The fact that you’re a member of Fibres and Fabrics shows you are creative by nature. Define yourself – art/craft wise? My mother was the first person to encourage me to be creative in crafts, she saw it, so I think I'm creative by nature, it just needed encouragement. I do have trouble sometimes getting started with my creative juices, but they seem to flow ok, once they start.
Are you more comfortable working in one particular medium than most others? I love threads, most sorts but nothing too hairy.... Not so much into paper anymore, it deteriorates too quickly for my liking.
Are there any artists or crafters who, more than any others, have influenced you in your creative life and why? Annemaieke Mein. Her book 'The Art of Annemieke Mein - Wildlife artist in textiles' was my first introduction in embroidery, I loved the way she interprets wildlife in textiles. Judy Stephenson, a local artist, has had a huge influence on me, especially since my first stumpwork lesson was with her. Another very talented UK lady, Kate Sinton, tutor at the Royal School of Needlework and my Volunteer Mentor at the St Paul’s Cathedral project, who is just about to publish her first book in Stumpwork, has encouraged me and been a great mentor to me and encouraged me to explore my creative side and expand my embroidery knowledge. As for most recently, some of the wonderfully talented ladies at Fibres have influenced me as well. They are a very creative and talented bunch.
Describe your workspace. I'm a fairly organised person, so my workspace is in two places actually: 95% in my craft room, which is mostly tidy except when I’m working on a project. But I do clear up (most of the time). And the other 5% is in the lounge room, where I like to stitch and watch movies on telly. Hubby gets a bit upset if I cover too many flat surfaces......
What 3 tools could you not live without? My hands-free hoop, needles, and my laptop (where I do a lot of my research and writing up my projects and lessons).
Do you keep a sketchbook or journal? I have several. Working on number 3 now. I started using a sketchbook when I was in the UK. They are wonderful reference tool. After I finish a project, I print out some pictures and stick them in my book and add notes. Some of my assessment pieces have taken up a lot of writing etc, but they still make an appearance in my books. Ideas, colours and just some things that I just love the look of. Jewellery store flyers are great for inspiration.
We all share our knowledge at Fibres and Fabrics. Do you extend this in any way by participating in or teaching workshops? Have already, with assistance from Janet Banks. We did the stumpwork dragonfly last year, and this year we have done stumpwork gumnuts for the White exhibition. I have two offers for doing online classes now, and hope to offer similar classes to Fibres in the near future. I think my expertise in the field of Stumpwork is expanding and improving, and this is a line of embroidery technique that is dying out, and I wish to keep it alive.
How do you inspire your creativity when you’re stuck? Depends on the project - for my stumpwork I make a coffee, and sit down near my bookcase, and browse my library of craft books. For my crazy quilting, I put the block on the floor, and pull out my laces, trims, buttons etc and I sit and play until I'm happy with what I've laid out.
If cost wasn’t an issue, what avenues would you choose to explore to expand your skills? I'd really like to finish my City and Guilds level 3 in Embroidery, and the stumpwork on as well.
How do you balance your life? I have for years used this formula:
Hobbies, Scouting and other volunteer jobs. My family is always first in whatever I do, and that rule will never change.
Have you or do you intend to exhibit any of your work, either collaboratively or alone? If so where and when? Sure have! I had 'My Lady on a Swing' in our Totems exhibition last year, and this year we had the 'Lengths of the Earth' Exhibition. And of course at the craft show last year and at the Townsville Show.
What does your work mean to you? My work, I gather you mean my embroideries? A lot actually. I see them as a reflection of myself, especially my last two stumpwork peices. I love doing the Crazy Quilt round robins and work with the UK Embroiderers guild Forum group, as it gets my work out and about the world and who knows where a lead might come from, for commissions or paid tutoring. Adding Stumpwork elements to my crazy quilting blocks is a good way to show the world that stumpwork is not just resigned to embroideries, as for the photo of my work on Karrin’s block, Mrs Bloomers.
Thank you Arlene.
Thank you Arlene.