me for surgery - I was expecting to have the big screws removed in 1 1/2 weeks. Now it will be 4 1/2 weeks. Normally there is some movement in the leg bones, allowing free movement of the foot and ankle. The big screws are clamping my bones together tightly so that they don't move, and so preventing me from walking or driving. And because my surgery is accident related, it's funded differently from ordinary surgery and only done at certain times.

After 2 months of being on crutches and mainly housebound, this was not welcome news.

Hence the use of the lemon.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Pain and suffering - opinions wanted

It's interesting how many of the bloggers I read regularly have health problems, mental and/or physical. The link between art and suffering is nothing new - Google these 2 words, and you'll come up with 37,400,000 entries. So why should this interest me? Probably because I have only very recently come to think of myself as an artist - after all, my art is not what earns me a living. While I consider myself to be a positive and optimistic person, I have certainly had my share of heartache and heartbreak. My art, however, doesn't spring from pain - or does it? Does what we've endured or the effects of our illnesses make some of us unconsciously turn to art as an outlet? What do YOU think?


Today, I've actually finished something - ok, it's not bound but let's not get picky. I have free motion quilted my first piece since breaking my ankle 9 weeks ago. This is called "Goddess" after the womanly goddess shapes. You may be able to see that the word goddess is sewn in a number of places on it. The big goddess shape in the foreground has this lovely spiral in it, indicating the womb and a child, so I echoed that in the overall quilting design. I have used some of the threads given to me by Marion. The orange bit outlined top right is NOT a thong, it kinda looked like reproductive organs, so a very deep meaningful metaphorical piece this!

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Hand painted fabircs, in raw fused state.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Yes, I've been doing some knitting as I watch our athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. I loved these fingerless gloves with their elegant cables, so decided to make them. Here's the first one - it's really hard to photograph your own hand! The pattern just casts off at the top end, but I've done a row of crochet trim so that I've formed fingerholes, to make them sit more neatly.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Here's my version of Melody's shawl. It's made with 1 strand of variegated mohair, and 1 strand of fine (maybe 2 ply) blue wool. Mine differs somewhat from Melody's - I did the rounded point in a different way, and it's longer (just touches my waist at the back), plus I made the ties longer so that they would sit properly when tied over my errr ....ample chest.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Daylight savings end

Today is the end of summer time, but the household critters don't know about daylight saving so want to be fed at the normal time. It takes a day or two for me to adjust. Here's what I've done today. The bright diagonal piece above has acquired my cutout squares, and I've done some more stripey pieces of fabric and some with salt.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


I still can't dye anything without assistance, so I'm painting instead, as I can do this on my board, and hang the fabric in the bathroom to dry. Here's the results of this morning's efforts. I particularly like the "striped" ones at the back, and the purple one on the right - I put some gel medium on this, so it has an interesting background texture which may not be visible in the photo.

Good Fairies

I want to share the yummy threads and stuff I have been given lately by those Good Fairies, Marion (left hand pile) and Sandy (right hand pile). Aren't they lovely? (Both the threads and the Fairies!) Now I shall have to decide how to get these onto my work. I think the green ones might go on the Taniwha piece. Or maybe I'll just create something specially. I have all weekend to play.

Friday, March 17, 2006


No photos today, readers, just some thoughts.

It's funny how life turns out. Back in January, I didn't expect to spend 3 months sitting at home unable to walk or drive (it'll be that long before I'm properly mobile). So all my plans have had to be postponed, and I've tried to find something good from the situation. Which I have.

As you know, I've been spending much of this time doing creative work. Initially, I sat down with my "inspirations" book, a loose leaf folder with photos of other artists' quilts that particularly appealed to me. I thought that I would make some copycat works - you know, suck out someone's ideas and twist them a bit. Surprisingly, this didn't happen. What has emerged is something quite different. Bear with me through this introspection, reader. I don't often do this.
A few months ago, I worried that I had no particular style. I mean in the sense of someone looking at a quilt and saying "Oh yes, that's a Shirley Goodwin". I had tried all sorts of techniques, but hadn't found anything that really suited. And as an "intuitive" artist (translation : I have no training of any kind), what I makes comes from inside with little planning or drawing, often none at all. I am intrigued now to find that a style IS emerging, and it bears no relationship to the quilts in my inspirations book. It is entirely mine. And I have also decided that the "striped" fabrics that I made just before the accident are the kind I want to continue making. They are also different from what everyone else is doing. I am content.

End of profound thoughts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Postcards are go!

Here are the first 5 completed postcards. I will be able to post these out tomorrow. Yes, they ARE all hand-embroidered.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I run an email quilting group called Kiwiquilters. I started this group around 7 years ago when I was suffering from lack of contact with other quilters. There are now over 450 members, mainly in New Zealand but also Kiwis overseas, plus some other non-Kiwis who have a NZ connection. One tradition we have that we share with many traditional quilt guilds is to call for healing hearts for members or their friends/relatives who are grieving or suffering in some way. Members who want to contribute make a heart block, and these are collected by the organiser, then put together into a quilt. The group has generously made me a quilt on account of my accident.

