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About the Life Quilts

Quilts have longed been used as an unrestricted voice of women’s creativity; and I have chosen this medium to express my thoughts and feelings, hopefully adding to its rich heritage. I enjoy creating something which is technically very difficult; it’s a challenge to get right. 


Life 10 Leaf Mould at Bilston Art Gallery and Museum.
3 Quilts, Mitochondrial Roots, The unProfessional Wife, and Murder at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Musum. Winner of Open and Visitors Choice.

(Below Visitors Choice winner, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum.)

Each of my quilts tells a story about the woman depicted, and explores what it means to be a modern woman pulled in different directions by motherhood, domesticity, career, ambitions, and age. The women, all drawn from life, have text blistered and ingrained into the skin, before being painted over with acrylics. The person and the story become one. The text is intentionally difficult to read, but not impossible.  I do not want the image to exist only to illustrate the text, but to be a subtle extra layer; one you have to look for.  I am whispering my stories to you and not shouting.


Physically, the Life Series grew from an amalgam between the skills I already possessed as a quilter, and the new ones I was gaining as a painter.  For a long time both skills remained separate and I didn’t bring the two together for some time.  I always strive to be original and that’s quite often the driving force behind my technical experiments. I began with making fabric collage bases for my paintings and then moved on to more complex constructions, which included difficult curved piecing over papers and tiny applique (Only 1 quilt is a wholecloth, having no piecing, and the rest have images made up of tiny pieces of cloth which I have dyed or printed).  The drawing of a life figure (taken from a class) onto cloth was simply another of these experiments and resulted in Life 1.

(Photo above from exhibition opening in the Oxo Tower, South Bank, London. Melvin Bragg, Lady Levy, Cheri Blair. Life 4 was selected by Roxane Sane of Sothebys, Amy Mechowski, of Sotheby's and V&A, Andrew Gilliams from White Cube and Len Massey from RCA)

Any quilter will tell you that the layers of a quilt (backing, wadding, and top decorative cloth) need to be held together to stop movement, and I was at a loss at how to stitch the area of the body I’d painted without it showing too much and detracting from the painting.  I hit on the idea of text after overhearing conversations between the model and the other artists in the same room. She was happy about her shape, and age, and didn’t care what people thought of her. She was keen to show herself to give other women courage about themselves.  A lot of women have image issues for many reasons, and her thoughts were refreshing.  I chose the poem as it was a favourite and fitted the character of the model.

(Photo above painting Life 16 Poisonous Plant, live at the NEC, Birmingham.

3 quilts at Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum, Life 4, Life 2, and Life 3.


The same 3 quilts at Festival Of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham.








On Create and Craft TV - channel 36













Piecing for the quilt inlay on Life 4 

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