Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ask me Anything - Artist Interview...

With easter around the corner all the artists i've been regularly hassling (um, I mean politely reminding) to return interview questions are a little busy.

So we can either have a week off - or I can apply the interview questions to myself, which is an easy fill in :)

Would love to get some questions from blog readers - so please, if you have any textile / art related questions you'd like me to answer in the interview let me know! Can be about techniques, any aspect of my artwork or the thoughts behind it.

Please leave questions in the comments section below - you don't need a blog to comment! I will answer everything asked on Friday.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Interview series: Textile Artist, Felicity Hopkins

This week I'm pleased to introduce an amazing, multi talented, avant guard textile artist, Felicity Hopkins. Felicity manages to combine her full time career as a social policy analyst specialising in Aboriginal / Indigenous issues with her passion for creating one of a kind, multi-layered, truly creative pieces of mixed media art. What's even more impressive is that she does this while juggling 3 kids, 3 cats, 3 chooks, a dog and a partner!

Felicity's art reflects feelings and concepts rather then pictorial representations - it has become a vital part of her life and an integral medium to express her world view. Overall winner of the Buda Textile Awards (2008), her influences include Judy Watson, Andy Goldsworthy and Mark Rothko
'Glimmer – Such A Shame She Never Married' 71x65cm (28x25.5")  $1800
Blanketing, silk, brocade, pieced ribbon squares, doilies, organza, tulle.
Buda Textile Awards 2008 - Winner of both overall and mixed media sections.

 1. How long have you been quilting and what first drew you to it? 
My very first quilt was a joint effort with my then boyfriend, now husband back in 1989 – I bought quantities of Laura Ashley squares which we manically sewed into long strips on an ancient sewing machine propped on a rickety coffee table. The top was finished quite quickly but wasn't turned into a real quilt until about 2002. 

I was first drawn to art quilting by seeing Susan Mathews' sunflower quilt featured in Quilter's Companion magazine. We were driving home to Melbourne from Byron Bay in 2003 and stopped in Goulbourn for lunch. I went into a newsagent to find something to read and was captivated by Susan's quilt on the cover. 

'Connections' 64x71cm (25x28")  $1200
Indigo dyed cotton, hand torn strips of fabric from old linens, felted wool, copper plumbing connectors, foil, machine stitched then hand stitched with copper wire. Steeked and hand sewn into a triptych.

 2. How would you describe your style now? 
Mine :) experimental, expressive, bold. I like mixing up techniques and playing.

 3. How has your style evolved? 
I soon found I wasn't precise enough to persevere beyond a few traditional bed quilts. I found using other peoples' patterns didn't provide enough of a creative outlet so I started making journal quilts with other members of the Australian and New Zealand art quilters yahoo group. Making A4 sized pieces allows for creativity and experiments without worrying about wasting materials.

I can't emphasise the role of mentors enough – I have met some amazing quilters who have been so generous in sharing their knowledge and experience and who have become friends both in real life and via the internet.  Particular influencers and encouragers include Dijanne Cevaal, Susan Iacuone, Annabel Rainbow, and Arlee Barr.

 4. Apart from creating art what else to you do within the industry? 
I have a blog which I use as a way of keeping myself honest. If I post about a project I have started I need to finish it otherwise people ask!

I have just started to put my quilts up for sale – it never occurred to me that anyone would to buy them until I won the Buda prize and someone said it was a shame my quilt wasn't for sale. My big goal for 2010 is to set up a website selling my pieces.

 5. What's the best advice you could give someone who wants to try quilting or textile art for the first time? 
Just jump in and give it a try – there's no such thing as failure. If something doesn't turn out the way you expected it to turn it into something else.
'Burnt Landscape #1'  46x51cm (18x20")  $350
Layered fabrics of wool, silk and wool fibre, synthetics, tulle and organza stitched and burnt back with a heat gun.

