Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Finally....New Website....

Ok everyone, I finally did it! How long did it take me? It's ok, I know, it took a REALLY long time.
It's amazing how much time gets freed up when you resign from your 'career'. The day job. 
I got my website happening. It's up, its running and sales are coming in. 

I will be adding to it more over the next few days and a few more categories will be added to make it easier to find what you are looking for.

At the moment you can shop by colour or by era. Then you can narrow that down. So for instance if you want a blue fabric from the 1950s you can go either way. Or if you want something as specific as a fabric with a bird, you can use that key word in the drop down box or just use the search box.

I hope you like it. Any feed back appreciated. I'm by no means a web guru but I have muddled my way through this and i'm pretty proud of the very steep learning curve it put me on. I will get better as time goes on working with code and with some help from a friend who is a Web Developer, might be able to do a few more things. We will see.

So go have a play...

Monday, May 19, 2014


Ok, i'm getting a little it just me in my old age? I don't know. But a question to pose...what exactly is a 'Modern Quilter' instead of just a 'Quilter'?

I had a few people pop past and they told me how wonderful and nice all the fabric is, but they told me they were "Modern Quilters" and its not for them. That's all good, I respect that, I know what I do and the fabrics I source don't suit everyones taste. But to have someone say to me "...I'm a Modern Quilter, I just don't know how I would use this fabric..." confused me somewhat....well I do sell's pretty nice stuff, interesting, one of a kind, amazing quality and a dream to work with.... I thought you could make a quilt out of any fabric you fancy?

This "Modern Quilter" thing was perplexing me a tad.  So I googled what a "Modern Quilter" definition was. And I thought, yep, I get that, in fact perhaps I might even be one, in the "modern traditionalist" category, I like old school stuff, it really floats my boat... but I have never thought to put what I do into a category except that I'm a quilter of sorts. I just love to muck about with fabrics and quilts and love the history, technical development, the visual language of the decorative arts and how it relates to the history of design. How print and pattern have developed over the centuries and how it is reflected in the items that are designed and made. How textiles, especially the concept of a quilt has travelled through the ages from ancient times to today. The history of textiles, their technology and design are fascinating to me.

This is the definition of a Modern Quilt, but to an extent I still don't really understand the it is...from

"Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. "Modern traditionalism" or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting".

Ok...So this is my reasoning....

"Modern quilts are primarily functional..."

Yep, mine end up on the bed and the couch, so they are functional. 

 "...and inspired by modern design."

Yes, they are inspired by modern design. Mid century is my favourite period but I also reference the 1920s. The design theory of those eras is incredibly important in many areas of expression. Johannes Itten and his colour theory. Josef and Anni Albers and their geometric theory compositions to name a few of my design heros and influences. I see the influences of these designers in many quilts I see, perhaps too much influence...
Itten Colour wheel 1961
Josef Albers - Homage to the Square
Anni Albers, DR XX, 1974

"Modern quilters work in different styles..."

I machine piece most things, but do still hand piece if the project I am working on lends itself to it. If i'm working on a partial project if it was started by hand I continue that way. I am also a hand quilter. My introduction to quilts was seeing amazing hand quilted pieces when I was travelling in the USA and to the historic ones that I had studied from a graphic design and technical history of printed textiles angle. So for me, hand quilting was the look I wanted to create. A softness of the organic stitch to the hard angles of the geometry. But I just love the pull of the thread through the cloth. It's my meditation. 

"...and define modern quilting in different ways...

I like a good quilt, I like a good quilt if it was made 100 years ago or 100 days ago. I like making quilts, but I like to make them out of vintage and antique fabrics that I source from the USA. I like to do that because its more special to me to have prints and fabrics that really unique, ones that reflect my love of this that I do. I love the experience of travelling and meeting people of all ages and walks of life that share this common interest that I have. I like to hear the stories and to hear other perspectives of the experience of a life with textiles. I like the challenge of finishing off a quilt that is 100 years old so it can live on again, giving it a new life. I like to salvage something of the past and re-work it. I like to create a new response to an old that my definition? 

"...but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to:"

"...the use of bold colors and prints," Past and Present Examples are being used.
1920s Broken Chevron Quilt - Laura Fisher Quilts
Fletcher Quilt from

"... high contrast and graphic areas of solid color..."

