your own quilting history, how did you get started quilting
My introduction to quilting was a bit like a religious experience…. Well, I’m not too sure what a religious experience is like because I’m not religious, but…. I’ve seen it in movies and "I want what she’s having"
I was a fashion designer at the time and I was winding down after raring 15 children and running my own fashion business for 20 years…. In fact, I needed a break.
HA, I sort of went from one thing to the next…. Even though I was a designer with a lot of fabric experience, I really had to learn the basics of quilting…. I took to it like a duck to water and many times I sank…. but I learned from my friends and I re-surfaced.
That was 20 years ago now…. Now I travel the world teaching and lecturing and having the most amazing time in quilting.
what do you love and/or hate about the process
I love meeting other quilters, and there is nothing that I hate about the industry…. As an International Tutor I have a little difficulty with bureaucracy. By that I mean making sure the contracts are up to standard and sometimes having to ask for basic things without them being offered… For instance, I need to stay in a hotel and I don’t share a room, not too much to ask and that’s about it really.
where you are from, where you’ve been, where you’re going
I’m Australian, from South Australia in fact. I live in the Adelaide hills.
As for where I’ve been…… Goodness, I’ve taught all over the world…. in fact as I’m writing this I’m in Amman Jordan, I’ve been teaching and lecturing in Israel and I’m about to teach in Dubai and then Thailand.
This year for instance, I’ve been in the USA for 6 weeks, I will go back to teach at Paducah and in Eureka April May. I’ll be teaching on a quilt cruise around Britain for 15 days…..and then I will teach in Birmingham at the big show…. France and then Russia. which takes me through September, and then back to the USA and Mexico…. so as you can see, I don’t spend too much time home
I’m the roving reporter for the Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson Show, I film small documentaries with a quilting twist….!!! and I write and film for magazines…
I’ve written one book and I have 3 in the pipeline. 2 about the Bayeux Quilt and one of those is for children and I have almost finished another about bizarre alphabet individuals, that ends up a in quilt
what you’ve done, awards won, contests entered, personal achievements (smile on a grandchild’s face!)
I’ve been very lucky and won BOS Houston, AQS, and many other shows….. so now I’ve decided to retire from competition…. I’ve had my share… now I’m working on a major project which will be my Mt Everest…
I’m re-creating the Bayeux Tapestryas a quilt… all 238 feet of it…. It’s half way through.
Personal Achievements, I guess our family is our personal achievement… we have 15 children…. 3 biological, 10 adopted from overseas and we are legal guardians for two men of aboriginal descent.
They are a great bunch, all except one of them lives just 5-10 minutes from our house… We’re a close family who love to cook and have parties… But none of the girls quilt…. all five of them…they figure they will inherit mine.
what technique(s) do you want to learn this year, or further perfect
NONE, I’m about as happy with my lot as I can get…. I guess I get to do the teaching, I have the enjoyment of meeting 1000’s of students a year, I give a lot of lectures, for instance I lectured to a large group of quilters in Tel Aviv last week.
I am embarrassed when people say I inspire them, (and many did) but then again, when I think about it….. that’s what I’m trying to achieve….
I had dinner with some of them last night. It’s a huge responsibility and as I say, I find it a little uncomfortable, but in a way honored at their accolades.
if you blog, why?
I have written a journal all my life… I’ve always sketched and illustrated and the blog is part of that.
met anyone famous from the quilting world?
I figure all my quilting Tutor peers are famous….. but then again, what is the definition of famous, we are all just ordinary people who simply have a job teaching quilting….
I have a wonderful time at each large venue, sharing stories and just hanging out at dinner. We’re always the noisiest table.
do you have a mentor or idol, if so, who and why?
I respect all my peers. I do have to say that Kaye England and Jackie Robinson put me on the right track…. they are legends….
charity efforts, teaching events, retreats, cruises, etc.
I’ve taught on many cruises, in fact the one around Britain in August, my wage is being donated to the Quilting hall of fame.
I teach in the outback of Australia for just the plane fare and I have an absolute ball, and I teach youngsters in schools….at least once a year. I was artist in residence at a school in Japan for a week…. we made the best quilts and they ended up winning a major prize in the Japanese Quilt Show in Osaka.
Tutor, Lecturer, Photographer, Author, Judge, Pattern designer.
Author of 1776, Heartache, heritage and Happiness
Blog and podcast