 6. Do you exhibit your work? 
I find sending submissions to quilt and art shows incredibly stressful but also rewarding. 
There is the risk in putting my stuff out there and being rejected but then the thrill when my pieces are accepted and even win prizes :) I am trying to push the boundaries a bit by submitting to art shows under the mixed media or the 'any medium' category/stipulation – so far without
 much luck! It seems to be very hard to get textile work accepted as art gallery-worthy

I put in an entry to the Buda Homestead Textile Award in 2008 hoping to be accepted and ended up winning my category and best in show which was amazingly thrilling. Last year I had 2 pieces exhibited in Victorian Quilters' One Step Further.

Currently I am one of 30 Australian quilters with work showing in 'My Place' an exhibition curated by Dijanne Cevaal – Diajnne called for submissions from Australia, New Zealand and Southern Africa for quilts reflecting their creators sense of place and belonging. 

Even more exciting was being asked to participate in an exhibition called Southern Lands, also curated by Dijanne. It's still rather stunning to have my work hanging alongside quilters whose work I have admired for years.

 7. How do you go about finding and selecting exhibitions? 
I usually scan magazines such as Australian Textile Forum and Australian Art Almanac for art and quilt shows seeking submissions.

I think making personal connections with other quilters is vital - participation in My Place was through Dijanne's blog and Southern Lands was by invitation. Similarly I was invited by Annabel Rainbow to join a group of quilters mainly in England who are making quilts to submit for the Birmingham Festival of Quilts.
'Brave New World' 28 x 46cm (11x18")
Felted wool, painted interfacing, ribbon, Textiva film, sequin waste, orange bag plastic netting, organza and tulle. Machine stitched and heat gunned.

 8. Do you belong to any quilt associations? If so why did you join these ones? 
I'm not a very good group person and the first quilting group I went to was a mixed experience... I was accepted by some friendly quilters but firmly snubbed as a newbie by others. I ended up feeling too intimidated to go back. 

I have found online groups a much happier experience – I belong to the Southern Cross Quilters, Down Under Quilters and Australian and New Zealand Art Quilters although I tend to lurk on each of these groups.

One of my most rewarding group experiences has been with the Art Quilts Around the World which sets a quarterly challenge theme and exhibits them on the group blog. Being part of this group has forced me to think hard about topics I wouldn't have chosen and made me consciously choose challenge materials such as paper, lutradur and copper wire. Getting positive feedback from other group members has also increased my confidence as an artist and contributed to me developing my own style.

 9. What would you recommend people do who want to seriously get into textile art? 
Set aside time every day to think, plan or do some textile art – listen to the muse and be open to inspiration from or by anything.

'Land Sea Alchemy' 48x40cm (19x16")  $545
Felted wool, rusted silk, Tyvek, silk fibre, knitted wool hand spun by the artist, copper wire, silk saris, organza, synthetics, beads.

 10. What inspires you? 

At the moment my main inspiration is the spirit of central Australia. I first went there in 2007 and was immediately captivated by the landscape and feeling of the country. 
I can't see a time when I will run out of ideas inspired by this area.

Other inspirations are ideas, feelings, states of being – I have a series of  quilts planned which will explore ideas of hell and purgatory, including feelings of grief and envy. Ideas are usually stimulated by particular colours or groups of colours working together or violently clashing.  I don't make figurative pieces – for me it's all about the colours and the textures.

I keep a notebook with me at all times to capture ideas for pieces – I often pull over to the side of the road as an inspired idea slides through my brain while I'm driving. If you don't write it down it tends to disappear or lose its potency – it needs to be pinned down and fixed in a notebook before the colour and life leaks out. 

 11. What sewing machine / threads etc do you use? 
I have a Janome memory craft 6600 which I just love although I would prefer it if bobbins could be made a whole lot bigger. I get frustrated when I have to stop quilting to change the bobbin, although it's good to have a prompt to stop, get up and stretch.

I use Guterman and  Mettler threads but have most success with Fujix King Star  which I buy from Embroidery Source in Fairfield. I do have a vast collection of hand stitching and embroidery threads – everything from DMC to Caron and lots in between.

