This blog is a bit of a ramble through my life. There's a lot about quilting and textile arts, a sprinkle of my family life and some of my thoughts and ponderings. We currently live aboard an old wooden 1945 Navy boat, called MV Cerego, so you'll find me writing about that too. Welcome aboard!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Shirley Mooney on The New Zealand Quilt Show Podcast

Shirley Mooney has been quilting and creating for more than twenty years.  She is adventurous, experimental and prolific – her personal motto (and name of her blog) being ‘don’t wait to create’!

Shirley has a profound love of colour and texture and this is evident when you see her many quilts featuring fabric manipulation either with 3D piecing or fabric weaving, her innovative use of bold striped fabrics, or her eye-catching kaleidoscope blocks.

Shirley's Quilt As You Go class sample.

Not only a quilt maker, Shirley also knits, crochets, garment sews, felts and lately has taken up weaving.  She is also a well-known teacher and is constantly evolving new classes for her students – she is full of energy and loves to inspire and motivate.  Shirley believes there is a masterpiece inside everyone!

Shirley and I have a fun conversation about how she learned to quilt and why she is so interested in learning new skills.  We talk about one of her earliest quilts that she made for her husband that she is currently unpicking and requilting due to a bit of a shrinkage issue.

Shirley's husband's quilt that is currently having a makeover.

We talk about Shirley's style, which rather than a particular 'look', is more about being bold, being innovative, trying new things and pushing the boundary's of what you can do with a technique - and always being colourful!

Hundreds and Thousands by Shirley Mooney - made with dimensional bow-tie blocks.

Shirley is part of the team at The Wellington Sewing Centre and we discuss how much Shirley loves her job working amongst yarn and fabric and how a professional development push from her boss, Jo, made her take a weaving class - which has now become a new passion!  Shirley gives us an insight into what's happening with craft in the community and how keen young people are to learn new skills - even macrame!

One of Shirley's weaving projects

Shirley is teaching three classes as The Quilt Symposium Christchurch 2017.  Stacking Bowties, a dimensional quilt block class; Weaving Kiwi-Style; making meshwork and weaving with fabric strips; and Quilt As You Go, learning a quilt as you go technique to help when making big quilts.

Shirley's Kimono Quilt, Winner of Best of Country at the World Quilt Show, incorporating meshwork..
Shirley's must have in her studio is a design wall.  She uses bumph (curtain insulating from Lewis's) as her design wall and thinks it's better than quilt batting for holding blocks.

Shirley loves her 90 degree angle nosed tweezers. 

And her last recommendation is a sewing machine needle caddy by Clover that keeps her used needles organised.

You can reach out to Shirley through her blog: 
or you can find her at Instagram at 
Her email is

Thank you to everyone who supports this podcast and helps me tell the stories of our quiltmakers, artists and professionals.  If you would like to support me, head over to iTunes and leave a five star review, pop over to my podbean hosting site and leave a donation, or consider advertising your business by sponsoring an episode.  Email me at  Cheers!

Friday, September 1, 2017

The 100 Days Project

The 100 Days Project is over for another year.  This year I had a big stretch where I was as the uggh stage of my project; the 'have to push through' stage.  There was also the 'this is awesome!' stage; the 'I didn't know I could do that' stage; the 'what the heck do I do today?' stage; and the 'I haven't done anything for ages so now I need to do three in one day' stage.

I started the 100 days project again this year after having a very satisfying experience with last year's.  I didn't get all my days done last year, but I felt like I had really achieved something personally with my art.  My theme had been 100 days of faces and I thought I might get to the stage where I was comfortable with drawing faces and using them in my quilts.  I did get really comfortable with faces and I felt I was even reaching a point where I could narrow in on my style - I felt this was a pretty big accomplishment.

So this year I was really excited to get going on another 100.  I chose 100 days of scissors, wanting to see if I could find my voice with free hand paper cutting, with the hope that I could transfer this to my fabric cutting later.

