Back from Road to California

“Gorgeous Girl”, my pictorial quilt of an old farm truck, has returned from Road to California. Road to California is a premier quilt show in California. It has large money prizes and is open to national and international quilters. More than 39,000 people visited the show in January of this year. That’s a big show. I was very proud and pleased to be chosen to have my quilt seen by so many people. I have entered Road to California many times but this was the first time chosen. The judges comments were favourable: “excellent raw edge applique”, “good fabric choices” and “very painterly”. That was my favourite comment.

“Gorgeous Girl” won runner-up Best of Show at QuiltWest in 2017, plus a first in the Pictorial section and Viewers Choice but did not make it over for the Best of the Best Show at AQC in Melbourne because it was in California. A bit disappointing. There’s always this year with QuiltWest just around the corner for us here in WA.

gorgeous girl
1st Pictorial QuiltWest 2017, Runner Up Best of Show QuiltWest 2017 and Viewers Choice



Fun at the Workshop

I had such good intentions of keeping the blog current and writing about all the things that I have been up to out in the Studio and at workshops. I ran a one day mixed media workshop at Easter and wanted to share all the happenings there. Better late than never.

There were 11 women at the workshop and it was exciting watching them enjoying working with fabric and paint. There was monoprinting on glass print plates and learning about masks and how they can add extra interest to a print. How to work with stencils and stamping was very popular and direct printing with leaves and feathers had excellent results. Rubbing using wire shapes and texture plates then augmenting the surface with more paint. Everyone has success and went home very happy with their mounds of new fabric.

I had planned on spending the morning with fabric and paint making new fabric to use in collage work and free motion stitching in the afternoon, but that proved a bit ambitious. It was thought by the students that a 2 day workshop would have been ideal, with one day working on printing and the next day on collageing the results. I will definitely look at that for next time. It was a great day and I enjoyed sharing my passion for printing on fabric.

all the students with their favorite pieces
Everyone actively engaged in creating new fabric! And our wonderful morning tea!

feather printing was very popular


convict cloth

rubbing over wire shapes and texture plates

More about rusting

I continued experimenting with different mordants for rusting cotton fabric. I tried coffee and green rose tea. The coffee was quite strong and the tea was not. I soaked the fabric in coffee then wound it round the rusted tin can and was quite surprised with the result. The same thing was done with the tea. There was quite a difference in colour and in the print. I am quite partial to printing and I like to see the print result as well as the colour change.


People have asked me what do I do with all my printed and rusted fabrics. I use them for all sorts of fabric art projects and they are very versatile fabrics.

Lots of texture

Lots of texture is a collage of eco printed rayon fabric for the base, tea dyed cotton, rust printed cotton and woven cane. Some cotton lace, rusted elements and machine and hand stitching.

collage with beading

Collage with beading uses a print fabric as a base. The pattern was free motion quilted over the print design, hessian, silk organza and purple silk, rust printed cotton fabric and embellished with metal and wooden beads. I think this one could do with more colour in the background so it may change with time.

feel free to try any of my experiments and id love to hear what you’re making.

rusting away

I have a love of rusty, old things. I like deconstructed pieces and worn out things. They hold a fascinating beauty and timelessness that captivates me. I find myself wondering what it might have been in its heyday, and marvelling at its new form. I have recently been crushing on the photographic work by Christopher Payne . Christopher trained as an architect and specialises in architectural photographs. The built form fascinates him. I recently asked Christopher for permission to transform one of his photographs into fabric and he kindly said he would be honoured.

Rusting fabric is not a new thing. There is lots of information on the web about rusting fabric and the various ways to do it. I’ll share my experiments with you and we can talk about what works and what doesn’t and serendipity.

When we talk about eco printing and eco dyeing we also have to talk about mordants. Animal fibres like silk and wool take up dyes much more easily than cellulose fibres like cotton. Mordants are the chemical solutions used to help the dye stick to the fabric. There are lots of mordants but I experimented with two – Vinegar and Tea.

Vinegar – any household vinegar-  used as a mordant will bring out all the lovely orange and browns that make rust look like rust. Simply rinse the clean cotton fabric in some vinegar before you wrap the rusty things in it or with it. Keep it wet. I place mine in a zip lock bag and place it in the sun. Works like a charm and I can almost see it happening magically before my eyes. It doesn’t work as well if you let the fabric dry, so keep an eye on it.

rusting fabric
rusty tins in the background. Vinegar soaked fabric wrapped wet around tin can and placed in zip lock bag. The magic is happening

It doesn’t take as long as you think before it works

vinegar rusting
finished after about three hours of rusting

I tried tea as a mordant and was pleasantly surprised with the results. It is even quicker than the Vinegar! I used black tea brewed the night before left over from my night cuppa, so it was good and dark. Rinsed my cotton cloth in it and when wet, wrapped it around the same tin cans. What a lovely colour, all grungy and mysterious.

vinegar and tea
Side by side = Tea rust on the bottom and vinegar rust on the top.
Found Objects
Here the mordant was tea, found objects scattered on cotton fabric.

Such a different colour and both sides of the fabric are readily useable. I will post a picture of what comes from these beauties.


to blog or not to blog

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

I spend a lot of time in my studio. I’m lucky to have a lovely free standing studio in the back yard. It’s airconditioned and organised and I just love it.  I love textiles and I have a huge stash of those and I love to paint. I teach painting in my studio and so far the students I have like the ambiance. There is laughter and music and art. What could be better.

Many of my friends think that I should share what I create in the studio. Why not start a blog? Why not indeed. Add a gallery as well. Sure why not. Some tutorials? Sure. Only I didnt know how hard it would be to make decisions about what to put in, what to say and how to make it all interesting.

I read and follow a lot of blogs. I like the way that bloggers let you into their lives and share the passion of whatever they are interested in. In reading blogs I can travel the world and see amazing ways that people create their art.