Born in and currently living in Durban, South Africa, I am a full-time studio artist and teacher, and sometime gardener, reader and tea drinker. A rural childhood in the tiny village of Umzimkulu was the source of my obsession with light and passion for color, line and texture. It was also here that i acquired my love of the richness of African design, traditions and artefacts.
From its beginning in a rural 2-room school, my education took me through ten years of boarding school to the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg where I majored in Fine Art and English before becoming a teacher of both subjects, teaching people from 2 to 82 at various schools and the Rhodes University Education Department. My focus however changed to fabric once I held its magic in my hands, and I started embroidery and quiltmaking in 1975. I have taught both ever since, and while I love and have enormous respect for traditional quilts, I want my quilts to say something about their time and place in history. Therefore they come directly from my life, reflecting my experiences and feelings of living in two such different worlds: northern hemisphere America and southern hemisphere South Africa, and moving constantly between these two dynamic cultures.
The process of conceptualizing and constructing my work is as important to me as the finished product. I begin with notes and small rough value sketches based on what it is I am trying to communicate. Once a start has been made I cut directly into the fabric, pinning onto a design wall to build the composition. A long process of selection and editing follows before I actually stitch anything together. I enjoy the layered colors and rich textural contrasts offered in fabrics like silks, velvets, brocades and hand dyed cottons. Their tactile qualities make them irresistible to me as a medium.
My work has been widely exhibited and published internationally. I have won several awards and my work is to be found in a number of private and public collections. I have taught and lectured extensively and have delivered the opening and closing addresses at several quilt and art exhibitions and conferences.
I have also been a judge and juror at many exhibitions both in South Africa and internationally, and feel immensely honored to have been invited to jury Quilt National at The Dairy Barn, an exhibition at Visions Museum of Contemporary Quilts & Textiles, and Quilts=Art=Quilts at the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Centre.
It has been an immense privilege to have been part of this fibre, textile and quilt world, and like my colleagues I look forward to continued personal growth.
Exhibitions at the KZNSA