L: 1920/30s Graphic Quilt-GB Best Quilts R:'Modern Hipster Black and White Starburst Quilt' -True Love Quilts Etsy
"...improvisational piecing..."
Gee's Bend Quilt 1940s
Denise Schmidt Quilt 2010's
The examples I have selected here are to show that a 'quilt' with a graphic or modern or improvised style has been a part of the decorative history language for a very long time. It is a reflection of the tastes of the times they are made in. That they reflect the design theories that were first published in the first half of the 20th Century by early practitioners of design. The men and women who pioneered the first documented texts and studies. Ones that today are still referenced in design education world wide that underpin most of what we know today of design. But what they also show is how they have evolved as a visual language that quilt makers reference today.

That this definition of a 'modern quilt' can be applied to many quilts that are 100 years old as well as ones that are 1 year old. Are we not all quilt makers if we make a quilt? As someone dear once said to me, I am a 'glorious fabric joiner'. Yes I join random snippets of fabric together or fiddle with things partially started and the end product is a 'quilt'. Do we really need to define and put things into categories that make us question where we fit? Because if thats the case, I have no idea what category I fit into. I'm making up a new one, just for me. A Whatever Way it Rolls kind of Quilter!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Time for change, closing one chapter and opening another...

For a while now I have been wearing two hats. One as this business, sourcing wonderful original fabrics for you and the other working as a graphic and textile designer in the clothing industry.

Sometimes you reach a point in your life where you need to let go of something. For me, this has been a decision I've been making for a long time, but hung in there, even though I was no longer enjoying what I was doing.
As the requests came in they got pushed further down the pile in the to do list. This was a sign.
After taking some time out I have tried to clear my head to make this decision and its a really big one for me.
To say good bye to this part of my life is saying goodbye to a good 20 years of who I am or should I say now, 'was'. To the kid who always knew what they wanted to be. To the young adult who worked their butt off to be in an industry that was cut throat and competitive and survived.

But a while back things really started to change in the section of the industry I was working in. The push for 'fast' fashion meant things were really churning. The reliance on China and Bangladesh for cheaper than cheap production meant the flow on effect was cheaper and cheaper design. When the rates started being squeezed and the competition for jobs became harder, less and less work was available. China now offers full design services for one twentieth of what a designer here needs to charge to cover costs and pull a wage. The briefs coming in were to copy a sample, not to design from scratch. I was being pushed to do things I didn't want to do and knew were wrong. No one wanted original work anymore, they just wanted the overseas samples replicated, and for next to nothing.

There are other far more complicated reasons why I am saying good bye to this part of my life. I no longer want to do interviews where I walk out feeling redundant and worthless that I have passed some kind of use by date in this industry. Where years of experience is a death sentence and not an asset. Where you begin to feel over qualified to just do the job you trained to do. Perhaps I chose the wrong sector but I always loved designing and fabrics and working with clothing. Perhaps I should have stuck with packaging but at the time I didn't enjoy it as much.

Where buyers, managers and agents cut the rates there is always someone who is happy to do the job for next to nothing for a foot in the door and experience. This has meant that its really hard to get paid enough to survive.

The costs of maintaining software, computers and insurance is expensive and those costs have to be covered somewhere. Also when you need to pay your own super and take care of your own tax from the contract rates it gets really bleak. Younger designers starting out don't take this into account when they offer to take a gig for $25 an hour. Further down the track it means there are no wages for anyone.
When I left the industry as a full time designer back in 2009 I was earning roughly the same money I was 10 years previously. In effect, my wages had gone backwards. I took full time work because I wanted a house, banks don't like freelancers much.

Issues with copyright and being asked to copy other peoples work is another thing I refuse to do. So, again, someone else will. And they know that.

I was an ok designer. I was fast, with good technical skills, professional and always delivered on time. I wasn't the best and nor was I someone who shouted from the roof tops or demanded to stick my name on everything. I did the job, delivered it and waited to get paid. Sometimes you didn't. Chasing payment is another thing I just can't face doing anymore. I know its tough for businesses at the moment, but its tough for us too!

So, I guess I'm burnt out. I don't want to design for other companies anymore. I will keep the few clients I like, trust and enjoy working with who respect what I do and that I've worked with for a long time but thats about it. So many of my previous clients no longer exist. Thats another problem with our industry here, its shrinking. The smaller labels and independents are being squeezed out by the big majors. We need to support our little guys. We need to support local talent and what is left of locally made.

So, after close to 20 years working as a designer of some description I have decided to shut the book on this chapter of my life. And open a page that is clean and white and one day when I am ready scribble some shit and see what it turns into!  Stay tuned....