Challenge – Architecture

The diversity of the different types of architecture in this challenge is startling from what members see in their own countries and also what is memorable to them in their travels. I am sure you are going to be amazed by the designs and techniques used in these quilts. To visit each artist’s page click on the quilt thumbnail and you will be directed there, please feel free to leave a comment.










Challenge – Circle(s)

In our daily lives we are surrounded by geometric forms, nature especially has many interesting circles, of course architecture is abound with circles and partial circles, fashion has it’s own circle designs, and then we can look to our intimate surroundings for more circles. You are going to have fun looking at how the members have interpreted this theme. To read the individual statement and see close up views of the quilts click on the thumbnail and you will be redirected to the artist’s page. Come back at the end of July to see how the members interpret the next theme of “Architecture and Stencil”. Thank you for visiting.

Going round in Circles     BPS - finished     P1090887

Circles - 1     Circles1     CirclesSH

Indian screen     DSCN1769 (3)     circle(s)

Circles   FULL MOON 15x15 challenge Circles 008     DSCN5968


Challenge – East meets West

Our latest challenge is “East meets West”, which I’m sure you will agree has a wide range of possible interpretations.  Not least of these is deciding what constitutes both east and west, particularly when you consider that the members of this group are spread throughout the world. You may find it interesting to see how this theme is approached in our various geographical locations, and how our members ideas, designs and techniques are used to produce a diverse set of work.  To learn more about the artists and what inspired them click on the thumbnail and you will be redirected to their artist page.

friendship bridge   DSCN1514 (2)   P1130649

DSCN5303      DSCN6687

Pearlsgoldsugar   full image   PM

P1070918   sslesinger_EastmeetsWest_  SM

lin   east-west SH1


Challenge – Monoprint

This month our challenge is dedicated to Diana Vincent who was one of our founding members. Diana passed away after loosing her courageous battle against cancer. To learn more about Diana’s work please visit her artist gallery for 2013-2015. “Monoprint” was our challenge and this has been interpreted by members using  various techniques of monoprinting, for some it meant working outside their comfort zone and this has produced some amazing results.

Please click on the thumbnail of the images and you will be directed to the artist’s page where you can read about the technique they used and their inspiration.

Eyelash_Lin     DSCN6522     At the water's edge

Waiting for spring - full     My midnight garden     monoprint 1

Paulette 2          

post whole quilt     Light Snowfall     monoprinting

DSCN3844     Helen     sslesinger RabbitinMoon

Waiting for Spring SH


Challenge – Recycle

Our last challenge for 2015 is “Recycle” and important aspect of our daily lives, but one that is not new our parents and their parents knew the importance of recycling particularly in times of hardship or when materials were not available. Members have taken this theme and interpreted it in many different ways, I think you will enjoy the diversity and imagination of their designs and techniques. To learn more about the artists and what inspired them click on the thumbnail and you will be redirected to their artist page.

Recycle     Recycle     15X15 Recycling 004

The old cottage     An Elegy for Bees_Lin_full     After the Storm

   Paulette     Nostalgia

Recycle, full quilt      P1060655     

recycle (1)

Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment on the artist’s work.

This year we published a notebook with a selection of members quilts, it is a Blurb publication and available for sale, just click on the word Blurb to be redirected. Money from sales will be used to help with the costs of exhibitions.


Book Cover

Challenge – Happy

This theme was a delightful chance to depict what makes us happy – memories, situations, or maybe nature. I am sure you will find this challenge bright and to excuse the pun full of happiness. By clicking on the thumbnail picture you will be redirected to the artist’s page to read their statement. Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment.

double happiness     Close up 1     Happy: Days of innocence

Lin_Bridge_full     Happy.     Happy 1

A Summer Blessing     Happy One    P1060231

Greetje     Happysh     sslesinger_Happy

Our next challenge is “Recycle” and will be published November 30th.

This year we published a notebook with a selection of members quilts, it is a Blurb publication and available for sale, just click on the word Blurb to be redirected. Money from sales will be used to help with the costs of exhibitions.


