Wednesday, December 2, 2015


There are a lot of ways to show city: you can use many colors, shapes, shadows...  But this time I decided to try different way for me and use mostly simple lines. 
And here is the result of my attempt.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Pasture management systems no.1

This naive style landscape explores the use of fences to subdivide pasture land. Pasture management is in my farming background, partly from having owned a sheep and cattle farm, and partly because I used to teach it at part time courses for an agricultural college. This is what is called an extensive system, where animals, let us imagine sheep and cattle or sheep and goats, live in the same field all the time, but each field only has a small number of animals. Its advantages are that there is less movement and therefore less stress on the animals, and the water supply can be rationalised. It is the least labour intensive method, and a system that has been around for hundreds of years.  The disadvantages are that the grass is not utilised to its maximum, as some will be trampled and not eaten, animals can pick out the tastier grasses and leave the ones they don't like, and parasites will be more difficult to manage.

But enough of that! This is not really what I wanted to make for my final challenge, which is a detailed portrait of some refugee women and children in a camp in Pakistan. A fence is in the foreground.  It will take me at least another month, though I have done all the preparation. I was just too busy at work to have the time.

This second choice combines elements from the first one in the fences series (green) with elements from the art deco one. It intrigues me that we can assemble a limited number of 'marks' and shapes, and yet we find them convincing as a landscape.

Ashmead's Kernal

For my last quilt in the 2015 series I have continued to design and develop in Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 (which happily continues to work well under Windows 10). I was able to pick and photograph apples from the tree in my garden for this piece so it really does feel like it is completely my own home grown piece of work.

As the challenge for this piece is 'Reflection' I decided to play with the Reflection Effects in the software. There are so many variables to try that in the end I just rolled the dice until I came up with several pictures that I liked. Then I just chose my two favourites and added a Distortion Ripple Effect to the lower one. Examples below...

Reflection pattern
Reflection pattern with ripple

Reflection kaleidoscope
Reflection kaleidoscope with ripple

Once I had settled on the final two background pictures I superimposed my apples over them and I printed them out on TAP and ironed this onto white cotton. It is difficult to make the joins disappear and I used watercolour pencils to try and hide any small gaps. 
I applied Golden Soft Gel Medium with a small paintbrush and let it dry and then ironed on gold and silver foil. 
Finally I dusted lightly with some pearly and bronzey markal sticks.
The piece was then ironed onto felt with mistyfuse and quilted with YLI machine quilting cotton in Dusk.

It might interest you to know that I am not very good at visualising which is why I find PaintShop Pro so useful in the design process. Unless I have done something before I cannot imagine what it is going to look like so I do a lot of  'what if', trial and error and test pieces along the way to finalising my piece.

Eukalyptus Leaves Quilt - WALK OVER!

This time I have not been able to make the 4:th Eucalyptus Leaves Quilt. I really have tried hard and a lot, but all my ideas and samples were not good enough, so I have to make a "walk over" this time.
The other day I got round to reading this phrase "The iterative process - reworking, reworking and reworking again - learning something more each time, giving innovations a chance to emerge - and through failures, building resilience". I hope to be able to come back with my final Leaves Quilt another day! Instead of pushing myself to make the quilt in time I got hooked on something else. In October I viseted Ancient Messene in Peloponnesos in Greece.

Most of the area of Ancient Messene contains the ruins of the large classical city-state of Messene refounded by Epaminondas in 369 BC. This Messene, is today´s Ancient Messene. Currently the substantial ruins are a major historical attraction. Much of it has been archaeologically excavated and partly restored or preserved for study and public viewing, as well as for various events. The site was never totally abandoned"

Below are some photos from this beautiful place.

 The Olympic Stadion. All seats are numbered and still visabel after thousands of years.

The theatre above is even used today playing old Greek Dramas and below is a detail from the ancient watering system.

Here on one of the stones at the old theatre I found some interesting patterns which I thought was absolutely lovely. 

I  loaded it up on my computer and printed it out on a  piece of white cotton and started to embroider on it. Lots of french knots, beads and buttenhole rings.

The rings  were made  by winding the thread several times  around one, two or three fingers in an anticlockwise direction and then work  buttonhole stitches with a tapestry needle  left to right (if you are right-handed) over the threads around the thread ring. This idea I got from the book "Stitch and Structure. Design Technique in two - and three-dimensional textiles"  by Jean Draper.
 I have also used rusted fabric to make the pebbles/stones - Timtex on the back as a stiffener, batting on top of it and over this the rusted fabric.  This technique is described in June/July 2014, Quilting Arts Magazine.

Close ups

Friday, October 23, 2015

Where are they now?

