I love colour, pattern and texture, bold and subtle, regular and abstract. When did I start relating these ideas to textiles? From childhood I learned to sew, both decorative and practical items. Fabric and thread were constants in my life, doing embroidery and dressmaking then learning to crochet and make curtains (for the many houses Ive lived in). My first quilting was done in the early 1980s then creativity took a back seat as job (unrelated) and family took precedence.
More recently I’ve been exploring textile art in its many forms and my creative preferences are strengthening. So what am I? Quilter? Embroiderer? Patchworker? Stitcher? Textile Artist?
View Deborah’s Quilts
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Mullion Cove 2019
The photo which provided inspiration for this quilt was taken at Mullion Cove on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall in 2018
The quilt was made using a technique taught by Gloria Loughman at the Region 16 Quilters’ Guild Residential Weekend at Stirling in June 2019. The sea and sky are made from hand painted fabrics, cut into strips and reassembled to suitable effect. The land is made from a commercial fabric bonded onto black fabric to provide depth and perspective.
30″ x 20″
Reflect and Hope 2018
This quilt was made to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One which was a time of reflection for many, mourning for those whose lives were lost – represented by the ghostly ‘Tommy’. The tree represents the broken, damaged past, and the healthier future. The destruction of farmland disturbed the soil, producing poppies, now an iconic an item of remembrance. There was also hope for a better future in a time of huge social change.
26″ x 18″
Forth Sunset 2017
On the hottest day of early summer I took a photo of the scene across the Firth of Forth from Silverknowes, Edinburgh at sunset and used it as the inspiration for this quilt.
The quilt was made using the tiling technique taught by Gloria Loughman at the Region 16 Quilters’ Guild Residential Weekend at Stirling in June 2017. Commercial fabrics are ‘fussy cut’ into diamonds and narrow strips and bonded to the background.
24″ x 18″
Tumbling Blocks 2018
The visual illusions created by the Tumbling Blocks design fascinate me. I love hand sewing so I enjoyed slow hand piecing with no deadline. I also love the small floral prints that became available with the resurgence of quilting in the 1980’s. Made with the traditional English Paper Piecing technique. Machine quilted.
More than 1470 pieces, each diamond side 1.5”.
Won Gold in the Traditional section of the Scottish Quilt Show, Glasgow, 2018.
44” x 70”
Fantasy forest 2018
I was inspired by the unconventional landscapes created by Art Deco artists especially Clarice Cliff. I liked their use of alternative colours and shapes. I also studied stylised tree shapes in art from Ancient Egypt and India and let my imagination run riot. 36″x36″
Winter Tree 2018
Trees denuded of leaves demonstrate the complexity of their structures. I was inspired by the contorted shapes of winter trees in many favourite places, often seen with frost on the branches.
Winter light can be a beautiful combination of cool colours varying from bright to dark and give a strong setting for a bold tree. 20″x 60″
Hot Rocks 2017
The landscape of the Sonora Desert in Southwestern USA has been shaped by extremes of heat and absence of water. Massive blocks of terracotta coloured rocks make bold statements against a brilliant azure sky. The arid landscape is studded by bold shaped cacti. Many subtle shade variations exist in the horizontal rock strata and scrubby vegetation struggles to survive the intense, arid heat. The Saguaro Cactus is a bold, iconic example of a plant evolved to survive its environment. The skies, clear of clouds, often show the ‘con trails’ of high flying aircraft. 24″x40″
Timeless Tayside 2017
The landscape is superficially simple, hills and water, but every hillside is a detailed patchwork of infinitely varied slopes and land use, colours altering with the seasons. Loch Tay may appear smooth and calm but it reflects a constantly changing sky and contains abundant aquatic life, busy below the surface. In certain light the distant boundary between land and sky becomes difficult to discern. 24″x 40″
Carnival Parade 2016
The highlight of any carnival, rows of participants in brightly coloured costumes parade along a route on foot or on vehicles extravagantly festooned with coloured lights and decorations, the whole event accompanied by fireworks.
Made for the Theme Challenge at Glasgow SECC March 2016
24″ x 40″
Cool Curves 2014
Made for a Chinese Whispers Challenge with Thistle Quilters for the Loch Lomond Quilt Show 2014
Themes of movement and progression are explored within the cool colour spectrum. Vertical strips cut to proportions according to the beginning of the Fibonacci sequence hint at progression. I used curved horizontal seams and the silver ‘river’ echoed in quilting, couching and beading to explore movement.
‘Good said God’ 2013
My response to ‘Anne Bevan – Hills Woolcraft and Stone’ by George Mackay Brown at Pat Archibald’s Creative Journey Class.
