Saturday, December 27, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: Lithuania

Maryte Collard

I was born and spent most of my life in Lithuania, country of amber, songs and rain.
Despite my career in a medical field I was always interested in fiber arts and crafts but quilting stole my heart when I was introduced to it in 1997.
For 11 years since 2002 till 2013 I lived in US and there I realized that quilting was much more than a craft, it was an ART.

I started making traditional quilts but soon I realized that I wanted to explore endless possibilities fiber arts offer: raw edge applique using my own hand dyed silk and cotton as a background, painting and thread painting and free motion quilting that is my favorite part of quiltmaking.

I draw my inspiration mostly from nature and life around me but also I love creating abstract quilts letting the pieces of fabric to fall into places just like they knew where they belonged.

A new challenge in my quilting career emerged when I moved back to Lithuania in 2013. There were no tradition of making quilts here and there were no supplies. I had to start dyeing my own fabrics and to this day I am searching for my new style. For now my style often is recognized as “American” when I put my quilts on display in Lithuania or in Latvia.

Even there are few quilters in Lithuania now, there is no sense of community and I feel rather isolated. That's why I joined SAQA and also became a member of Latvian Quilting Association.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: Belgium (Denmark/Netherlands/USA)


I was born and raised in Denmark, but I have lived and worked for many years in the US and in the Netherlands. Since 2005 I live in the beautiful old city Antwerp in Belgium. I started out as a journalist and worked for five years at the daily newspaper Information in Copenhagen, but then I met my husband and moved to America, where I got a degree in art history at the University in Seatttle. And I saw my first quilt, an Amish quilt hanging on a wash line.
When we later moved to the Netherlands I worked at the Dutch Textile Museum, combining my love of textile, of art and art history and of writing. I was excited about  the opportunity to organize exhibitions and introduce ‘new’ quilts, first with an exhibition about American art quilts, and later in 1997 I was the curator of the very first European Art Quilt exhibition.
That last exhibition, however, also made it clear to me how much I missed making my own art work, so in 1998 I left my museum career to make art quilts full time.

Besides being a maker I am also teaching workshops and masters classes , and in 2001 I organized the 2 year course Quilten Speciaal in the Netherlands for quilters who wanted to further their artistic development - and this course is still taking place; we just started with group # 13.

Metropolis 1

Since 2000 I have been a member of the European group Quilt Art. This group celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015 with two traveling exhibitions and a big book.
And I have been a member of SAQA for about as many years and served as the SAQA representative for Europe and Israel from 2005-08, when we introduced the first Wide Horizons exhibition at the Carrefour in Alsace.

White Wall 2

I construct my quilts like a collage with many layers of cotton, linen, cheese cloth and paper, which I have painted, printed screened, rusted and bleached. I am fond of monochromatic colors and subtle tones and of hand quilting with big stitches. For the last five years I have focussed on the color white.

Words 5

Almost all of my work refers to writing. I was a journalist before I became an artist, and language and communication continue to be my main source of inspiration – from printed book pages to handwritten notes and letters  and from crude graffiti to posters and advertisements in the streets. The text on my pieces is meant to be seen rather than to be read, and to be seen as the human need for communication.

You can see more examples of my work on my website,

Friday, December 19, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: Ireland (Netherlands)

Joke Buursma

Originally from The Netherlands, I am now residing in Portlaw, Co. Waterford, Ireland.
I started quilting when I moved to Ireland in 1996.
The Dutch multicultural society has influenced my colour palette, while travelling has evoked my interest in the cultural legacies of the countries I have visited over the years. My collection of books about the cultural history of diverse countries is another source of inspiration.

Burying their children 4

My work often references a sense of place derived from places which affected me.
In the course of the last ten years I have been working on pieces alluding to the Adobe architecture in Mali (West Africa), South Africa's nature, and in other pieces to the past of Ireland, France, Spain, and Syria.


My work consists mainly of cotton fabrics, occasionally of silk, linen and man-made material as well.
I use a mix of commercial and self hand dyed fabrics.
In my work I apply appliqué, painting, discolouring, stamping, stencilling, piecing, and densely free-motion stitching.

Hermaphrodite 1

In the course of this year (2014) I had two solo exhibitions in the South East of Ireland.

