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Saturday, 28 January 2012

How long does it take to make a quilt?

A quilter I know has asked me in Facebook: How long does it take you to make a quilt? My first reaction was to say: How long is a piece of string? But that's not a helpful reply, nor an accurate comparison.

However it is a question many quilters are asked. So this is what I replied:

The actual making takes me a few weeks - depending on the size of the quilt - say between 2 and 8 weeks (and I may work between 3 and 6 hours in a day, and not every day). But the gestation period may take any amount of time - from getting a sudden idea, fully formed, to weeks of research and pondering, in other cases. Both the 'speed' and the 'getting the idea' come from working and more working - spending time in the studio - perspiration as well as inspiration. It's all in Malcolm Gladwell's book 'Outliers' - to get good at something you need to put in 10,000 hours work. Do read it!

As I think it's an important subject, here are some additional thoughts:

When I started quilting, in the 1990s, making a quilt took me an awful lot longer - months rather than weeks, up to a year for a really big quilt. You speed up as you practise and the techniques become familiar. Ideas also come more quickly. And if you concentrate on a few techniques, rather than trying something different every time, and work in series, that also speeds up matters. If you produce work faster, you are inclined to make more work. An upwards spiral! You may get stuck occasionally - it happens to everybody - and the best solution is to keep making, even if you are not completely happy with what you produce, rather than freeze and stop. You need commitment too, obsessiveness you may say.

So if I reply to the original question by saying that a particular quilt took me X weeks to actually make - and that may sound rather a short time (see caption to the photo below) - I'll be missing out mentioning how long it took me to think through the idea beforehand, and also that I first needed to have those 10,000 hours of practice...

So get on working! Happy quilting!


"Mapping Earth", 24" by 24" - it took me about 10 days to actually make.

Friday, 27 January 2012

London Quilters exhibition

London Quilters are having another exhibition at Swiss Cottage Library in London.  I will have some work there as well.  If you are in London on 1st March, do come to the Private View, 6 - 7.30 pm.  Invitation below, with address details etc.

SAQA Portfolio 18

Last year I became a SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates) Professional member, which entitled me to be listed in their Portfolios, which are art quilt sourcebooks for anybody interested in art quilts - particularly aimed at galleries, museums, collectors, etc.

I have now received a copy of Portfolio 18, in which I appear listed for the first time, with a nice picture of my map quilt "Seaside Town".

Portfolio 18 lists SAQA art quilters from absolutely all over the world - North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia - I am in very good company!  I'm really pleased about it.

Copies of Portfolio 18 can be purchased direct from the SAQA online store.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Exhibitions opening

My work is going to be in several exhibitions in the next couple of months.  Here is information about the first of them - an exhibition of textile maps by Textile Forum South West, Mapping the Future: Where Are You Now? at The Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre, Taunton, Somerset - well, just up my street, isn't it?  I will have two large pieced and quilted maps there, and I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the work - some very promising and interesting interpretations!  You can check them out in the Mapping the Future blog.

If you are in the area, do come to the Private View on Thursday 23rd February, 5.30 to 8 pm.  I will be there.  Here is the invitation:

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Computer designed and printed piece

A couple of years ago I spent some time experimenting with Photoshop and producing designs which I then printed on fabric.  A number of them ended up as Journal Quilts, but a few went on to exhibitions.  I have just received back one piece which has been away touring in Europe for a couple of years, with Gudrun Heinz's mini-textile exhibitions.

It is called "Through a Glass, Lightly" and it is 20 cm by 20 cm.  It now hangs in my house in a box frame.

Sunday, 1 January 2012


I wish all my friends a most happy and creative new year!

Here is one of my recent night-quilts:  Night Village, size 30 cm by 40 cm, mounted on stretched canvas, and sold at the ColourFX exhibition The View From Here at The Framers' Gallery in London.

See you again soon!