 12. Do you have any formal art training? Do you think it's necessary? 
No and no - with the reservation that I would love to be able to draw “properly” and plan on doing a drawing course when I get the time. I feel this is a great gap in my repertoire and my sketchbooks would be much lovelier and less clumsy if I could draw!

Sometimes I think about doing a formal textile art course but am a bit reluctant at the moment – partly due to lack of time and partly not wanting to corral my artistic freedom too much.
'Mandala' 26x40cm (10x16")  $300
Ink and fabric paint dyed velveteen, layered with felted wool and cotton backing. Machine and hand stitched.
For more information on the construction of this piece on Felicity's blog, click here.

 13. What's the most rewarding thing about your career? 
Making something that expresses something inexpressible – I research and write for a living and having a sideline that is artistic allows me to express myself in a completely different way. I have also developed much more courage in giving things a go – I've got over having to be perfect.

 14. How did you learn the techniques you use? 
I learnt a lot online, noodling around on the blogs or using Mr Google to research techniques. Bloggers are amazingly generous with their knowledge and expertise. I like to look at someone's technique and then work out how it fits with the look I want to get – usually a quicker and dirtier version. I don't often get long stretches of time to create, so I tend to work in bursts – assembling, stitching and burning with a heat gun rarely happen on the same day.  I put a lot of time into thinking and planning so when I do get some time to create I can jump straight in.

 I also have a large and growing collection of books – current favorites are Margaret Beal's Fusing Fabric,  Colette Wollf's Manipulating Fabric, India Flint's Eco Colour and Contemporary Whitework by Tracy A Franklin and Nicola Jarvis.

 15. What are your favorite / least favorite parts of the quilting process? 
 I loathe binding, hanging sleeves and labels – the absolute worst part of the process. Luckily I tend not to use binding anymore – my pieces don't need it and look better uncontained. I can't get out of sleeves and labels though :)

My favourite part is the inspiration through to seeing the piece emerge from the chaos of fabric, thread and stuff that is my sewing space. I'm not usually that thrilled by the finished piece at first – I need to put it away and come back to it before I'm happy with it. 

As always please add any comments for Felicity or myself, or general thoughts on the interview in the comments section below. I love to get feedback and want to hear from you if you have any thoughts on what you'd like to see more or less of in future interviews. –Neroli


Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Quilt Art (and it's for sale!)

Finally finished this wall art landscape quilt! I started it about 3 or 4 years ago in a class at the AQC on painting fabrics with Beth and Trevor Reid, not that I finished up doing any painting in the class, but I did start designing and fusing the landscape and quilting the sky. Typical of me to work on something quite different from the rest of the class.

  'Solcea' 71x85cm (28x33.5")  $375   click pics to enlarge.
Hand dyed and commercial cotton fabrics, satin, fusible web, metallic foil, Shiva oil paint sticks, decorative and metallic quilting. Satin grass stitch edging.

The moon is the one I featured in the foiling tutorial on this blog.

I've made up a new page (you'll see it up in the RHS under the 'Pages' heading) called artwork for sale and have made PayPal buttons for each of the pieces I've included so far. More will be added soon!

Would love to find a good home for this piece, there is a hanging tube sewn into the back for easy display and a signed label has been stitched in as well.

Postage is free, as with all artworks on the for sale page. (Mostly because then I don't have to work out how much it would be for different countries!)


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Interview Series: Textile Tutor, Delia Holst

This week I'm interviewing textile artist Delia Holst. Delia lives in the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands, Queensland, Australia. Her focus recently has been creating sun prints and other hand painted fabrics, producing patterns and tutoring.

  1. How long have you been quilting and what first drew you to it?  
Oh I was not drawn to it at all! A friend operated a quilting shop and kept asking me to do a beginners class. To finally stop her harassing me after about 6 months I agreed to give it a go, on the proviso that I wouldn't have to do any hand quilting - I just didn't have the time. As it turned out I loved the classes and managed to escape the hand stitching! That was about 20 years ago, and since then i've been hooked.