My inspiration came from the idea of fire from within the earth, forming rocks which are the foundation of a landscape able to support farming and industry despite, or aided by, the effects of wind and sea on a northerly island.
The circles focus on the 4 elements – wind, sea, fire and folded hills. The centre is detailed, representing the complexity of that environment, whereas the outer circle reflects the ‘big picture’ and the strength of local occupations.
The extract from the poem is hand embroidered in dark navy blue using a simple back stitch to outline a Celtic style font (relevant to the Orcadian origin of the poem).
The sections in the circles were pieced in the Bargello method.
The bias cut silver rings were added like bindings then that circle appliquéd to the layer beneath.
Tools relevant to the trades referred to in the poem were quilted in outline and some had silver foil added using the Bondaweb method.
Other quilting in the circles reflected the elements.
Beads were added to detailed sea and wind sections.
Binding was added in dark navy blue, highlighted with silver piping.
Silver was used to give an impression of the brightness found in the islands due to reflections off the sea. 30″x 30″
Jurassic Borders 2015
Created for the ‘Crossing Borders’ exhibition with Pat Archibald’s Creative Journey
Soft sea bed sediment in Jurassic times crosses borders over millions of years to become hard rock strata above sea level. The rock strata become contorted by slow movements of the Earth’s crust. The coastline is the border between land and sea. The rock strata determine the strength and shape of that coastline which in turn determines the speed at which the sea crosses the border and changes it – creating cliffs, arches and sea stacks. Ammonites cross the life/death border – live creatures swimming in Jurassic seas die, sink to the sea bed and become fossils found in the rock strata.
Life Line – Home was where the heart is 2014
I looked at my past homes from a spatial perspective. An aerial photograph evokes memories of the immediate surroundings. The postcode and year are reminders of the wider area and my life there. Commercial fabrics with photo printed from Google Earth.
Completed for the Contemporary Quilt Group Journal Quilt Challenge 2014
Messages from the Roof of the World 2015
Tibetan elements are denoted by colours seen in the prayer flags widely hung throughout the Himalayas. Messages of hope and support are transmitted across the mountains and valleys by strong winds which eventually cause the flags to disintegrate.
Elements and their representative colours are blue – sky, white – air, red – fire, green – water and yellow – earth. The colour order of flags is traditional, but symbols and print used on full sized flags are omitted to avoid offence by inaccuracy of representation on a small scale. Mountains are marked with couched threads and emphasised with quilting. Shading is created with water-based pigment.
Completed for the 2015 Contemporary Quilt Group Challenge – Elements
Old Town New Town Contrasts 2014
Made for the Region 16 Exhibition ‘Best of Scotland’ at the Loch Lomond Quilt Show 2014
As a Geographer I am fascinated by the contrasts in layout of the two iconic areas of Edinburgh. The Old Town has a random layout developed over centuries and determined by the shape of the land. The New Town, on flatter land, was planned in the 18th Century and has a regular rectangular layout.
The piecing and quilting was completed by machine, using purple and green – the colours of Scotland’s thistles. The black and white border features a Celtic style font to show many famous street names, lettered by hand with a fabric pen.
18″x 32″ each
Rainbow Diamonds 2012
Bargello style piecing in bright colours. Colour choice mine, design by Jan Hassard. Machine quilting of oval shapes to contrast with diamond piecing. Space dyed thread in bright colours used for the quilting.
43″ x 47″
Stained Glass and Spires 2015
Inspired by St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral The strong shapes of the Victorian Gothic spires (darkened by pollution) contrast with the bright delicate patterns in the modern, stained glass Millennium Window by Eduardo Paolozzi which is set within traditional stone arches.
The cathedral spires form a focal point in Edinburgh’s West End and cast large shadows over this part of the New Town.
The ‘stained glass’ has been hand painted and machine quilted, then mounted into dark fabric spires. These pieces were then machine appliqued onto a background of commercial fabric which has been machine quilted and hand painted in a design which echoes the ‘stained glass’.
Made for the Thistle Quilters 2015 Chairman’s Challenge – Auld Reekie
My interpretation of the theme ‘Reflections’ at Pat Archibald’s Creative Journey Class.
Reflection on the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. Mountains – dramatic peaks fading into the distance and dissolving into the sky. Rocks – strong, solid, barren. Rivers of water and ice – powerful sweeping curves. Lakes – reflective ribbons full of life. Forests – alive but fragile. 24″x 40″
This reflection on a village in the Derbyshire Peak District was completed after a class with Alicia Merrett at the Contemporary Quilt Group Winter School 2013.
Random piecing in bright colours represents buildings and roads surrounded by green open land and a river. Curved seams reflected the reality of lines in an ancient English village. A variety of free machine quilting patterns were used for different land uses.
23″ x 25″