index.htm about.htm artworks.htm bark.htm Character Cloth Dolls.htm Fabric collage.htm faces.htm layering.htm Machine Embroidery.htm Silk_Painting-and_Shibori.htm Wearable Art.htm WorkshopsCourses.htm


            Please note that, on this page, the section headings are links to sub-pages

on the individual topics. If you wish, you can read the text for each section, go to

the relevant page, and then return to Artworks.


        Silk painting and machine embroidery are both exciting and addictive in

themselves. Together, they can be magical. Silk has life and lustre and takes colour

vibrantly. It is versatile: the different types of silk are spun into a range of yarns and

then woven into an amazing range of fabrics. Finer silk also manipulates beautifully.

All these qualities make it a wonderful fabric to work with.

    Silk Painting

    When I began painting on silk, pictorial effects interested me, but it soon became

apparent that the framework of gutta lines made the piece of fabric look flat, no

matter how interestingly the spaces were filled (not to mention the health and

ecological problems associated with getting rid of spirit-based gutta). I came to

prefer the more three-dimensional effects of migration technique (in which the

dyes, hand-painted, are allowed to interact in their own way - though with some

degree of control), or of salt technique (used as an end in itself) or of shibori-

related manipulation of fabric. The results were more akin to patterns found in

nature. In addition, the piece of fabric no longer seemed two-dimensional. Painted

 silk can be a work of art in itself - or made into a garment - or manipulated for

textural effect -  or embroidered on. The permutations and combinations are

and combinations of endless. Aussie shibori uses coloured dyes in variations on and

adaptations or combinations of the techniques of the Japanese art of shibori.

    Machine Embroidery

    In creative freehand machine embroidery (FME), there are no rules, only

possibilities. Because we are concerned, not with construction, but with the

creation of rich surfaces, not only do we set aside the rules of conventional

sewing, but we deliberately break them. Only in this way can we build up a wide

repertoire of stitch techniques.


    Construction is about balanced tension (top and bottom threads); FME is about a

myriad of effects obtained by controlled imbalance of tensions. If you aren't prepared to

play with both top and bottom tension, you are severely limiting the possibilities.


     I like to "think outside the square", both in the shape of pieces and in trying to

develop innovative and different edge finishes and presentation:


                 1.        2.        3.

        1. Aerial Perspective (Earthbound Series, 1997) (H 19"/48 cm approx.)

         2. Genesis (Earthbound series, 1998)(H 36"/91.5 cm approx.)

         3. Microcosm (Earthbound series, 1998) (H 13"/33 cm x W 14"/36 cm) (Private collection, Auckland)


    I like 3-D work:

                 1.        2.        3.

        1. Bowl I (1999) - moulded over half a a tenpin bowling ball, then embroidered (Private collection,        


        2. Bowl II (1999) - worked as above

        3. Bark and Lichen II (detail) (1999) (Collection of Barbara Wenders, Seattle, WA)


    Further, what are normally regarded as defects, such as stitch distortion and

visible bobbin thread, can be turned into creative opportunities - an exploratory

approach which makes FME an exciting and satisfying means of personal

expression. As an artist, you build your repertoire from the techniques of which

you like the effects, which you enjoy doing, and - very important - which your

machine likes doing.

                                        All it takes is play and practice.

    Wearable Art

    Historical and theatrical costume have fascinated me since my teens, so

wearable art follows quite naturally. I've been doing one-offs to commission and

for exhibition since 1989. Since 1996, I have been fortunate enough to be selected

 - when applying -  to exhibit in the prestigious annual Art to Wear exhibition. This

has been held annually  at the Convention Centre at Darling Harbour in Sydney under

the auspices of the New South Wales Quilters' Guild.

    Character Cloth Dolls

    I came late to doll-making as the result of a commission for two Witch dolls. By

the time I had begun working on the second, I was hooked. Cloth-doll making

combines several of what are for me addictive areas of art/craft: three-

dimensional design (the dolls), costume design (historical, theatrical and fantasy),

sewing on a small scale, machine embroidery, and painting. However, while I like

to think a sense of humour goes into my dolls, I don't do "cute"!