  2. Has your style evolved much?  
I started as classic traditional patchworker and have crossed over to the Art Quilting world. I love that  anything goes, you have open reign with fabric choice and it really allows you to be free flowing with your ideas. 

Many of the fabrics I use in my work now are hand dyed or sun printed to achieve colours and textures that cannot be found in stores. I am exploring the use of silk and satin fabrics, beads and fibers to further add texture to my art. I also enjoy three dimensional work and will create more of that this year, it's the only hand work I do, however I find it quite relaxing.

Red work traditional quilt

'Underworld' 11.5" x 8" (20x20cm) $55.00
Sun printed cotton, synthetic fabric and yarn, ribbon, lace, machine embroidery, decorative threads and machine stitching. This piece was inspired by snorkeling in Western Australia.

  3. How would you describe your style now?  
Free flowing Glitzy self expression!

  4. Apart from quilting what else to you do within the industry?  
I have a blog which I update regularly called Delia's Place. I like to write tutorials and have put a couple of really popular ones up there. I also design patterns and have an Etsy store that I sell on called Louloulikes. I'm currently working on a web page. 
Tutoring is a big part of what I love to do. I teach on the Sunshine Coast and along the coast of Queensland. I hope to spread my wings  down south this year.

  5. What's the best advice you could give someone who wants to try quilting or textile art for the first time?  
To buy for the project you are working on and not go for a stash. My stash is so big and now out of date and not even what I like. I think your tastes change as you do more quilting even in basics such as colour and style along with techniques. 

  6. Do you exhibit your work?  
No not anymore unless it is a challenge in our quilting group or a local show. I am not into competition at this stage, my aim is to learn as much as I can and pass it on to whoever is interested.

  7. Do you belong to any quilt associations?  
I am a member of Mountain Quilters. I joined this group about 8 years ago as the one I was already in was not going anywhere. This one offered what I was looking for at the time in the quilting area. It's a very fast moving group on the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. I have been the workshop coordinator for the past 3 years and try and have two lessons a month for the ladies. We bring in high profile tutors once a year but most tutors are local or from within our talented group of about 80. I  have introduced them slowly to fabric art after Carol Wilks an inspiring tutor taught at the group. Some have embraced art quilting which I love to see.
I've also been a member of Palmwoods Textile Arts for the last two years. It specialises in outside of the square traditional quilting. Over the past year we've been creating a textile rain forest which exhibits from March 15. I love this group as I am learning (and sharing) so much. I have gotten so much out of this rainforest exercise alone which I would never have attempted or thought of.
I love the online quilting groups too and am a member of quit a few. You can always be sure that someone will know the answer to a question you have.
My favorite on line group is learningfa. It is run by a fantastic lady in Canada. I teach on this site once a year. She has just opened an offshoot of the site to 20 art quilters around the world and I am one of the lucky ones to be involved.
I have been a member of Qld quilters but I find that I am better to stick to the local and internet groups. If I was going to show again I would rejoin this group again along with a few others.
Fungi A-Go-Go
Part of the Palmwoods Textile Arts rainforest exhibition currently showing in Palmwoods QLD.

  9. What inspires you the most?  
Nature, it has everything. Seeing my students do better work then me. What is a better sign of a good tutor?
Watering Hole
Hand painted fabric, border fabric fussy cut for center panel, suede and free-motion stitched.

Flowers in the Sunshine 20.5"x15" (52x38cm) $150
Cotton, felt and synthetic fabrics, fusible web, paint, net, silk flowers, beads, Angelina fibres and stitching.
There is a link to Delia's tutorial for this piece on the tutorial page of this blog.

