Teaching Philosophy

I feel successful when I teach people:

- to see what they look at!

- that it is ok to be different!

- to open a whole new world of creativity for them....

- that there is a solution for every problem (mostly with a quick-unpick!)

- that it is a joy to be creative......

The Creative Mind Plays with the Object it Loves -
Carl Jung

Monday, 28 March 2016


At the moment, I don't have time to quilt which is sad...  I'm very involved in organizing the 2017 South African National Quilt Festival which will be hosted by my home guild, the Dias Quilters' Guild in Port Elizabeth.   Please visit the official festival Facebook page 2017 South African National Quilt Festival, Port Elizabeth and "like" the page...   You can also visit the festival website at http://festival.quiltsouthafrica.co.za for more news.   It will be wonderful to welcome International quilters at Siyadala - We Create NQF 3 - 8 July 2017.

I made three quilts for the Diversity Fibre Art Exhibition in 2015 and the last one I want to share with you, is Spinel.   I seldom work in red, but somehow I started buying shades of red and magenta batik fabrics which works perfectly with silk fabric.   I  had a rough sketch which I wanted to use and decided to use the red for the centre panel with purples on the sides.   I love working with round shapes as the design scope is endless.    The amazing thing is that with some quilts, everything just falls into place very easily.

Spinel consists of 5 panels, placed on a discharged background of blueish grey fabric which toned in very well with the blueish purples which I selected.   To create contrast, I prepared two panels with a mixture of silk, Bali and batik strips placed horizontally.    The stitching down of the strips was functional and I combined it with couching of cotton and silk yarns to create additional texture with the raw edges of the strips.

Rings in various sizes in bright oranges, magentas and pinks were cut for the centre panel using Bali cottons and silks.   These were placed on the centre panel and somehow, it looked great to have some of there spill over the edge of the panel.  Somehow the colouring looked a bit dead on the background...  The rings were already fused and stitched to the background when I promptly slashed some strips out of the background.    I used a darker purple behind it to take away the flatness of the purple, it immediately looked more interesting.  I then decided it lacked texture and added some hand embroidery around the insides of the rings which were filled with another colour.  This seemed to do the trick.  

Spinel 2015 - Centre Panel
Instead of using a ring motif, I decided to use rounds in two sizes for the two outside panels.  These had to be smaller than the rings of the centre panel to force it into a secondary place on the quilt.   The idea was to create variety with many different fabrics for the rounds.   The next step was to prepare backgrounds for these side panels - I decided against a solid piece of fabric as it would look too flat, I needed to avoid the problem I had with the centre panel.  I decided to cut blocks in the colour range I needed and fused it onto the background which immediately did the trick, the blocks on the one panel smaller than the other panel.    I used bigger rounds on the bigger blocks to create interest and variety.   The rounds were positioned and fused onto the background, the last panel was prepared in the same way and decorated with smaller rounds.   The rounds were stitched to the background to secure it. 

Side panels of Spinel.   The smaller rounds almost have the effect of bubbles...!

The next step was to stitch these panels to the background fabric and prepare the borders...   I chose all the colours used in the panels to prepare the borders, carefully placing colours in specific positions to complement the centre section.  Strips were prepared for the top and bottom borders similar to the two strippy panels on the quilt to complement it.   It worked well and I also added some couching to it.   A mixture of the strips and round motifs were used for the side panels to echo the rounds in the borders.

Echo quilting was used for the centre panel with pebbles quilted on the side panels between the round shapes.   Very simple quilting was done on the background of the quilt.  Cords were made using cotton yarn in various colours used in the quilt to seal the edge of the quilt.  I really loved working with these rich jewel colours which I normally don't use.    Spinel is indeed a gemstone found in this incredibel colour range...

Spinel 2015