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The SAQA Oceania Group Bloghop – My Turn !

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Welcome to my regular readers, of course, and a special welcome if this is your first visit to my blog.  Underway since August 15th, this blog hop features posts about 12″x 12″ art quilts made by members Oceania group of  Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc, for the 2016 SAQA Benefit Auction, which begins here September 16th.

Mosaic 1 blog

‘Mosaic Pathway’ 2016,  12″ x 12″. SAQA Benefit Auction starts September 16.

I’ve always loved mosaic pathways, and they’ve often made me feel I need to ‘do something’ mosaic-ish inspired by them and yes, you might say ‘patchwork’ in general is really mosaic-ish.  One day in May I was looking back over old patterns and designs, and digging into old photo files, searching ‘for something’ and realised the picture of this grey pathway (below, right) had been up on my inspirations board for a very long time, and was now telling me ‘It’s time to do something about this’.

mosaic paths blog

Some of the mosaic pathways I’ve photographed down the past 10+ years.

For some years I’ve collected bits of metallic finished leather, often without any actual plan at the time; but I have used leather shapes  on quite a few quilts and also I love sewing with metallic threads – it seems I just can’t resist glitter.  Another glittery impulse buy was 5 or 6 metres of silver mylar backed nylon for about $2/m in a fabric disposals market zone while travelling in Santiago Chile one time.  I couldn’t resist it and would have bought gold, too, if they’d had it.  That sat in my cupboard unused for years until this particular day.  I had just returned from travels during which I saw an actual El Anatsui wall hanging in real life – utterly stupendous – and so perhaps all that and some other things all came together at once – and so I pulled out the mylar/nylon, scrap fabrics and some leather bits.  I’ve found if an idea strikes while I’m doing something else, I need to quickly stop to capture its essence for another time, and so I whizzed up these little sample snippets, longest 14cm widest about 8cm.

Mosaic samples blog

Quick samples –  mylar backed nylon (L) metallic finished leather (R) machined with gold thread.

Sometimes doing a little snippet leads on to something new/big/good/a series, but other times, having analysed it, I’ll put it aside for ‘later’.  I almost never throw out a sample, as you just never know what it might trigger months or even years later.  You should see some of the bits I’ve got in that box on the bottom shelf!  Anyway, having done the sample, its potential was immediately obvious, and I knew I had to think it all through before starting.

A sample is one thing, but to make an actual ‘art quilt’ I had to stay within the accepted paramaters of two full layers of fabric sewn or fastened together by stitches or something that serves the same purpose.  (Irregardless of surface design, in this case leather segments)  Although I didn’t need to use any form of batting, (which involves a basting step) I knew I’d need to somehow keep the layers together well enough so there’d be no slippage and wrinkling of fabric as I applied the leather bits.  I came up with the quick answer of just fusing a denim weight front to a muslin/unbleached calico back, forming a nice non-floppy base on which to stitch the leather with gold machine stitching.  This one-step applique/quilting process did not, however, mean any time saving 😉   At the torn edges of the fabric, the leather pieces simply stop, overhanging the edges slightly.  It felt right to just leave it that way without covering those interesting edges with some kind of binding.  Plus, in my mind this non-edging also related to erosion of surfaces over time, of geomorphology, symbols, mark making, archaeology and man made marks on surfaces… all of which have been on my mind a long time and are coming to my attention again.


The previous post in this series was from Sally Westcott, August 27th,

The next post will be by Lee Vause,  August 31st,

If you missed earlier posts, go to August 10th, for full date/artist/address listings.

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Alluring Lines

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

posted previously on a great design workshop I attended nearly a year ago in the Wool Museum at Geelong, Australia, with fibre artist Jan Mullen. Photos I took of various activities that day included this and several others of pages of a huge wool fabrics sample book lying open on a table.  This morning, while mulling over a request for information and images of most most significant innovative works had me looking back through photos and information sheets to select a few key works of mine to include in a submission to SAQA for possible inclusion in a book.  Of course, looking back takes time, as it is soooo easy to be distracted 🙂 and I could have my stuff half assembled by now; but revisiting these photos in the files compelled me to resize and post some, shown below.


wool sample sheets 1 blog

This morning I revisited those photos of lovely lines and printed this particular one to pin on my wall to look at whenever I walk past.

Wool samples file NWM geelong1

These others are inspirational, too, though for the moment they’re not getting a page of their own on the pin board.