  10. What sewing machine / threads etc do you use?  
I have 3 Pfaff machines. I love the deferential feed. Not having to use a walking foot is a great plus for me as well as it feeds the fabris so evenly when you are piecing. I find it much easier with this machine over others.
I have a 1222E (work horse), computerized model, an embroidery machine and a little Elna Lotus that I used to take to classes but now find I need a slightly bigger one for that.
Threads is a tricky one. I have used anything as the Pfaff seems to take any with gusto. My favorite would be Royal threads as they are available on large combs and because of that are less expensive by the metre. A friend put me on to these as she used to work in the industry. This was the only thread that her company would use. Their machine embroidery threads are great. They have a huge colour range and their gold and silver don't break like a lot of metallic and specialty threads do.

'Fantasia' 34" x 17.5" (86x44cm) $450
Cotton and synthetic fabric, yarn, net, ribbon, lace, braid, beaded and machine stitched.
Inspired by Carol Wilks work.

Please leave any comments and questions in the comment section below for either Delia or myself. If you're interested in buying Delia's work please contact her directly via this email link.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jazzies Bloggaversary Quilt Giveaway

As her blog is 1yr old Jaz is giving away a gorgeous quilt to someone who adds a comment and links her blog post to their own blog. It really is a wonderful quilt so go over and enter! Banaghaisge: Blogaversary Give-away

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Interview series: Textile Artist, Susan Mathews

Every week I will be publishing an interview I've done with a talented Quilter or Textile Artist. First up is an Australian textile artist from Victoria, Susan Mathews. Please follow the blog or check back each week for our next interview.

Susan Mathews is a multi-award winning Quilt Artist and Tutor renowned for her stunning botanical works and patient and inspiring mode of teaching. Her many major awards include 3 Best of Show at Victorian and NSW state quilting guilds and an honorable mention at AQA in Paducah.

  1. How long have you been quilting and what first drew you to it?  
I learned to weave and spin when I was 14 and was so passionate about that I went on to a secondary school teaching 4 year diploma, majoring in weaving. After my course I was "woven out" so when my brother turned 21 later that year I decided to make him a personalised appliqued quiltPatchwork fabrics were non-existent in those days so I used bright coloured large squares and appliqued a birthday cake, his business trademark and his birthdate. I wrote (in satin stitch) a birthday message. These days it seems pretty rough, Vliesofix had not been invented, free motion stitch did not occur to me (even though we had done free motion embroidery at college) and I sought out the fattest wadding I could find. Anyway, after making that I was hooked. My brother must have been pleased as he commissioned me to make a quilt for his girlfriend's 21st. 

  2. How would you describe your style now?  
I would describe my style now as art centred.

'Through my Window' 2000 130 x 134cm (51x53")  $1200 (click quilt to enlarge)
Abstract depiction of the view from Susan's studio. Hand dyed fabrics, free motion quilting, improvisational machine piecing with prints taken from the actual Eucalypt leaves.
Awards: Highly commended - Vic Quilters Showcase Exhibition 2000
1st prize - Professional Innovative small Quilt, NSW Quilt Guild 2000
1st prize - Australian Cotton Fibre Expo 2001 (patchwork and quilting section) 

  3.  How has your style evolved?  
When started quilting I made my own original, simple machine applique designs using plain cotton fabrics and satin stitch applique. I then fell in love with traditional quilts and scrap quilts. I started using squares and triangles only and log cabins and then over the years probably tried most techniques. At one point I was in love with Baltimore quilts and made quite a bit in that style (but only one finished quilt). I played around with more original variations of traditional patterns but didn't really understand how to break out of the traditional mould. I began making medallion quilts and found that this gave me an opportunity to use traditional elements but to design and put my stamp on it as I went. In 1997 I did a class with Nancy Crowe, I learnt how to  cut and piece without a prior plan and that revolutionised my quiltmaking. 

I have dabbled with dyeing and surface design since I was a young teenager and my work today generally uses hand dyed and/or painted fabrics. I use a variety of printing techniques: linocut, silk screen printing, collagraph etc. My current work always has intense free motion quilting or machine embroidery.