Red Earth

If you want to see more of my work you can visit my website:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: Belgium

Françoise  Jamart 

 I started making quilts in the early eighties while living in the United States. At first, I fell in love with Amish quilts. I loved their simple designs and subtle colours.
When I came back to Belgium a few years later, I continued making quilts and gradually drifted towards contemporary and art quilting.
I dye, paint and print my fabrics, using several different techniques. Most of the time, I machine-quilt my pieces, although I often add some hand stitching.

Shibori (2014)

My inspiration comes from my natural environment and from my interest in all things Japanese. I traveled several times to Japan and became so intrigued by this beautiful country that I started studying the language a couple of years ago.

Rêverie in Japanese »  (2014)

I am a member of the international art quilt group Twelve by Twelve. At the moment, I am working on a series of small quilts using the remnants of fabrics I dyed for the Twelve by Twelve challenges.

Chartreuse Colorplay Scrapquilt (2014)

Recently, I launched a small art quilt group with a few friends. We still have to find a name, but we already have chosen a first theme for the next six months.

Tree of Life (2013) 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The Czech Republic

Jana Lalova

was born in Prague, Czech Republic. She graduated from the Charles University in Prague, field sociology of culture. After working at the Public Observatory and Planetarium in Prague for 28 years, she followed her husband – an astronomer – to New York, USA (for 4 years) and then to Vienna, Austria (for 10 years), where he was working for the United Nations.
She learned about patchwork the first time while living in New York. As a member of the United Nations Women´s Guild, she became one of the founders of the Quilting Group of the UNWG in Vienna. After taking several classes, she became the patchwork teacher, first in Vienna and after returning back home, in the Czech Republic as well.

After the Fire

She introduced patchwork several times on Czech TV, translated the Susan Briscoe book on Sashiko from English to Czech language and she is contributing to Czech handicraft magazines.

Hands of the Treasure

She became one of the „godmothers“ of  the Prague Patchwork Meeting in 2007. Since then she is participating as an exhibitor, workshop committee member and as a translator of some workshop lectures given in English.
First, she tried many different techniques, but prefered smaller hand made projects (baby quilts, wallhangings etc.). Recently she found her main interest in art quilts (she is a member of  Art Quilt Harbour Group).

The Tower of Babylon

She participated at exhibitions in Austria, Germany, Roumania, United Kingdom, Prague and other cities in the Czech Republic.

Monday, December 1, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The Czech Republic


I was born 1955 in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. Since about 15 I started to study fine and applied art with textile specialization, mainly textile collage and classical (woven) tapestry technique. All this, however, never being my professional career as my parents insisted on some more practical job. Following my degree in economics (travel trade), I have spent whole my active professional life in tourism organizing both incoming as well as outgoing tours and events.
Shortly after 2002 I came back to my sewing and creative textile hobby and since then I concentrate on contemporary and art quilt and the integration of textile art works in modern interiors. Since years I have been also teaching surface design not only in Czech Republic, but also abroad in English or German).
In 2005 I was among those who decided to upgrade the experience of the growing Czech patchwork community by founding an international event, unique in the Middle and former Eastern Europe: Prague Patchwork Meeting (  As we are mainly a family run enterprise with a substantial help of my friend quilters from the Art Quilt Club CZ, I am also active in bringing up the monthly Newsletter PPM in CZ and EN version and in curator activities regarding the Czech collection shown abroad.


I take regularly part in many shows and exhibitions not only in CZ, but also in various international projects (EPM contest, Sign of the Time, Radiation, EAQ, FOQ with the Art Club CZ….) Lately my latest quilt collection “RED” was  presented at the 20th EPM in France.


My current work concentrates on quilts for PPM special category Leather in 2015 as well as a brand new project Art Quilt Harbour ( 

Terra Fuego

Saturday, November 22, 2014

SAQA International Artists Panel Mentorship Webinar

Have you ever taken part in one of SAQA's webinars? Here is another one coming up soon:

SAQA International Artists Panel Mentorship Webinar

Tuesday, December 9 at 1 pm ET
The International Artists Panel will include three international SAQA members sharing their art quilts and discussing how their creative lives are influenced by the places they live. Alicia Merrett was born and raised in Argentina and lives in the United Kingdom. Barbara Lange and Uta Lenk live in Germany. This webinar is an outstanding opportunity to learn about some of SAQA’s international members and be inspired by these talented art quilters. 
Please click the following link to register. Registration is limited, but all SAQA members will have access to the full audio and video recording of the webinar on the SAQA website within a few days after the event.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The United Kingdom

Fenella Davies 

I have been living in the lovely Georgian City of Bath for many years.

