A Sample a Day…

February 5th, 2016

Pinterest is marvellous to explore for ideas, rather a digital artist’s morgue.  I browse there at length every now and then, it can be very addictive, and while pinning I also sometimes add to a list of things/techniques I’ve seen others do in their work, and making a quick sample of something on that list is a way to have it register with me – to show whether it is worth the trouble, if I have the necessary skills and materials to do it, and is a first step in exploring its potential to fit into my own work sometime.  A sample is a shorthand way of saying a great deal.

I often finish up a morning or afternoon in my work room by making a quick sample or two, and here are a couple from this week:

random tucks surface blog

A scrap of nylon organza with random tucks machine sewn.  I saw something along these lines hand stitched in a strongly contrasting thread, but I think machine sewn could make an interesting surface, perhaps for a collage, but possibly for a sheer ‘quilt’ … just wandering here.  The fact that the thread in the machine happened to be silver is purely circumstantial, but interesting.

applied segments blog

Here segments of various ribbons or tapes and some waxed nylon cord are very exciting, I think.  The idea could be exploited as the main surface design, or  could be in the role of embellishment of something beneath.  Again that silver thread … means absolutely nothing except circumstance.  I did say these are quick samples,  ‘notes’ if you like.

Great Taxi Service …

February 2nd, 2016

Here in Montevideo I don’t run a car, and to get about I have put in a few miles on buses and taxis; they’re usually good, only very occasionally shitty.  Most of the time though, the driver won’t lift a finger to help anyone  beyond arm’s reach of the car, unless you’re struggling with an obvious mobility aid  like stick or sporting an arm in sling.  At such times I’ve found they will go out of their normal way by parking right close up to the gate and even put grocery or other bags just inside said front gate as I’ve unlocked it.  Otherwise its pay the fare, get your stuff out ASAP and they pull off as soon as the door’s shut.

montevideo taxi

Turning into our street this morning, we passed a man walking along with a small hand cart – there are a couple of regulars who come through the neighbourhood to pick up bottles and other useful recyclables from the rubbish bin area down on the corner of the block, though I hadn’t seen this man before.  By the time I was exiting the taxi a few yards up the street from our gate, this man had drawn level on the other side of the street, and was loudly demanding pesos in a fairly hostile manner.  With my key in my hand I walked briskly to the gate and let myself in, then turned around and waved as the taxi driver wave out of his window and drove off, so he had waited to make sure I was safely inside, as I just felt he might have.  I had tipped him but now wished it had been a few pesos more!  I had flagged him on the street and taken no note of the company, car #  or his name  – and most Montevideo taxis are now white and reflective yellow like this one.    The man with the cart had moved on realising someone was literally watching my back.   Requests for money aren’t frequent, but for such moments I usually have a few pesos in my pockets or the outside area of my handbag, normally a shoulder bag worn diagonally, as I had this morning.

Sample Making – Holes, Hand Drawn Effects

January 17th, 2016

todays samples 16jan











I really like the effect of the little dotty lined one on the right edge, but though done with a Sharpie pen, and ‘permanent’ such lines from these pens do bleed over time and also develop a sort of yellow stain around them on some fabrics.  This is to capture an idea only – more experimentation needed!






Inevitable Sameness From Common Technique

January 14th, 2016

I’m sorry readers – somehow, by correcting the photo of my quilt which I discovered had become squashed down to something unrecognisable (I was looking for something else nearby) the correction has come up as a new post!  No matter, if you didn’t read it last year, it all bears repeating.  The point I make is not who first devised the improvisational method of piecing, though this is relevant, but, that taking a widely practised technique it is perfectly possible for two artists on different sides of the world to have the same idea and come up with something very similar.

Bushfire 4 adjusted blog copy










“Bushfire 4”  1999,  150cm x 200cm



scott murkin

Scott Murkin, no information to hand at time of writing.


I put up these two quilts to make the point about which I wrote to a member of  Quiltart list this morning, which said in part:  “….you referred to ‘Scott Murkin’s technique’,  and I thought  “Hmmm, wonder what that is….”  (I don’t get the popular quilt magazines and books these days so its possible to be out of touch with the latest)  Anyway, it turns out it is freehand or improvisational piecing, anyway!  And when I went online to see images of Scott’s work, there was at least one quilt there that looked like an adaptation and re-arrangement of blocks from one of my own bushfire  quilts ”   – pictured above.  Of course, it isn’t a copy, its just that using similar colours and similar technique produces inevitably similar appearance

“His” technique is what I and many others learned nearly 25 years ago from Nancy Crow – not that I ever called it ‘Nancy Crow’s technique’ because for her, technique has only ever been the means to the end of colour and design, and working through her long list of class exercises was only really possible via cutting and piecing freehand/improvisationally.
But actually, it wasn’t her technique, either – it was developed by a Canadian quiltmaker, Marianne Strother, who Nancy always used to bring into the classes she was teaching at Houston and get her to show her students how to do it…and according to Marianne who told me this, Nancy repeatedly urged her to publish this ‘new technique’ which Marianne by her own admission never got round to doing.  So Nancy in time just proceeded on teaching it herself and many began talking of ‘Nancy Crow’s technique’    As we all know today there are people working this way all over the world, and it has become a contemporary quilt making tradition if you can say such a thing.
So it isn’t ‘Scott Murkin’s technqiue’ any more than my students could say ‘Alison Schwabe’s technique’ though I always work that way, and have taught many to cut and piece freehand.  I’ve no doubt someone uses that term to describe their own improvisational piecing.


The Bungle Bungles Series

January 12th, 2016

Paula asked where she could see the rest of the series, and in a word or two, some cannot be seen until they make an exhibition :-) but this one’s new home has been determined- Bungle Bungles #2  is about 30cm square.

bungle bungles 2 blog


This next one appeared in an exhibition ‘Kimberley Dreaming’ in Australia earlier this year, and so it was named “Dreamtracks” – about 30cm sq.

Dreamtracks Kimberley Dreaming entry copy blog

And below is the most recent, already in place on our dining room wall – Purnululu #8 ,  2.25m x 90cm   They are all in the same series, but since I learned that purnululu means ‘sandstone’ the more recent ones have that title – the aboriginal word is so much more elegant.

Purnululu #8 blog

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