'One Day in France' 2009 48x48cm (19x19")  $395 (click quilt to enlarge)
Cotton and synthetic fabric, polyester and cotton threads.
Fabric painting, transfer printing,hand dyeing, free motion machine stitching, decorative machine stitching.
This piece is one of  a still growing  body of work inspired by wonderful scenes and memories of this special place. Two prints on sheer fabric made using transfer dyes were layered onto a background created with various hand painted panels.


'Portals to the Past' 2009 51x51cm (20x20")  $395 (click quilt to enlarge)
Cotton fabric, metallic, cotton and polyester threads, fabric paint, acrylic paint, sheer polyester fabrics.
Linocut block printing, fabric dyeing, monotype, fabric painting, free motion stitching.
Various coloured sheer fabrics were printed with a lino block I had made of a decorative symbol from our French travels, these were then laid on another background creating overlaps and nice colour variations. The pictorial panels are two monoprints I did on fabric which I had painted with acrylic paint.

  4. Apart from quilting what else to you do within the industry?  
I do a lot of teaching, but had cut it down for a short while as I wanted to travel with my husband. Then I didn't want to be away a lot teaching because I need to spend time in my studio and get frustrated when that is broken up into little bits and pieces. Occasionally I venture into showing in art galleries but I find textile work can often be slow to move in fine art venues. Unfortunately textile oriented galleries seem to be few and far between these days.

From time to time I am asked to judge an exhibition, and am on different art related committees such as a Public Art committee here in Yarrawonga where I live. I am also on the advisory committee that set up the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award.

'Plumage pattern II' 2008 40x40cm (16x16")  $400 (click quilt to enlarge)
Selected for exhibition in Marvellous Miniatures, held in conjunction with Victorian Quilters contemporary quilt exhibition, One Step Further at Box Hill Art Gallery 2008.
Cotton and synthetic fabrics, linocut printing, raw edge cutback applique, free motion stitching

  5. What' the best advice you could give someone who wants to try quilting or textile art for the first time?  
It really depends what you want to get out of it. The main thing is to do what you find satisfying. Also, I don't think that you HAVE TO finish everything you start. Doing samples is NOT wasted time, nor is experimenting. With textile art my major piece of advice is to learn to draw. It is an important way of stimulating original work. Go and sign up to an art class somewhere, it doesn't matter what the medium is, it all helps with your design skills, generation of ideas and understanding of art principles which apply to textiles just the same as they do to painting, drawing, printmaking etc.

  6. Do you exhibit your work?  
I don't tend to exhibit my work in the state guild exhibitions as much any more, mostly as I have other commitments such as putting together travelling exhibitions with my friends June Brown and Yvonne Voss (we are known as ZigZag). These quilts take time to produce and the fact that they are touring means that they are tied up for a couple of years and then aren't eligible for some exhibitions as they are too old. We are completing the production of our fourth travelling exhibition currently which will be available to groups or galleries for hire. It is called "Snapshots".  Anyone interested in hosting these exhibitions can contact me. ZigZag will be exhibiting at Milawa Mustards Gallery (just out of Wangaratta) around June / July.

I also often submit work to various art quilt exhibitions such as One Step Further run by Vic Quilters.

Wangaratta Exhibitions Gallery has a textile collection and has a few great textile exhibitions planned for July including a textile forum on July 3rd. An upcoming theme is "Warming Up" (global warming) with submissions due in June. They will hold several textile classes in the days following, one of which I'll be teaching. A wonderful initiative of the Wangaratta Exhibitions gallery is the Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award which was held for the first time last year. There was  a great and varied selection of cutting edge textile work exhibited. I was thrilled to be selected from a very large field, I was the only representative of this area and one of two quilts (the other was from the iconic Barbara Macey)

'Grevillea VI' 2003 34cm x 44cm (13 x 17") $350

Cotton fabrics, small amount of polyester sheer fabric, fabric paint, metallic, rayon and cotton threads. Fabric painting, silk screen printing, raw edge applique, free motion stitching, free form rotary cutting and machine piecing. Part of a large body of work focusing on Australian native flora.

