Stitch ‘n’ Verse series

My foremothers would stitch, crochet, embroider, knit and spin yarn.  It was my intention in this project to acknowledge and honour the threads of their work and hearts as they run through my veins as naturally as the blood that binds us. From the beginning the process of transforming cloth into form has struck me as magical. And, over the years, that magical process has had its way with me, leading me from hobby to art. Fiber Art fills me with a sense of pride and sincerity, and has proven a most responsive media for translating my creative visions into form.

I sew from the inside out. Though I work quite deliberately, consciously employing both traditional and innovative techniques, my unconscious is the irrefutable project manager.  The organic nature of this work frees my imagination and provides many opportunities for serendipity and materiality to influence the finished product.

‘Stitch ’n’ Verse is a document of the poems and fibers created and collected by my favourite forbearer Joan Russell (1923-2006).


What ignited my creative spark?

Christmas 1997 - Me and Grandma Russell

Christmas 1997 – Me and Grandma Russell

It was more a case of ‘Who’ than ‘What’ ignited my creative spark? Being the grand-daughter of the late Joan Russell, that’s what! Grandma was a consistent creative role model throughout my entire life, until 7 years ago when she left this world. Aquarian born like myself, she had a flair for design and new ideas. She excelled in poetry, writing stories, painting, drawing, illustration, fashion design and construction and all the craft trades under the sun; specifically silk ribbon embroidery and lace work.  My love of illustration began before I even started school, when she would assign me to the task of drawing or painting the pictures of a story she had written. I remember one of these stories vividly; of the vacumn cleaner that came to life and tidied the house all on it’s own before the family came home that day.  I took on this task very studiously and together we created a book that immortalized one of the most influential factors of my creative upbringing. Since these early days, I have always taken colour to paper and picked up a needle or pen as a natural extension of my own hand. In my teenage years, I spent many hours sitting at Grandma’s dining table. We would share our poems and stories over a couple of pots of tea.  She would ensure that she always had a stash of home baked treats (of which scones were my favourite) awaiting for my after school arrival.  My poems would have a new refreshing light cast upon them.  My heart would be soothed from pains and tribulations of dating boys.  My unsuccessful sewing projects would transform into magnificent creations under her watchful eye. My baking skills improved as I came to learn how therapeutic the smell of home baking was. My love of strong tea was established (even though Grandma would cringe every time she saw me adding milk and sugar). These memories are so deeply etched into my mind, that to this day, I can still hear her voice over my shoulder as I work. I will hear words of encouragement and acceptance or disdain if I failed to unpick that dodgy seam I just made in my sons new trousers.  It just occurred to me that she might be the reason for my needing to be meticulous when it comes to creating things. Ah, I need to let that go in this world of creative exploration. Regardless, I’m sure she would be proud. Here’s to you Grandma – a tribute!