I was a member of Bath Textile Artists for ten years, making and exhibiting jewellery, collages and textiles. 

After winning a number of awards in the late 90’s, I applied, and was accepted into Quilt Art (the International quiltmaking group) about 16 years ago, and we celebrate our 30th anniversary next year, with another international touring exhibition, accompanied by a book. (

 We try to produce an exhibition with book every 2 or 3 years, and these then tour throughout Europe.  Our last exhibition was in Russia and we have also just ended a long tour in the USA.

My work has been based for many years on Venice, a city that I visit often – I am interested in the decay and beauty, the silence of the calles and the contrast of the tourists, the history of past lives, and the disintegration of this unique place.

detritus Venice, 100 x 150 cm

Venice Light, 90 x 137 cm

My work is abstract and becoming more collage than quilted textile – having specialized in embroidery, I now like to ‘distress’ that with over painting, collaging, use of paper, card, flashing, matting, scrim and netting, but always using a small point of interest to make the viewer think further into the piece. 

Venice Wall Tracks

My new work is based on Seam/Stress – the word ties in neatly with the hardships of the seamstresses of the past – unknown women (invariably) whose work went unacknowledged, yet was so exquisite. 


Monday, November 17, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The Netherlands

Marjo van der Leeuw Lauwereys

Events and problems who are happening in the world  - not rarely also related to religion - will I show in my textile work.Emotions, triggered by those events can be described ascommon experience and presenting them in my work I'm sharing this with others.

Losing time, 2013

Inspiration I get from my environment, nature, media and from my former job as a social worker.

On the way to freedom in former times and now, 2011

The shapes and colours that call emotions - I use a lot of earth tones - have a close relationship with my first childhood, that I spent in Belgian Congo. They are mixed with my social experiences.

Marjo van der Leeuw Lauwereys

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The United Kingdom

Brenda Wroe

I am a contemporary quilt artist, having immersed myself in textile art at the start of the new millennium after a long professional IT career.  I do wonder now why I left it so long; there are so many opportunities for personal creativity and the textile world is really obsessive.   However making art quilts has to fit in with my unusual nomadic lifestyle, since I move home between the East Midlands in the UK, rural France and southern Spain, several times a year. 

My quilts are usually bold and colourful, often being inspired by particular shapes in the landscape or architecture which catch my eye whilst I am walking or travelling.  I create my own fabrics, hand-dyeing natural fibres of cottons, silks and linens which I often develop further by screen printing, discharging, or painting.  I am fortunate, due to my lifestyle, to be able to find and ‘reclaim’ old French bedlinen which makes such beautiful texture to work with.

bp@BP (2012)
I normally work intuitively, often with particular shapes in mind, considering what the fabric is asking for before deciding on a particular way forward. Frequently a project stays on my design wall for days, sometimes weeks, before I understand what it needs to express an idea that I have in mind.  Whilst actually creating fabric is always exciting I rarely consider a piece is nearing completion until it has been stitched, often by quite abundant machine quilting or by embellishing with hand embroidery stitching.   I do love a challenge and recently have been learning how to use a longarm sewing machine in creating art quilts.

Stormy Oak Tree (2013)

Through the Roof (2013)
In 2013 I curated a group exhibition called Hidden Treasures at the 19th European Patchwork Meeting in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines in Alsace and went back again to Alsace in September this year with a personal contribution to their celebratory 20th anniversary exhibition.  My work has been exhibited frequently in the UK and also in Spain and France and it is enjoyable to participate in international quilt challenges such as EQA.   Having only recently joined SAQA, I volunteered to assist on the SAQA stands at FoQ and EPM this year.  I was welcomed by many other members and will certainly be offering to help out again.
On reflection I consider life to be enriched by the opportunity to travel, make friends and create art quilts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Call for Entry at Textile Museum, Washington D.C.


