I learnt to work a needle at a tender age, as my mom, gran and great-gran were always knitting, crocheting, stitching or sewing something. (The old photo is one of my sister and I with our great-gran, gran and mom.) And I found out not long ago that my paternal grandmother also did embroidery, although she died long before I was born. So it seems needlework is in my blood.
My intention, aside from having my dream job, is to help keep the art of hand embroidery alive and evolving by coming up with fresh, contemporary designs that use various and interesting surface stitches. For projects in The Stitch & Thimble, I embroider the designs on to sewn items.
I'm a stitch geek and like to use different stitches to build up my designs, rather than simply outline a picture. So a row of feather stitch becomes the delicate veins of a bee's wing and radiating pistil stitches become the centre of a flower. I love fabric as much as thread, so like to incorporate embroidered appliqué into some of my designs and enjoy working out new and innovative ways of catching the fabric down with different stitches.
My style can be summed up as contemporary creative surface embroidery. It's an eclectic approach in that I draw on ideas and techniques from different styles of embroidery - Jacobean or crewel embroidery, mountmellick, appliqué, anything that catches my attention… I like experimenting, so tend to make it up as I go along.
I also design, embroider and write for magazines and books. I've worked in the media industry for most of my life and freelance as an editor, although I've done my fair share of design and layout as well. I've had projects featured in Australia's Inspirations, British Patchwork & Quilting and South Africa's Ideas magazines, and contributed a chapter of embroidered motifs to Margaret Rowan's book, Stitch!. I created a standalone magazine supplement featuring 20 original projects for Ideas magazine in 2014, which came out in December.