Book Cover

Challenge – Elements

I am sure that you will be surprised at the different way members have interpreted this theme. The world around us is composed of elements that come together in physical and intangible forms. members have used  the four elements of earth, fire, air, and water, elements from periodic table,  and elements from culture. How elements effect the environment were also a strong theme. By clicking on the thumbnail image you will be directed to each member’s artist page, here you can read about what inspired their theme and their technique.

SES_Elements     Forest Fire. Challenge Elements 15x15     The Green Tree

Mercury     Geode     mh

Greetje     The element of surprise - 1     Elements: Components

DSCN9715     P1050598      Lin Hsin-Chen_PM2.5_Full




Challenge – Seasons

Our challenge for May is about “Seasons” and this evokes many ideas as this time of the year is seasonal in the true sense whether you live in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere,  or are in a region where seasonal change may only be noted by the difference in temperature, amount of rain, or flowering of specific plants. It may also be a reminder of the changes in the Seasons caused by global warming or pollution. Seasons reminded me of the time in the United Kingdom during the Industrial Revolution of how the pollution from the factories and homes  led to the introduction of a new word “Smog”, which is still with us today. Each member has interpreted this theme in their own way so I encourage you to follow the instructions below to link to each of the Artist pages.

By clicking on the thumbnail image you will be directed to the artist’s gallery where you can read about what inspired their work.


greetje - season1     chantal - SERENDIPITY 2     els - season 1x

margh - seasons1         Summer turns to Autumn 2     Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

Season 1     Mellow fruitfulness     Lin_Blessed Season_full

P1050269     Susan H - Cardinal, bird for all seasons     Falaj


KH      paulette - Seasons 1

Challenge – Entrance

Entrance can be described either as an opening that you go through, or as someone or thing that has been entranced. Two completely different interpretations of the a word, and you will see that the group members have all brought their own individual interpretations to the subject. I hope that you will enjoy the diversity of this group challenge.

By clicking on the thumbnail image you will be directed to the artist’s gallery where you can read about what inspired their work.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE     Opencut mine     ZENANA MAHAl ou le Palais des Reines 029

Entrance of the Monarch     secret entrance     Pouring Living Water_Lin Hsin-Chen

Ruins    Helene Hazon   Greetje

Tunnel Vision     Els     susna hill2p

Busy Bees full 800     Sslesinger_Entrances_full




Featured Artist – Joan Brailsford


This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Joan, what I like about Joan’s work is that is fresh and she always has a surprise in store for us with her interpretation of the bi-monthly themes. And I know I can identify with how Joan approaches our challenges.

What type of patchwork and quilting do you do –traditional or contemporary?

Although I work in both ways, I would say that my patchwork and quilting fall more on the contemporary, rather than traditional style. I usually decide on the style to be used depending on the design of the piece being worked, but my better pieces are the contemporary ones. I have to admit that I don’t think I’m accurate enough to cut and stitch the neat lines that traditional styles use, and admire those who can.

 Where do you find your inspiration and your design sources?

Much of my inspiration comes from what I see around me, often from the countryside and places I pass through on one of my regular hikes. We walk every week, mainly in the Peak District in central England. I tend to work more from impressions and remembered images rather than photographs of these familiar surroundings, as I find that these give a more atmospheric feel than if I were to try to depict an actual scene. However, we also like to travel (both in this country and worldwide), and on those occasions I take many photographs, so that I don’t miss anything in the excitement of being in a new and wondrous place.

How do you go about the design process?

For me, the design process starts with many hours of inactivity, whilst I roll ideas around in my head! I would love to say that I regularly commit my thoughts to the pages of a sketchbook, but if I’m honest, my first move after deciding on an idea is to visit my fabric stash and ‘audition’ colours, textures and combinations. I would then make a very rough sketch of the design, so that I have an idea of proportions, positioning and general layout. My favourite part of the whole process is to start putting the elements together, matching threads and finding the excitement of the piece. I find that I alter and add to the design as I go along, as the mood, the textiles and the design take me. For me the process is a dynamic one, and the piece rarely comes out exactly as I had imagined at the outset. Since the recent challenge to use a sketchbook, I am trying to jot this process down as I go, but I don’t think that this could capture just how many times I change things as I go!

