Friday, 13 November 2015


This piece was done for was the 'Old & New' theme and its origin lies in an article I read recently about the restoration of Chartres Cathedral - work which has caused some controversy.  Some opponents argue that it is not authentic but surely a hefty covering of dirt and grime was not there in its mediaeval glory days?  They also try to say that the great mediaeval stained glass is not shown off properly as there is no contrast any longer!  Presumably that too was alright in mediaeval times.  The cleaning is not complete and what struck me was the contrast between the clean, light refurbished parts and those which remained dirty and dark.  I wanted to bring this out in the work.

In addition, I was reminded of a piece which was made for CQ's JQs in 2009 called 'Durham Fragment'.  This is the piece above.  It was based on my own drawings of this wonderful cathedral ,which happens to be my favourite, and I wanted to rework it.  This reworking represents the old and the new whilst the Chartres restoration also illustrates old and new ( and if you like, back to the old!)

This is the result.  My primary aim was contrast, both in colour and tone whilst the quilting patterns were inspired by the stonework on Norman columns.  The patterns used simulate patchwork fabrics as I like the idea of interpreting traditional techniques in a modern way.

Monday, 2 November 2015

November theme

OEQC is over and I am home again where my motherlist of themes is. For the coming month our theme will be Tree of Life. Hopefully this will inspire us all more than the previous ones :-).

Saturday, 31 October 2015

November theme

I am looking forward to the November theme. I have work to make for 2 shows and am stuck as to how to interpret the themes for them and am feeling frustrated at not really having anything to get stuck into. I have been busy with scrap quilts as a gap filler so hoping the November theme will give me something that  I can get my teeth into Happy Halloween to you all.

Monday, 19 October 2015


I know that this is very late but ideas take a long time to mature.  I eschewed the obvious interpretations of my theme e.g homeless placards, glitzy buildings, deprived people and obvious deprivation and excess in favour of a more subtle approach.

I took a very showy flower - in this case a paeony and developed it as the central image.  It is intended to be a metaphor for wealth and fine living.  It is safe in its enclave because it is surrounded by a spiky barrier which separates it from the perceived 'riff-raff 'on the outside.  However, this part on the outside is now being colonised by the rich too as shown by the golden circular 'islands'.  There is chaos outside as represented by the angry streaks as they try to cling on.

I am motivated to do this piece because, living as we do in Greater London, we are very aware of the extreme housing crisis in the capital and inner suburbs particularly.

Techniques include photo transfer and free machine embroidery.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Ups and Downs of Life

I just loved making this piece. I used some linen I had dyed some time ago. I screen printed - up, down and a graph.  These were done using a stencil I cut. I then stitched a grid so I could accurately place the stamped letters. They can be seen if you click on the image to see it enlarged.
I had intended to print - down - in green but forgot before I had even got to the first one. I was looking forward to seeing the pattern made by the coloured lettering, I was pleased with the spread of the red ups. I had so many phrases to choose from.
Irene MacWilliam

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

New theme

The theme for the coming month is: Ups and downs.
Again I have to admit that I had no time this month to create something for this group. As you might know, I am participating in Elizabeth Barton's masterclass this year and that takes more time than I had expected.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

2nd piece for Decay theme - Irene

This is the second compost piece 12 x 12 ins
I used some of the fabric over from the piece in my previous post. I also took a photo of my sun print and printed it onto fabric using TAP paper. I did not bother to fiddle with the photo so the colours are somewhat different. I also failed to wait for it to dry properly before washing, more than I would have expected of the dye came out. This created a worn looking fabric. However I call this 'happistance', it suited my theme. Using a metallic green paint I then printed.... composting is kind to the environment, it promotes diversity.

 I have just put out some more fabric with decaying leaves to sun print. I do not think it will be used for any more postings to this site unless of course I am totally excited about the result. Some of the bits were not staying in good contact with the prepared fabric so not too hopeful of a good result