I am in the process of finalising all the content for my first online comprehensive textile art class. As I build the structure for the material, I find myself thinking back on the journey that bought me here. Like many of you, I started sewing in my teens, did a lot of traditional hand embroidery and in the early 1990’s, morphed into patchwork when my babies came along. In 2001, Unique Stitching was launched as a traditional patchwork business. A number of issues brought me to the art quilt world. First amongst them was a restlessness that made me want to try different things coupled with a strong sense of independence, demanding that I find my own style. When I then could not find materials I wanted or if I found them the pricing was outrageous due to monopolies or restrained trade arrangements, I became determined to source and create my own products.
In 2005, I brought in Procion dyes and started dyeing ‘speciality’ fabrics: velvets, wools, silks and a world of different fibres. At the end of 2005, I created my first sets of creative embroidery packs containing hand dyed velvet, silk jacquard, silk top, cocoons and thread. I could have kissed the first person to buy one of my packs, such was my relief, at the Brisbane Craft and Quilt show where I launched that range.
In 2007, I launched the Art Quilt Collection (AQC). This was the first time in Australia, and possibly the world, where there was a monthly mail out of textile art materials. Each pack had a product, an explanation of that product and how to use it plus a simple project to create. Since that time, many have adapted my idea in different ways. I had no idea what I had started, but it was clear that my future was definitely more on the art side of the page. When I launched AQC, I hoped to get about 25 people to sign up. In 2009, when we peaked at over 2500 participants and I was spending three weeks out of every four preparing the packs, I decided it was time to move on.
Since that time, we have expanded our ranges; I have taught around the world; been published in Quilting Arts Magazine; and been on QATV in the US. It is a charmed life. Now I want to spend a bit more time at home and the future for sharing what I know is increasingly teaching: face to face and online.
I hope that you can join me as this year will see lots of exciting online offerings, from me as well as a collective I am part of. To find out more about my first Textile Art online class, go here: http://tinyurl.com/z5ewlbg
Tomorrow I will talk about the Fiber Art Connection as it will be my day on our Blog Hop.
In the meantime, I want to share a few pieces of my first Art Quilt series. This was part of my AQC work and mainly focused on manipulating and distressing fabric, with stress and heat. This is now only one of many tools I use and each piece is a small, simple example, but it is nice to look back on. This is not the full series, but gives you a sense. It has an environmental theme.
Under the Watch of our Ancestors
Home in a Concrete Jungle
Through Rose Coloured Glasses
Erosion (the lighting on this is not very good, sorry)