How did you choose your craft? I was originally an art teacher, way back in the dim dark ages, majoring in textiles at college, so anything to do with fibre has always been wonderful for me. I have learnt how to spin it, dye it, weave it, sew it, knit it — and whatever else you can do with it — so choosing to go into some sort of textile design wasn’t too hard for me. It just seemed natural.
Have you tried other crafts? When I started out designing, I used to weave commission tapestries for art galleries and private homes as well as teach art and crafts in high schools and hospitals. I would sell one-off pieces in exhibitions all over Australia. When I had children, I started a private art tutoring business at home.
There was a spin-off from that, right? One day, I was fishing around for something to do with all those little ones, and I decided to make ceramic novelty buttons, using an old kiln I had. The children helped make them, and then some of the mums showed them to a local craft shop, and I was asked to design and make a series of porcelain buttons for the shop. Word got out and soon I was supplying porcelain buttons to more than 300 craft stores.
Where do you draw inspiration? Mostly from my surroundings and experiences. The French Collection and now The French Kitchen is a result of a month spent travelling in France with my husband and two sons. All my designs are me and totally me. I collect kitchenalia from the ’50s and ’60s, so I have designed two quilts featuring the collection.
What are your work surroundings like? We bought an old house (110 years old) and are in the throes of renovations. I’ve nabbed one large sleepout as my workroom. It’s not much to look at yet, with its peeling wallpaper and saggy ceiling, but it has a wonderful huge window that takes up most of the long wall looking out to our garden. I love to sit and work at that window, with the robins and blue wrens flitting in and out of the lilac trees and flowers. I love it, and it’s the first time I’ve had space to leave my sewing machine permanently set up. Very privileged!