How I Create My Artwork

The question I am most often asked is “How do you do that?”


The Photo

First, I choose a photo to work with, such as this photo of old planks over a drainage ditch in Burma. I look for interesting lines, colour or texture that not only can be translated into a textile medium but that will actually be enhanced by it.

Old Planks, Burma

Once I have an image, I decide on a colour palette. I usually work with cotton that I dye myself so once I have chosen from the colours that already exist in my fabric cabinets, I go to my dye studio to dye whatever colours are missing.


The Underpainting

My first step is to create the basic shapes and  colours of the photo. I cut out the shapes in the various colours and collage them to a base fabric to create the background colours in the image.

The colours may not be an exact reproduction of the ones in the photo; they are chosen to accentuate the aspects of the photo that attracted me to the image.

Old Planks, base applique


The Layering

I then continue to collage more layers of fabric to build up the shapes and depth of the image.

In this quilt I used silk organza coloured with acrylic ink to create the shading and aging effects in the wood.

Old Planks, second applique


The Details

When the areas of colour are too small to collage, I use paints, pencils, inks and markers to add the final depth and detail.  For me this stage really brings the image to life.

Old Planks, painted


The Stitching

The final stage is the stitching or quilting stage. I use stitching to add more details but also to add a sense of three dimensions to the image.

Old Planks Quilt, stitched



Based on the complexity of the image, each quilt requires between 150 and 250 hours to complete.

The materials are most often my hand dyed cotton fabrics, Inktense pencils, acrylic paints, silk organza, batting and thread.

The techniques are raw edge applique or fabric collage, painting, quilting, thread sketching and whatever other techniques I feel will most effectively recreate the  image.