Art Quilter

I have always loved the strength and elegance of Reece Scannell’s images on linen in their beautiful blacks, whites and neutrals. I know people can criticise work derived from photography as there is an assumption that it is just about pressing a button. I wanted to add an element that showed the involvement of Scannell as an artist and used hands to imply the ‘making’ process.

Art is creative, sometimes but not necessarily beautiful, always interesting, starts conversations and makes us think. I have always believed that the role of the artist is to hold a mirror to our world to show you the reflection that they see.

The grace of white statues in a park where trees create black and white lace against a winter sky intrigued me. It spoke of the Romans, of Renaissance, the Victorian Era, and of those who design beautiful outdoor spaces for people in cities to walk and picnic and meet family, lovers and friends. City planners are artists, gardeners are artists, sculptors are artists, photographers are artists and quilters are artists. Many hands are involved in this piece and its image long before it reached me.

I can find no source for the quote – it appears in memes all over the internet – but it is a wonderful summary of the way I feel about the importance of art to us.

I was born in Bendigo, Victoria in 1948, grew up in New Guinea, went to boarding school in Australia and have been traveling ever since. My husband is a diplomat. I realised that maintaining a career as a research technician in electron microscopy was not going to be easy while living for long periods on posting in other less developed countries so I went back to University as a very-mature-age student, and finished a degree in Visual Arts in 1997. I made a quilt as light relief when I finished the degree – and never really went back to painting.

I love to use quilts in the way that another artist might use paint. It is a tactile and visually beautiful medium. We spend most of our lives wrapped in cloth and I believe that people respond to textiles in ways that they do not respond to paint on canvas – and this is indicated by the frequent desire to reach out and touch.

Having lived and worked in Syria, Malaysia, Jordan, Jerusalem, and Egypt since 1979 I have a strong interest in Arab culture and Islamic art.

I exhibit and teach. I have won prizes for my work but this is not my main purpose in making what I make. I teach women in the western world who use quilting as a leisure activity and I have also been privileged to teach women and men in the developing world who use patchwork as a prime income. It seems to me that this brings me full circle, allowing me to give back some of the pleasure that the region has given to me.