Why this particular craft? Patchwork and quilting have unlocked a creative side to me that I never knew existed when I was just a knitter and dressmaker in a previous existence. I love the challenge offered by different styles of fabric – the designs speak to you and make you choose colours that you never thought would be so pleasing.
Have you tried plenty of others? There have been many different stages in my adult life: The single life in a big city working in an office with lots of overseas and domestic travelling when the crafts I enjoyed were mainly knitting and dressmaking. My next phase was as a TAFE teacher in office and computing studies and the holiday times gave more scope for trying out other crafts like cross stitch, crochet and embroidery and all this thanks to the encouragement of my husband, Peter.
The joint ownership of a retail craft supply shop catapulted me into experimenting with new crafts but always coming back to patchwork and quilting, where I would develop projects using a wide variety of tools and rulers, showcase new fabrics and plan and develop class projects and teaching techniques. Then, later, I was truly able to indulge my passion as a full-time designer, teacher and quiltmaker.
Who taught you your crafting skills? My mother was a dressmaker, and I always attributed my love and passion for fabric and colour to her, but she was better at doing than teaching, so my own dressmaking skills were self-taught. By the time I took up patchwork and quilting, I was a qualified teacher and recognised the need to learn these new skills so that I’d have a solid grounding in this new craft. To gain these skills, I’ve travelled far and wide to attend workshops and classes with some of the world’s finest quilters and embroiderers in various parts of Australia, France and the US.
Is it hard to find time to do it or is it a profession? For many years, patchwork, quilting and appliqué have been a full-time occupation, but with my husband now retired, I find there are a lot more distractions, so less time for my stitching. However, I cannot imagine a time when I will not be doing some form of stitching - it has never been a chore, and I find it impossible to sit and do nothing with my hands.
What are your favourite materials to work with? I always choose good-quality pure cotton fabric for my quilting and like to work with Mettler and Superior threads.
Do you teach your skills to others? One of the great enjoyments of my patchwork and quilting journey has been the opportunity to teach these skills to so many people. It has been wonderful to take my TAFE teaching experience and use this in a field that has given me so much pleasure.