Fabric selection – do you dye your own fabrics, or just use commercial fabrics?

I have a mixture of hand dyed and commercial fabrics, and I use both, but probably use the hand-dyed ones the most. I love to play about with different dying and colouring methods for fabrics. I like to add layers of colour and pattern onto fabric including stamping, printing, over-painting and adding sheers. I also like to use ‘non-fabric’ media, such as tissue, interfacing, paper, etc. Of course there are limits to the places in which these can be used.

 What are your preferences for stitching – hand/machine, applique, piercing, whole-cloth?

My stitching preference is always by hand. I enjoy the tactile aspect of hand stitching and the fact that I can sit and do this at any time, and in any place. I take pleasure in choosing shades and thickness of thread, and I like to think about the mark that each stitch makes.

This question made me think about the type of work I do. It made me realise that I can’t remember the last time I used cloth. However, I don’t know whether the purists would say that my style is strictly piecing or applique, as I don’t cut accurate patterns to applique, nor regular templates for piecing. I’m not sure what you would call my style, as I tend to start with a background and add design elements either by cutting and joining, or by layering them over the background.

Are you inspired by other quilters and artists?

I love to look at the work that other quilters and artists make, and I have a bit of a magpie mind in which I tend to store images of the pieces I like. I don’t take photos or store printed images of other people’s work, because I would hate to think that I am making a copy in any way. I do have many and various reference books (I have to sneak new ones past my long-suffering husband) which I love to browse for ideas on techniques and to get me started when I get stuck on something.

I follow a number of textile artists, but my favourite changes. At the moment I like to look at the work of Ingrid Karlsson Kemp, and I am looking forward to attending one of her workshops in the next few weeks. I also love the simplicity of the work of Ineke Berlin.

Please talk about the different quilting groups you belong to and your involvement.

Apart from out FifteenxFifteen group, I am half of a duo, 2inspire, with Margaret Horton. We produce both quilts and contemporary textile pictures, for which we have had a number of exhibitions. We also produce smaller pieces, 3D items and gifts, for which we have a permanent display/outlet at a gallery near us.

I am also a member of another small group of 4 artists, which also exhibits a similar range of pieces, including contemporary hand-felted pieces. We are all City and Guilds graduates, and one of the ladies is a C&G instructor.

Although these are not strictly quilting groups, I do produce some quilted items for these, but  I do also like to produce items using other methods. I particularly enjoy needle-felting, textile-collage and hand-embroidery.

What is the most exciting event in your quilting life?

On reflection, although it is always nice to sell pieces, it is also nice to reach a new audience, so I would say that taking part in the Beaujolais exhibition last year as part of this group has been my most exciting event.

Would you like to share something about yourself?

I have been around sewing for as long as I can remember, as my mother used to make our clothes on an old Singer sewing machine (which I still have). My introduction to quilting though was when I found an ancient back and white text book (Wheldon’s Encyclopaedia of Needlework) and decided to make a patchwork quilt using left-over scraps of fabric from our dressmaking. Needless to say I didn’t measure or draw accurately at first, and I learned a lot as I struggled to find the correct way to do this. However, I did continue, and to this day I have a full size bed quilt made from hexagons of multi-coloured fabric. (You’ll notice that I don’t say I have a finished quilt). This is known in our house as the “sick blanket” – partly because it is the comforter that is used to snuggle under when anyone is feeling poorly, but partly because of its crooked pieces, odd colours and ragged edges!

Although I continued to stitch, it wasn’t until many years later that I found Embroiderer’s Guild, and then City & Guilds, and I learned formal techniques and ‘proper’ stitching.

I have to say though, that my first self-taught quilt is one of my most valued possessions, and a reminder of a wonderful learning experience.


 monochrome 1 JB

Deep Rooted Love of Blue


texture 1 joan

 Soft Hearted

Window ledge garden -1aJoan

Window Ledge (I wish I had a Garden)

JB 2

Nature Reclaims the Garden

To read about Joan’s techniques that she has used in these quilts visit the Artists Gallery for 2013-2015.

Thank you Joan.