A recent message from Leni Wiener, Chair of SAQA Exhibitin Committee, posted on the yahoo-group:

Since stepping into the Chair of the Exhibition Committee a year ago, I have been asking and listening to what our members want in an exhibition opportunity. There were lots of suggestions—more museum venues, large scale work, installation work, free standing or dimensional work, cutting edge work that stretches us as artists. 
That is why I am so excited to tell you about the newest call for entry. The Textile Museum in Washington DC has recently reopened in a fantastic new facility on the campus of the George Washington University and will host a SAQA exhibition there in 2016. This is an opportunity to exhibit work in a world class museum, to do large pieces (they have one section of the gallery space with thirty foot ceilings), and all kinds of cutting edge work that will show the world the innovative and amazing range of SAQA’s artists.

Please read the call for entry carefully, and remember this (actually remember this for all calls for entry): the theme is your inspiration, it is the door that opens to your imagination to interpret in any way you wish. Don’t be limited by only what is suggested, stretch yourself, be inspired and create work that relates to the theme, but doesn’t not need to be literal. I often hear that members want more themes that can be abstract—if you are inspired any theme can be abstract. I hear that people want themes related to their usual body of work—make the theme fit your usual style, technique and subject matter. This is a theme that is wide opened to interpretation. 

 We have posted the call for entry a year in advance so those who wish to make work specifically for this call have ample time to think about, plan and create pieces for submission. And because this is a single venue event, if you can ship it to the museum, you can enter it. None of these pieces will travel after this one venue, so there is no need for your work to be accommodated by the restraints of our usual shipping containers.

This is an amazing opportunity and we want to show the Textile Museum we are up to the task and blow their socks off! Follow the link, check it out, think about it. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!
 Here is the call for entry: (either click on the link or copy and paste it into your browser).

+++ end of Leni's message +++

Note that the date for entry is still some time in the future – but it would be wonderful if many members from Europe would consider entering! 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The United Kingdom

Margaret Ramsay

Indigo Waves - SAQA Benefit Auction 2012

SAQA Wide Horizons III ' Weymouth Waves'   Judges Choice FoQ 2014

'Fleet Mudflats'   Knit and Stitch Olympia 2014

My mother was an embroiderer and quilter and I grew up surrounded by fabrics and threads.  While I've always painted and drawn (studying art to 'A' level at school),   I read  botany and biotechnology  at university  and didn't take up sewing  seriously until I was unemployed for a few months on graduation and mum taught me to  quilt - I've been hooked ever since. My career has been in science: nearly 25 years as a botanist at Kew Gardens working mainly on orchid conservation and more recently on mosses.  Working on international projects and collaborating with scientists and conservationists in many countries for my job, I've found it rewarding and invigorating to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds. That's one of the main reasons I joined SAQA, apart from the opportunity to exhibit.  I love catching up with SAQA members on my annual visit to FOQ and  I  hope someday to get to an international show/conference.

I like to think that I apply my scientific curiosity to my art work, keen to explore new ideas.  I'm passionate about the natural world and using my own images, observations and experiences in my quilts. I've been going through a bit of an indigo phase for the last few years, constructing seascapes. This year I had my first indigo vat at home (I've used other peoples premises previously.) It gave me the opportunity to dye sections of old tatty antique quilts that I've been accumulating, my husband calls me a quilt resurrectionist.
Painting these rescued quilts with acrylic paints is another direction I've been exploring, started initially in an attempt to  capture some of the freshness of sketches that was sometimes lost along the way in interpreting them in fabric.
What unites all the techniques I use is love of colour and of stitch -   while I   use  machine quilting ( particularly twin needle) , it is the rhythm of hand stitching that I find both soothing and additive. I often combine the two as they bring different effects to a piece.

 'Nautical Dawn' Judges Choice FoQ 2014

 Detail of 'Red Remnants' Cwilt Cymru

Besides SAQA, I've been a member of the Quilters Guild of the British Isles  for 27 years  and its specialist group 'Contemporary Quilt' since it started, enjoying the camaraderie and challenges. I've been making 'Journal Quilts' for over 12 years, using them as a means of  trying out new techniques and practising.  I'm a member of exhibiting group 'Cwilt Cymru' and post regularly on my blog.

I also have a website that I'm afraid needs updating - in my limited spare time I'd rather be stitching!