Note the matching purple bedlinen! I chose the purple backgrounds with cream or yellow hearts - usually they're done on a cream background. And here's the reverse which has a couple of blocks too.

Aren't they a wonderful group?

Random sunrise

We don't seem to get as many of these lovely sunrises at Oamaru, though they were quite common when I lived further up the coast . This is the view I get from my back door (actually faux French doors leading onto the deck). The time as around 7.15am. The double row of lights visible in the first photo are streetlights on the main street - this is a wide road with trees planted down the middle, so quite pretty to look at from up on the hill.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Batik stamps

Here are the batik stamps that Kathryn and I have bought from Chappas Textiles in Australia. Rats, I like Kathryn's ones betetr than mine. The two on the left hand side go together, one over top of the other. The metal one in the top middle has some damage around the edges but looks like a great design. Mine are the lower middle one (all over design) and the wee random one.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

I wish I had blue hair....sometimes

This is what I'm doing with this background I made recently. It's named after my friend Kathryn who has a secret hankering to have blue hair (she had blue bits in it when I first met her in 1999) but won't go the whole hog. So I came up with this wishful image who has one side grey andthe other side blue.

I am not at all happy with how the applique sits on the background (before you all start mentioning that), but as I sew it, I'll do something to cover the little yellow piece on the left-hand side, and also where the orange overlaps the red and sticks out.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Spinning a yarn

Yesterday I went as a guest to the local spinners' and weavers' group dyeing day. I was given a spinning wheel shortly before I came here, but have not learnt to spin yet. I'm very keen to dye my own wool, and although I stock wool dyes, I haven't actually used them. This was not a class, just each member doing their own thing and dyeing either roving, or spun wool. The photos are not great as I was sitting in a deck chair and swivelling around to take them.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Caution - some content may offend

We all know that statement is a foolproof way to get everyone to read on!

I had my 6 week checkup at the fracture clinic today. At last the red cast is off, and I now have a moonboot.
I'm allowed to put a bit of weight on it, and I'm starting physio next week - my foot is just so stiff. Even better, I can take the boot off at night, and even have a bath if I want.

And here are the gross photos, so you can see what I've been making all the fuss about.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

How do my hexagons grow?

Following on from my confessions yesterday, I admit I also have an obsession with hexagons. I have helped design and build a hexagonal house - not one big hexagon, but comprising a number of hexagonal units. I even doodle hexagons. So when I saw these designs, I just had to use them. This is my version of Melody Johnson's Bodacious Bloomers. If you're familiar with Tumbling Blocks, you may recognise that the "leaves" are actually the diamonds that form the sides of the blocks. There is actually more contrast in this work than the photo shows.

The second photo is a background I made, but haven't got a use for at present. I just liked it.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Some more... postcards, not confessions! Baby, as they are in their basic fused state with no stitching. Because of the need to elevate my leg, I am handstitching the ones that I will be exchanging. The last 5 are "touristy" ones with pictures cut out of a New Zealand fabric. When I eventually get my retail space, I'll be making and selling these postcards, and as many visitors to the Oamaru Historic Precinct are tourists, I want to include ones that will appeal to them.

True Confessions

I've been reading some other blogs, and feel I must confess.....I do NOT store my fabric by colour. There. Now it's out. Admittedly, my fabric doesn't have a proper "home" but it's stored more by technique than anything else. And commercial fabric has its own bin. I mean, where would you store this stuff? I am finding these multicoloured "striped" fabrics wonderful for fabric postcards, and will certainly make more of this when I'm mobile. The colours are quite soft and earthy, which I prefer to primary colours.

Ok. Ready for another confession? You may have noticed I have a penchant for Taniwha. In fact, I adore all sorts of dragons. There's a Chinese one at my front door, I have a possibly 1000 year old old jade dragon that my brother gave me, plus quite a few small ceramic and terracotta ones in my bedroom. Well, my addiction goes beyond dragons. I am attracted to all kinds of weird and odd creatures. And now I've decided to embrace this, and make them my own. Here's the birth of some new fabric postcards.

Clearly, bizarre cutouts are my "thing". If you like any of these and would like to exchange with me, let me know. You can even pick a particular design if you like. And if you're wondering, yes that IS a cat in the lower right hand corner. A very geometric cat, with a hexagonal tail.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Eccentric old bat

Sandy asked about my new look. I am growing my hair (part of the essential look for an eccentric old bat, which I plan to be when I'm old) , but because it's thin and fine, it takes forever to get long. I had been wearing it by fluffing up the natural curl but it's got a bit too long now so I've started to tie it back into a little pony tail. Hence the updated photo.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Something old...

No new work to report, so here's one of my earlier works which was selected to be shown in the "Birds Aplenty" exhibition in 2004. The stylized birds are based on a Maori bird design, with a background of woven strips.

The second piece uses the same bird design in a reverse applique style with woven corners, and including a comemrcial marbled fabric. This was my "weaving" phase!