I thought I would try to find out what all our former members are doing now. Some left quite early on to pursue their artistic endeavours elsewhere. Some stayed the first 2 years, and then moved on.

This is my summary, but if any of you former members want to write something personal about your art, or if anyone knows about the people I can't find at the moment, please update us.

It  was fun to share part of the Latitude journey with them.

I think we could easily identify Katie's work here. Katie Pigeon -

Meta is working with metal and electroplating fabric. Meta Heemskerk –

Linden's detailed and careful work is being exhibited in Australia and with a travelling SAQA exhibition. Linden Lancaster -

Heidi is still mainly working with her yarns and fibres. Heidi Wulfraat -

Janice Stevens is exhibiting with SAQA.

Gurli Gregersen has changed her focus to photography recently.

Judy Haas, I can't find any links to.

Pamela Priday is doing a lot of experimental dyeing with plants

Deborah Wirsu. Deborah had developed a weekly video tutorial in aspects of FMQ and thread sketching. This is a fabulous resource freely available.

Amanda Sievers – not sure what she is up to or where. Margy and Nicole might know more than me.

Vivien Zepf – Vivien is working on curating and print making.

Gabriele Bach is the contact for a German quilt group, which also has a Fb page.

Sabine also, haven't heard about for a while.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Gradus ad Edinburgh

My extreme quilt was based on a photo of the Edinburgh skyline. It was inspired by a study of Paul Klee's Ad Parnassum in which he successfully abstracts the shape of the building and infuses it with detailed colour. This was combined with work done for a class with Lisa Call looking at repetition in rhythm and flow. The exercises were completed with a view to creating a design that could be used for this quilt. Two designs were created, one using extreme colour and the other using line and extreme lack of colour.

The background is the cap from a red/green bucket exchange dye, there is no way of telling what will be created with these caps. It was added to the bucket about half an hour after the first fabrics were immersed and is a silk noile. The colour shows subtle shifts from green to red, the perfect texture and colour for walls. The black lines are created using a variety of threads from a black Oliver Twist thread pack. Stitched with 50 weight thread and backed with hand dyed fabric from the same bucket. It is faced, a new technique for me and one which I like and may use for Edinburgh Sunset

Final challenge for the year - Reflection

As we come to the close of our 3rd year's journey together, we can reflect on how far we have come. I think we can see how much we have developed since some of us started with the Carnival challenge. We have played with new techniques, adopted some, rejected others, and narrowed our focus.

This challenge will be made up of two parts: a quilt in our chosen series and  a written reflection on how Latitude has helped us to develop as artists. This doesn't have to be a long essay, but this is a good time to summarise our thoughts.

For the final quilt in the series - and it may be the final quilt we do together, we need to talk about that - we should include something that involves the idea of  the essence of our theme. I am always impressed  by Picasso's works on The bull. It is amazing how he distills the essence from a tonal drawing to a few curved lines. 

Consider the essential elements of your theme and show them in your work. It could be like this Picasso series of drawings, going minimalist. But if you prefer to show more detail instead of less, that is OK too. This is your opportunity to draw on the previous 3 quilts in your series and work on an aspect that you particularly like about your subject.

Sometimes we are a little alarmed at a challenge theme and can't choose an idea. Maybe it will be easier with more freedom, but maybe not!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sun, rain and mudflow

This summer in our city was the hottest for the last 135 years. The average temperature was +38 C. Sometimes it was unusual rain with hail and the size of it was as cherry. Besides that it was several big mudflows at the mountains and some of it reached the city. Fortunately nobody was killed. Some houses and cars were ruined.  

As I live at the foothill the whole July and August we went to bed having our documents under the pillow in case of emergency of mudflow.
So it was really extreme summer!

This quilt is totally about it. Here can be sun, rain and mudflow in one day!
Materials: cotton, beads.
Machine piecing, machine quilting, hand beading

Pineapple Emerging

 I decided to continue with my method of designing in PaintShop Pro with the aim of producing something very bright and rather abstract. I eventually settled on a very simplified design of a pineapple set against a background of kiwi fruit cross sections. I love fresh pineapple, but am allergic to it and get a more extreme reaction to it every time I eat it.

I started with a simple drawing of a pineapple which I scanned in and then I found a good picture of kiwi fruit. I manipulated the kiwi fruit picture and then changed the colour of the pineapple and the leaves to differentiate it from the background. 

 I used TAP for the lettering on my last quilt, but I have never used it for a whole quilt and I have never had to match and join sections of a picture onto fabric. It’s quite difficult and I did mess it up a bit. I have since worked out how to crop accurate section for printing and to join them together with masking tape before ironing it all on to the fabric in one big go.

