Art classes, Paper, Photographs, Textiles, Uncategorized, workshops

Stitching Memories workshops: the debrief


Two full classes and a hugely enthusiastic tribe. What more can you ask for?

Running the Stitching Memories workshops at Lane Cove Library was delightful. Its always an amazing thing to see what people do with their work: all have different approaches based on a photograph of their own selection from the Library’s historical image collection.



I showed how to transfer a design (or text) onto a photograph, and various ways to stitch, showing my own examples and those of other artists, always encouraging participants to be free, non-judgmental and experimental.

Some people chose images reminding them of their families or homes, others chose randomly, while others decided on imagery completely unfamiliar to them.


All the examples here are works-in-progress. A two and a half hour session really just provides an introduction to the possibilities.

Sometimes just a touch of stitching here and there is enough to make a quirky statement. The addition of text can change the entire reading of an image, and over-the-top stitchery is certainly not out of place in this workshop!

And did I mention the camaraderie involved in these sessions?



I have one more session in this series coming up at Gallery Lane Cove on Saturday March 11, with a slightly different focus. The Stitching Your Memories workshop is free, and will be running in conjunction with the exhibition Translating Displacement, which shares stories of former refugees, asylum seekers, citizens and non-citizens whose families fled war and violence to settle in Australia. If you’d like to book please phone 61 2 9428 4898 or email

We’d love to see you there.



Artists, Inspiration, repair, Studio practice, Textiles, Uncategorized, upcycling

The heirloom theory


Donya Coward, Brown sitting Rabbit – photograph from her website

Do you have any artists or makers who do it for you? Are they an inspiration for your principles and practice?

I often find research addictive. One find leads to another. Before you know it you’ve got a chain of inspiration and empathic appreciation for the work of others that informs your own work and sits comfortably with your beliefs and principles.

Discarded materials, ratty old preloved garments, mending, and disparate bits & pieces often have reuse potential that goes unheeded. Memory is embedded into everything. These examples of creative work are very much aligned with my own philosophy and love of materials.

Slow work.

Hand work.



I say that (ethical) because I firmly believe in the Less Is More theory.

Less consumption, more human contact, less fast-paced living. Purchase something of great quality that you love, that will last and last – and take pleasure in handing it on to others when the time comes.

Donya Coward is an artist whose work is an exquisite example of what I like to call ‘the heirloom theory’. She takes bits and pieces of very different materials and turns them into sculptures and other textile art that are brilliantly handworked treasures. You can see more of her incredibly detailed work here.


Celia Pym, Norwegian Sweater – photograph from her website


Celia Pym, Hope’s Sweater, 1951 – photograph from her website

Celia Pym is a UK artist whose penchant for darning and mending is a quirky and beautiful way of extending the life of garments and objects. In her hands anything textile can be preserved in a way that gives a refreshing and individual twist to its existence. You can see more of Celia’s unique projects here.


Mayer Peace Collection – image from Instagram


Mayer Peace Collection – image from Instagram

Berlin designer Christine Mayer’s practice is one I’ve watched for a while. She is superbly skilled at repurposing textiles in a way that’s individual and deftly structured. Her work extends to theatre costumes as well as fashion. Check out her work here. I’m happy to say I’m a proud owner of one of Christine’s pieces, bought during trip to Berlin in 2012. Timeless and beautiful.

I love finding inspiration in the efforts of like-minded creatives. There is satisfaction in finding similarities in practice, using your own resources creatively, and sharing ideas, whatever limitations might be in place.

Who are the practitioners you find inspiring? Does your list keep growing? Let’s compare notes……


Exhibition preview: Lines of Communication

A small preview of images from my upcoming exhibition Lines of Communication at Incinerator Art Space (2 Small St Willoughby, 29 October to 16 November), opening 1 November 2-4 pm. I’ve been researching this project for quite a while now so I’m interested to see what you think.

News, 2014, archival pigment print on cotton rag, silk & mohair yarn, hand stitching

News, 2014, archival pigment print on cotton rag, silk & mohair yarn, hand stitching

Pitt St, 2014, archival pigment print on cotton rag

Pitt St, 2014, archival pigment print on cotton rag

Weep. 2014. archival pigment print on cotton rag, polyester georgette, vintage silk thread, hand stitching

Weep. 2014. archival pigment print on cotton rag, polyester georgette, vintage silk thread, hand stitching

And a little background to the work:

Like a worn and discarded garment the traces of human touch evident in a handwritten message can bear some ephemeral memory of a life. Just as a piece of clothing can take on the odour and even shape of a person, the gestures in handwriting reflect a unique individuality.

These elements constitute the starting point for Lines of Communication, a photographic exhibition that examines the combination of these two aspects of memory in another context. Reflecting on written communications during traumatic times between servicemen, their comrades and loved ones, this exhibition journeys from the First World War through to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Photography of original documents and images from the State Library of NSW and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, together with hand stitching, and vintage textiles converge in Lines of Communication to contemplate expression through hand and typewritten text, memory, life and loss.