  7. How do you go about finding and selecting exhibitions / galleries / buyers?  
I am particularly bad at marketing myself and I just stumble into things. Basically I have works that I wish to sell but don't have the outlets to do so. I guess I could try harder but it seems there is not a huge market for  textiles in the $1,000 plus range. I once sold a quilt for what to me and probably a lot of people is a huge amount (I think it was well worth it) but it was pure serendipity that it happened. It can pay to have friends with wealthy friends!

  8. Do you belong to any quilt associations? If so why did you join these ones?  
Victorian Quilters, I've been a member since it began. It was a major source of information and networking at that time for me. I served on the committee for 2 1/2 years and that was a very valuable experience. Would recommend it to anyone. I'm also a member of the Ozquilt network an Australian Art Quilt organisation, a source of news and networking for many years, it has recently launched into holding exhibitions. I recently joined Studio Art Quilt Associates which has a great online gallery and many resources.

  9. What would you recommend people do who want to seriously get into textile art?  
Do an art course, any course, learn design principles, and as I said before, learn to draw. It IS something you can learn just like you  can learn to drive, play a musical instrument, learn mathematics or learn a language. It is a skill that takes practise and improves with it. Get together with a group of like minded friends and challenge yourself to do a drawing a day. You need other people to spur you on when your enthusiasm flags. I belong to an online group and several members get together regularly to show what they are doing and keep the momentum going.

  10. What inspires you?  
Drawing, nature, travelling (especially France) and shape, line and colour.

'Connections I'  2008 90.5cm x 101cm  (35 x 40") $1200
Original batik panels in rich blues. Silk fabric dyed with procion dyes and free motion stitched intensely. The panels are connected with free motion machine embroidery done on water soluble fabric.

  11. What sewing machine / threads etc do you use?  
I have several Bernina's and they will always be close to my heart. I have also been using a Pfaff which I have enjoyed for many reasons. I use all sorts of threads. Some thicker threads such as variegated King Tuts (long staple Egyptian cotton), Signature, Wonderfil (cotton and also polyester), Aurifil 28wt cotton. I also use a lot of normal weight threads at the moment, I buy large cones of polyester  thread from the Embroidery Source in Fairfield as I use heaps when I machine embroider-very cost effective and good quality thread.

  13. Do you have any formal art training? Do you think it's necessary?  
Apart from my teaching diploma I have done art subjects at TAFE many times over the years. I've just completed a Diploma of Visual Art. I think it can make a big difference.

  14. What's the most rewarding thing about your career?  
Doing what I love and what i have to do.

  15. How did you learn the techniques you use?  
Most techniques I use I learnt from books or experimenting. Some from courses such as TAFE.

  16. What are your favorite / least favorite parts of the quilting process?  
Only because I have dodgy thumb joints and neck - hand sewing bindings and rod pockets

  17. What is your favorite quilt?  
Caesia Cascade (Sold). It measures 180cm x 180cm, is totally pieced and made using commercial batik fabrics and my own hand dyed / painted fabrics. The background fabric is a mullti-coloured hand dye that I then painted with metallic gold fabric paint allowing some of the colours to show through - I think it works really well. It depicts a branch of the Australian native Eucalyptus Caesia. Australian native flora has been a focus of my work for many years but not so much at the moment. This quilt won Best of Show at the Victorian Quilters Showcase exhibition (2002) and toured the big Australian shows for a year with the Best of Australia quilts. It won Best of Country (Australia) at the World Quilt and Textile exhibition 2004.

  18. Where can people do a class with you in the near future?   
Waverley Patchworkers  Class TBA June 26 / 27  Lecture June 28
Wangaratta Exhibitions Gallery (Free Machine Embroidery) July (date TBA)
In mid August my husband and I are going to France for three months and I'm hoping to catch a couple of European textile events and much more, please contact me if you want to run a class.

If you have any questions or comments on any part of the interview please add them to the comments section of this post, to inquire about classes or purchasing work please email Susan direct by clicking here.