And I have had several stretches of days where I've really thought I had cracked something.  There was a stretch when I was doing branches, I loved almost every one of them, but then I felt I couldn't keep going with them because I thought I'd exhaust myself with them on paper without ever getting them into fabric.  Was that a legitimate worry?

I spent a span of days trying to find a symbol that worked for me.  That was after seeing Dinner at Eight artists share their work that was accepted for a themed show 'Personal Iconography: Graffiti on Cloth', and wondering if I had any particular personal symbols that I could incorporate into more of my work.  Turns out I don't think I do...

So I pushed through and just kept turning up, because that is what it's all about.  Turn up, do the work, form the habits, see what happens.  Sometimes I'd cheat though, and I'd do several days in one go, which helped me work in a kind of series with whatever subject I'd picked.

But mostly I just kept trudging on.  And now we have reached the end of the process.  I'll let you in on a little secret though: I haven't done day 100.... I bought two sketchbooks in the beginning - a black one with 40 pages and a white one with 60.  I must have ripped out a page, or the manufacturers were telling fibs because at day 99 I ran out of pages!  Somehow I just can't bring myself to work on any other surface!

Overall it doesn't feel quite as satisfying as last year - the experience was positive, there are pieces of work that I like and that I want to explore more, but I guess I just don't feel like I reached the same stage as I did last year.

But that's ok, I'll be back for next year's 100 days, because the process teaches you so much, even if you don't reach the creative levels you hoped for.  And now, looking at the photographs of all the work laid out end to end, I'm proud of myself.  That's a good feeling.  I'll be back for a second helping next year.

Here's what day 99 looked like:

And here's the whole project in lots of 20 (you don't see the whole pictures, just thumbnails, and sometimes oddly cropped):

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Interview with Artist Lisa Call - The New Zealand Quilt Show Podcast

Lisa Call is a talented textile artist, teacher, life coach and businesswoman.  Born in Arizona in the United States and spending much of her recent life in Denver, Colorado, Lisa then packed up her belongings and moved to New Zealand in 2015 for a new adventure.

Lisa, a former software engineer, is a self-taught artist whose work has been exhibited and published widely and resides in public and private collections around the world.  Lisa’s award-winning textile paintings are abstract, using her rich hand dyed fabrics and intense machine stitching to create bold geometric works.  She cites her love of colour, repetition and pattern; geological forms and human-made structures such as fences and stone walls as her inspiration sources for her work.

Lisa will be teaching one of the five-day master classes at the NZ National Quilting Symposium in October 2017, the topic being ‘Working in a Series’. 

Structures #118 by Lisa Call

Lisa and I talk about how she took the leap from paid employment to being a full time artist and what that means in terms of making work, selling work and spending time in the studio.

We learn how Lisa came to be living in New Zealand and how that has impacted her art.  Lisa also gives us an insight into how the textile art scene differs between NZ and the US.

Lisa's textile paintings from her 2016 100 Days Project 

We discuss what coaching is, why Lisa became a coach and how she uses coaching skills to teach students to be artists rather than teaching them how to make art.

Lisa is next exhibiting her work at the 100 Days show at Tutere Gallery in Waikanae opening September 1st 2017.  This will be Lisa's 100 black and white textile paintings incorporating her explorations in mark making that she has been making for her 2017 100 Days Project.  

Lisa's first 50 textile paintings from her 2017 100 Days Project

Lisa's favourite studio tool is her Purple Thang.

And her favourite sounds to create to is Brandi Carlile and a little bit of Gin Wigmore.

The conversation with Lisa was in-depth and profound, she was incredibly generous with her knowledge and time.  I could have listened to her for at least another hour!  So grab a cup of tea and settle down and learn more about Lisa Call, Artist.

Here's where you can find out more about Lisa:

Thank you to everyone who supports this podcast and helps me tell the stories of our quiltmakers, artists and professionals.  If you would like to support me, head over to iTunes and leave a five star review, pop over to my podbean hosting site and leave a donation, or consider advertising your business by sponsoring an episode.  Email me at  Cheers!