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.

Challenge – Monochromatic

Working with one colour and all its hues and tints-a great challenge and you will surprised by the colours that members chose to work with and their individual themes. Bravo. By clicking on the thumbnail you will directed to the individual Artist’s Gallery where you can read the artist statement and find out what inspired our talented members.

MONOCHROMATIC Challenge Chantal     Kaylene     Lin Hsin-Chen_Joyous Celebration_Full

Monochromatic; Betula Pendula   Els     Sea Patterns1 Paulette

monochrome 1 JB     Helen     Bleak Midwinter close up

Greetje   View of an Omani villageGA     Susan hill

Kathryn      sslesinger_WDconcerthall_whole




Challenge – Roads

Our last challenge for 2014 is the theme “Roads”, this is an interesting theme in that there are many connotations, is it the road that we literally travel on going places new and old, is it a road we are familiar with, is it a road in the past, or is it a road representing the many metaphorical road that we travel on through our life? So many questions and as you will see our textile artists have interpreted this theme in many different ways.

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


Margaret H        Kaylene Roads     Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

Lin_Life at the Intersection_FULL     itineris bestiola    ROAD MOVIE 15X15 006

Roads1JB     Els     Roads PFM

sslesinger_YBR_full3     uphill-to-mirror-1000-pix     Roads challengeSH



Challenge – Progress

“Progress” is the theme for our August/September challenge, I know that members were challenged, but they persevered and created this very diversified selection of quilts that depicts progress. To read the artist statement click on the thumbnails below.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE     Chantal   Seminole


you can't stop progress        Learning CurveMB    Caro1


Waxing and Waning 1MH     progress 1JB     Progress challenge SH


ProgressKH     Work in Progress Gaye     Lin_Broaden the Horizons_Full


sslesinger_Progress_whole     DSC_0023 Crop

Challenge – Memories

When I was told  the theme for June/July would be “Memories” I knew that this would be a challenge in more ways than one. Our members have created a diverse array of quilts depicting memories that have special meaning for them. I hope you enjoy their work and if you click on the thumbnail image you will be taken to their Artist Statement. Thank you for viewing and please leave a comment id you wish.


Els     Exif_JPEG_PICTURE     paulette

Caro 1    Chantal     Kaylene

P1010009          City Grid JB     anamnesis

Happy Days quiltMH          MemoriesSH     Lin_Piecing Impressions_Full

To Kynan     Sslesinger_memory_whole_open     Parmjeet main


May Challenge – Nature

Our third challenge for 2014 is “Nature”, members have interpreted this theme in a variety of ways, from rural scenes to the raw beauty of nature in the city, flowers and natural landscapes,  the sea are also featured. To read more about the Artists quilts click on the thumbnail and you will be directed to the Artists’ statements.

Natures sooo boring_edited-1     Para     Nature reclaims the gardenjb


One Step Ahead of the Gulls - 800 pix     Chantal 1     Helen1

The Glade Caro     Margaret H     Kaylene

Paulette 1     Els     Lin_Blossom Time-Full

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE          slesinger.s_Californiatidepool_full     Nature kathryn

Susan h




Challenge – Contrast

“Contrast” was the theme for February/March challenge. members drew their inspiration from a variety of sources, nature, what they have seen on daily walks, the colours around them, landscapes, and paintings. I just know you will be surprised by the ingenuity of the members in their interpretations, and a surprise is behind one quilt.

To read the artists statements click on the thumbnail of the photograph. Members appreciate your comments so please leave one for them to read.

Margb2     CONTRAST 15x15 ice floe 002chantal     Helen


Lin     Caro     Margaaret H1


Sillers Lookout     Green Leaves-1paulette     Els


Contrast          Joan     Replparm


Susuan h     susan.slesinger_full     CHOICES


Challenge – Rhythm

This was a demanding theme as there are so many ways to interpret the word “Rhythm”.

Rhythm is a principle of art that’s difficult to summarize in words. Assuming that you’ve picked up on a rhythm in music before, take what you heard with your ears and try to translate that to something you’d see with your eyes. Rhythm, in art, is a visual beat.

A pattern has rhythm, but not all rhythm is patterned. For example, the colors of a piece can convey rhythm, by making your eyes travel from one component to another. Lines can produce rhythm by implying movement. Forms, too, can cause rhythm by the ways in which they’re placed one next to the other.

You will find something of interest in all of the quilts, please click on the thumbnail to be redirected to the Artist’s statement about their thought process and techniques used.

Param 1     Gaye#1     rhythm & blues

Helen     Rural Rhythms MB     Chantal1

Caro1     Susan Hill     Out for a Spin Margaret H

Kaylene     Paulette     ElsMain

Lin#1    Susan S1     Rhythm in Glass