My aim is to discover new expressions that feel contemporary but are rooted in the history and practice of quilting. I use a mix of surface design with traditional quilting techniques, beginning with white fabric that I dye, print or paint. It is less constraining than stretched canvas. It can be cut, coloured, textured, stitched and embroidered at will.
Usually I begin with a grid, made up mostly of several panels, a nine or 16 patch, each approximately 20” square. These panels consists of a backing, batting and a pieced top. To these panels, I pin and eventually sew several strips of coloured fabric. Each strip is cut to measure and applied in a specific direction, to create a line, a mark or a group of lines that produce a coloured shape. A second narrower strip is often applied over the first to underscore a colour contrast or bridge a too harsh gap between two shapes. Pinning and sewing these strips is the slowest part of my process but is not unlike applying daubs of paint or collaging shapes to a coloured surface. These fabric strips butt into each other and work together to create overall patterns within each square and across all square panels.
Each panel sets the tone for its neighbour. The only thing I know up front, is the approximate size of the final piece and a sense of the overall texture and colours. The top layer works with the underlying shapes to create a visual dance or a chatter that will feed neighbouring panels. This is the part of the design process I enjoy the most.