My intention was to do some dense quilting over the background in a light colour to knock it back and make the pineapple pop out, but this did not work as effectively as I had hoped. To rectify this I had to reinforce the stitched black outline of the pineapple with a black pen and then go over the background with a pearl-white Markal stick. If I'd had time to practice I would have faded out the background before printing it.

Reverse view

Golden Tulips

Our challenge Extreme combined with my personal one, Tulips could give many solutions. But tulips tends to grow very long stems even after they have been put in a vase, so I decided to focus on that. My tulips have extremely long stems compared to the heads. I also wanted the stems to weave together, not standing straight, and as I drew them, they suddenly became brother at the bottom.
For once, I also wanted to work with golden foil - so golden tulips. But I needed a focal-point, so I put in one tulip, bowing down to the viewer.
This done in my sketchbook, I had to figure out how to interpret this in fabric. I decided to quilt the whole piece first, then paint in the stems with fabric paint, glue and foil for the heads. The big one was red fabric bonded on before the gold foil was put on. And a little quilt finish just as a hint. I have not tried to make realistic tulips, just a suggestion.

and some close ups:

Falling Leaves


This quilt is the third in a series that will consist of four or perhaps more quilts with the theme LEAVES.

The challenge this time was EXTREME.
At first I thought of heavy embellishment with lots beads and embroidery, but finally I come to think of some design guidelines.

Simplify, Exaggerate and Repeat. For example, simplify your images, exaggerate the contrast, repeat images, colors and similar shapes and lines.

The inspiration photo is the foliage of an eucalyptus tree. See below.

I have tried to simplify the image, exaggerate the contrast with just a few colors with high contrast among them, repeated the colors and repeated similar shapes.
Although I am not sure that this quilt can be called Extreme, perhaps only by comparison with my two first "Leaf Quilts".

The background is a commercial cotton fabric. The red dot come with the fabric, as well as the red raw edged appliquéd circles, that I have cut out from other parts of the background fabric. The light leaves and dots are white cotton stamped and stenciled with gold, bronze and black acrylic paint by means of a Gelli Plate.

The background leaves are painted with a gold Markal Oil Paintstick and machine quilted with a gold metallic thread.

Dawn patrol

My ideas for extreme fencing settled on the most unfriendly fencing you can get, razor wire. I was able to get a few source photos to give me ideas, and this one had a strong idea of Notan, so I used dark wire on the light half of the background and light wire on the dark half. I wasn't sure if the quantity of wire would seem overwhelming, but it turned out fine.

I played with the idea of just having an abstract based on the coils of wire, but it seemed to need a context.  I  made up a silhouette of a soldier, but I didn't want him to look threatening, so I put the gun onto his back. The metallic black thread really catches the light, which you can see in the close up.

 I was really fortunate to have a small piece of surface designed fabric in the right colours that turned out really convincingly for the soldier, conveying his face and camouflage clothes.

The background fabric was painted with thickened dyes, as illustrated by Laura Kemshall in a recent DMTV show.
After I had completed the barbs, which took many hours, I felt the lack of colour made it seem more dismal than I intended, so I added a turquoise thread inside the border, and some Inktense pencils gave me the dawn glow.

Without this challenge idea, I would not have thought of this interpretation of fencing, as it seemed initially very negative. However, I am really pleased with how it turned out.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Challenge- Extreme

Throughout the history of art, artists have pushed themselves to step outside of the accepted forms. We see this in textiles, paint and sculptures, every area where there is creativity. The natural progression is to learn the "rules", the techniques and skills, use them until they are comfortable and old and then step out of that comfort zone.
Ask what if?
How much can I change things?
What is the most extreme form I can create and still have something I want to make and will be happy to have made?

Hibiscus with Plumeria Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe pushed the limits of size.
Amongst other artists who stepped out into new areas are Kazimir Malevich, Paul Klee, Joan MiroRichard DiebenkornJackson Pollock, and perhaps my least favourite artist Willem deKooning. All challenge us in one way or another and make us restless with the work we make.

Paul Klee Ad Parnassum

Quilters and textile workers also love to push boundaries and work on concepts. Who are your sources of inspiration? Huguette Caland challenges me with her lines and dots- repetition
Gloria Loughman with her colours and the intricate details of her landscapes.

What will you choose:
work with only one design element, line, colour, value etc
an extreme range of colour or work in white
very large images or very small                                
complex  or simple
The choice is yours.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

City flowerbeds and oriental tiles

May be you have noticed that I like circles and wavy lines. 

So I‘ve decided to use these shapes for Art Deco theme.

After the design forms were chosen it was time to find the main idea of my “city” quilt.

I live in a very green city with a lot of flowerbeds and at the same time we have many building with oriental tiles and I decided to combine these two beauties in one quilt.