Sunday, 20 October 2019

A New Starting Point - Christchurch Quilters

A splendid sample.

It is amazing to think that last weekend I was teaching this workshop in Christchurch, New Zealand. I am now snuggled in at home, in front of the fire, with my dogs. Isn't life amazing?

A New Starting Point is my favourite workshop. By layering up old newspapers, maps and book pages with painted and unpainted Bondaweb, you can create some fabulous effects. If you add a little gilding flake and transfer foil, you can create something rather special.

Christchurch Quilters are a great grouo to work with, such fun. They are very experienced which made things very easy for me. We had 2 days of play with all manner of papers and sparkle. First we painted the Bondaweb, or Vliesofix as it is known in NZ and Australia.
Nicky and Catherine painting Bondaweb.

Then we began the 'backgrounds and prettys'. This technique involves layering paper with Bondaweb and building, tearing and building new layers. It's great fun and you never quite know what you will end up with.

Starting to layer.

Tearing the previous layers to create a new 'pretty'.

Adding slashes of transfer foil for extra flash.

Using different types of language papers can create more interest.

Using subtle colours shows of the texture.

Do you leave the edges uneven, or do you neaten them up?

I love this colour combination.

Japanese papers mixed with and pages from an old atlas.

In the past 7 years that I have taught this workshop, this is the first time any one has added spots. Don't they look fabulous?

Don't the colours in this sample work well together?

A great use of light and dark.

During the repeated layering process it is possible to 'manage' the colour background you use. You decide if you want your colours to merge or contrast.

Don't be afraid of using black.

A New Starting Point includes making newspaper faux chenille. It seems to make sense as we are using up our papers.

If you layer polyester organza in between your newspaper, when you distress the chenille you get a fabulous frayed effect.

 Doesn't this look like peeling paint? I love it.

When you distress your chenille you get all the confetti bits, which can in turn be ironed onto to painted Bondaweb to great effect.

In this workshop we used Bpndaweb/Vliesofix and Decovil 1 iron-on interfacing.

Decovil 1 is a leather like iron-on interfacing that is popular for interfacing bags. You just iron your fabric on it and make up your bag. It is also fabulous to use to make decorated book covers and small vessels. There is a lighter weight version - Decovil light!

We painted the Decovil 1 with watered down acrylic paint and when it was dry some of the torn paper samples were ironed on to create slip covers for books.

A few of the slip covers.

I thoroughly enjoyed teaching this workshop. After all the hustle and bustle of Quilt Symposium 2019 it was very relaxing. Christchurch Quilters were such fun to work with and I was looked after very well.

Many thanks to Jean, Sue Ellen, Nicky, Catherine, Lorriane, Denise, Dallas, Alice and Lesley.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

If you would lile to learn more abut my 'backgrounds and pretties' technique I teach it online - 

Or the online Faux Chenille workshop is here -


I'm going to sort my studio today and rehang it with my work that was in my recent local exhibition. It will be good to see it all together again.

More soon, x

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Quilt Symposium 2019 - Auckland New Zealand

 5 layers of heavy paper Tyvek, layered with polyester organza, machine stitched together and then zapped with a heat gun.

The Auckland Quilt Symposium 2019 was a fabulous affair. 30 tutors from near and far taught, I don't know how many, students over 5 days. A remarkable feat of organisation and great fun to be part of. I taught 3 workshops. A New Starting Point, Tinkering with Tyvek and Look, Draw, Print, Stitch.

The Symposium was held in a girls school with great facilities. I was given a room in the science block. It was fabulous, my friends Alysn Midgelow Marsden and Jane Callender were teaching in the same block. I had stayed with Alysn for a few days before the Symposium and I hadn't seen Jane since we did the ICHF craft shows in the UK about 7 years ago. It was so good to catch up with her.

The rooms were were perfect as they had electric sockets in the floor under the tables and they also had sinks- what more could a girl ask??

The first workshop was a 2 day version of A New Starting Point. We painted up Bondaweb/Vliesofix and the students had already painted up old newspapers, book pages and maps.

We started to tear and layer up our 'backgrounds and pretties'.
Using gilding flake in this process is very effective.

 Layering and tearing papers creates a fabulous effect.

 This is one of the finished samples.

I loved watching this student. She was smiling all day long. It was such a joy to watch her work.

 A happy group layering up their 'backgrounds and pretties'.

Once the group had got to grips with the layering process, we had a break on the second morning and made some newspaper fux chenille.
 5 sheets of newspaper were layered with polyester organza. These layers were then stitched together by machine in lines, on a long stitch about 1/2 inch apart.

 I had a great time teaching this group and 2 of them were in my 3rd workshop.

The next workshop was Tinkering with Tyvek. A day to explore and play with this fun product.

 Lots of Tyvek drying in the corridor.

First of all we painted both sides of the Tyvek. We used 75gm paper type Tyvek and the fabric type, the sort used to make scene of crime suits.

Then the fun started, teaching the delicate process of ironing to create texture. 
The 3 magic words are . . Kiss, Stroke and Caress!!

 A few of the first samples.

 A happy group stitching their layers of Tyvek ready to zap with a heat gun.

One of the fun samples we worked on was 5 layers of 75gm Tyvek layered with polyester organza and then free machine stitched together. The samples were then zapped with a heat gun to reveal the different layers of colour.

 2 of the zapped back samples.

The great thing about layering up Tyvek is that it becomes quite strong and would be great to make vessels or boxes. 

We also made corsages . .

 3 circles of Tyvek stitched together and then zapped, gently, with a heat gun.

Great fun was had by all of us.

The last workshop was a 2 day version of Look, Draw, Print, Stitch. I think this workshop is the best thing I do. It is a great way to help you generate unique designs. It is important to use designs that are your own, not others.
It is a shorter version of my 'Journey' workshop.

I was pleased to have 6 students in the group. Students tend to avoid design classes - which is a shame as it is so very important.

We started with the 'this is not a competition' chat. When you ask most students to draw it can make their hearts sink, they need support.

 A drawing using the equipment in the science room as inspiration.

 Once the drawings were completed the students started to take sections to isolate designs.

 One of the designs.

 And then the tracings . . .

   . . . and then the printing blocks . .

 Some the printing blocks. Totally original.

And then the printing began . . 

 Of course the baby wipes that we used to clean the blocks were a huge success. I have been using these wipes for years and I love the matt texture.

 We did print on paper and fabric too.

Then we had a session of flipping and mirroring one of their designs . . . to create more new designs.

 Starting to paint the design.

Then we had a play with applique. We ironed Bondaweb onto the back of a good print on a baby wipe then cut out the positive part of the print. This was then ironed onto another baby wipe background . . .

 This is one of Michelles apliqued prints and you can just see a little hand stitch if you look closely. We did get to stitch on some of the prints.

 This piece was created by Heather. A baby wipe print ironed onto dyed Japanese paper, ready to stitch.

 This is Michelle and her work . .

 Jenny . .

 Debbie . .

 Lorraine . .

 and Heather.

Sadly Hilary to leave before the end of the class.

 This one of her fabulous prints on fabric. The positive design has bee overprinted by the negative design.

This is the amazing committee, (all volunteers) that worked so hard to create this wonderful event. Thank you ladies - it was FANTASTIC!!


If you are interested in any of these workshops but can't get to Ireland to my studio, I do teach versions of all of these workshops online. 

If you have any questions, do please email me -