Followers know that I adore  fine freehand cutting and piecing, and I can feel some of that coming on in a way I haven’t quite dealt with it before. To me, the line is the single most important design element, and that includes the expressive potential of the glorious straight stitch.

SAQA 2017 Trunk Show Sample

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Members are making and  preparing to submit 10″ x 7″ samples for the SAQA 2017 Trunk Show  (these little pieces are way too small to call  ‘an art quilt’, in my opinion!)  The purpose of the trunk show is to share/spread technical information and inspiration by way of these samples, on the back of which will be quite a bit of information provided by each artist.  Several hundred are expected based on previous trunk shows, and they will be divided into groups of about 40 to tour for 3 years, including being available for hiring out to groups.  After that time some will be selected to add to SAQA’s permanent collection.  They have no set theme, but may be of a any technique used in art quilt making, can explore new ideas including materials, or may also be by a technique or style with which the artist is familiar.   Items in the collection will be in plastic sleeves so people can handle and really look closely at them.   Touring schedules and hiring information will be posted on through from early next year.

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This untitled 10″x 7″sample uses many of the materials and all the techniques of a much larger work entitled ‘Land Marks’  2016,
and it is possible there will be further works in this series.

I’d certainly like my offering to be added to the permanent collection.  This sample is on grey metallic finished leather backed with nylon organza, coated with silver sparkle glue.  Silver mylar backed nylon hand patterned with permanent marker pen was cut into slices arranged in a loose grid format, and sewn on to the leather base using very fine clear nylon thread.  The edge is defined with a single line of silver machine stitching, which, see my previous post, was a bit awkward to do because of the springy nature of the thread, but hey, it was only about 33″ of hand/machine sewing.

Springy Threads – Potential Trouble Spots

Friday, August 19th, 2016

I’ve been sewing some silver glitter to leather today, and it took me a while to get going.  I hadn’t used these particular materials and threads together before, and found as I did the little sample I always do, I had real problems with the top silver metallic looping and being fed below to the backside of the work with a crazy result; and that every few stitches if they weren’t looping, there were occasional skipped stitches. Pulling out stitching with leather of course leaves holes, so when you re-do it you need to have the same stitch length to re-use those holes, going slowly until you’re in new territory.

I need to say, too, that my machine here in Montevideo is a very basic domestic Bernina – a great little machine, but there’s absolutely nothing computerised in it, and there probably are newer models that easily handle this kind of thing with the flick of a button or two.

I noticed that every now and then there was a skipped stitch (upper left)  Now I really wanted to use this silver thread and so decided I’d just try this little sewing job of 75cm, I’d take my foot off the pedal altogether and just turn the drive wheel manually. While doing this slow motion thing I I saw the springy thread loop under the needle point and come up round behind the needle so the next up-down movement would make the thread loop and bunch underneath and I realised this was probably causing the thread to skip occasionally.   I finished the line of stitching around the edge of the leather, having the time to keep the several potential trouble spots under supervision.  These are highlighted in the pics below.  I know I could use a much larger needle, like a jeans topstitching needle,  or there’s probably a leather needle I don’t have, but I did not want to make large holes in the leather, so that’s a trade-off I faced and decided to keep the needle as was.


springy thread blog

(UL) Skipped stiches; (LL) twists/loops may occur at the feed into the tension discs; (Centre) twists/loops may occur at the top of the overhead arm; and (Right) thread may twist/loop round the back of the needle.

Sometimes I wonder why I do the things I do – and you might, too.  More on the overall little project some other time.

SAQA Oceania Group Auction Bloghop Starts Today!

Monday, August 15th, 2016

The maker of each of the 12″sq. small art quilts pictured below has donated the piece to the 2016 SAQA Online Auction , and between today and the start of the auction on September 16th, an exciting blog hop will feature in turn each of these pieces with posts from their makers about inspirations and processes used to create the works.  We’re all members of Studio Art Quilts Associates, “a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development, documentation, and publications. SAQA defines an art quilt as “a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.”  For more go to



So you can start hopping today with a great post by Linda Robertus creator of ‘Colouring In’, (second from right, middle row, above) with well illustrated detail about her inspiration and how she went about making the piece.  

On wednesday 17th, two days from now, we’ll be able to visit the post by Dale Rollerson  

My own contribution, ‘Mosaic Pathway’  (top row, 2nd from left)  will appear on here on August 29th.


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