Friday, October 31, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The Reps

Uta Lenk (Germany)

I have been a SAQA member ever since I had a solo exhibition at the abilmente in Vicenza and Gul LaPorte recruited me. Being a SAQA member has been a wonderful enrichment of my life. As we are currently living in a rather remote part of south-eastern Germany, the international contacts have kept me connected to the world, and given me some opportunity to travel.
In my quilting, entering the juried shows according to calls for entry has given me new impulses. For example, “Beyond Comfort” was an exhibition with a high degree of challenge for me. And I was lucky, two pieces of mine were accepted and traveled with the show for over two years.

Yellow Line, 2010

Illuminated, 2010

More lately, “text messages” has started me on a new path, and I am currently working on and thinking about several quilts that are dealing with textile interpretations of various kinds of texts.

o(rounD)moon,   2013
This partcular quilt is a textile interpretation of one of my favorite poems by e.e.cummings and is currently traveling with the show. Several other quilts have followed, and even more are waiting in the scenes.
Before that, I was intensively involved in my series “Play of Lines”, and two pieces from this series were included in the exhibition “Color Improvisations”, curated by Nancy Crow.

Play of Lines VIII (2009)

For a while I thought “Play of Lines” was a series that had reached conclusion, but new ideas have been calling recently, so there may be more, as inspiration comes.

Just a few weeks ago I was one in the opening of a three person exhibition in the UNESCO World Heritag Site Fagus Werk in Alfeld, Germany. This building was the first building by Walter Gropius after he set up as an architect, and we chose “Inspiration Bauhaus” as the topic for the exhibition. Intensive studies of Bauhaus philosophy, Bauhaus artists and the different arts that were practised in the Bauhaus during its short existence have strongly influenced my series “Shapes”, of which many pieces are now on display in Alfeld, until December 19th.

Shapes 8, 2013

In my quilts I use my own hand-dyed fabrics (which I also sell in a small business, mostly through a fabric club), and I combine hand- and machine stitching as much as possible. If the days had more hours I probably would rely entirely on hand stitching, but as there are only 24 hours in the day, machine stitching is sometimes the appropriate mode to get something finished.
I write a blog in English, and a slightly different one in German.

Being a (co-)representative for the region Europe/Middle East has given me the opportunities to meet many new people from all over the region, and other parts of the world as well. It has been an interesting time, working with Elisabeth, who has now resigned from her post, and I am looking forward to working together with Maggi, who is just now beginning her first term.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The Reps

Elisabeth Nacenta-de la Croix (Switzerland)

Born in France, I arrived in Switzerland with my mother at the age of 5 and I always lived in Geneva ever since apart from times passed in Italy or in England to learn the Italian and English languages so I could be an interpreter; but I changed my mind and study to become a librarian!

I belong to a family of musicians, painters and dancers, and I am considered as a kind of painter with fabrics by my family. My grand mother taught me how to knit and do crochet and my mother made me learn how to sew.
Since 1992 I play with fabrics using traditional patchwork techniques which led me to a more contemporary style.

Au Fil de l'Eau (2014)

Inspiration comes from the images registered in my memory during the daily walks with my dog in parks, in the mountain, along the Leman’s lake, or from images from TV programs or from magazines, books… It is not about reproducing a pattern, but it is a kind of expressive language mixing sewing, embroidery, painting, collage…

Northern Lights (2014)

I like all the different parts of my work which is exclusively intuitive: the start, the choice of the range of colours, the fabrics selection, the construction, the sewing, the embellishment and even the binding. And I love colours so much.
In my landscapes, I only work with simple shapes such as squares and rectangles cut and settled in an improvisational way.

Reflets lac 4 (2014)

My fantasy decides of the colours and the light which intensity and tone give life to the whole design. I mainly use hand dyed fabrics and batiks, so strong with their shapes, shades and so vivid colours. Then I work on texture with threads, wool or whatever I have, I add some painted details, and finally I concentrate on the embroidery always done by machine.

Reflets lac 5 (2014)

During the last 7 years, I dedicate some of my free time to promote SAQA; first with "Wide Horizons" from its very start and being curator twice, then as co-Rep for the Europe and Middle East region for 3 years. As I like doing it,  will still do promotion as often as I can and will try to reach my new goal: enter 2 SAQA shows next year...

Reflets lac 6 (2014)
It was a great pleasure to meet so many of you during these years and some of you are now close friends. Thank you for all the happiness you gave me and good luck to the new team!

See you soon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

SAQA members at OEQC Veldhoven

Several SAQA members had quilts in the OEQC competition.
Congratulations to the following winners:

Elly van Steenbeek, "Countdown" -
Trophy for Design

Hilde van Schaardenburg, "De bedreigde zwaan" -
Trophy for Art

Grietje van der Veen had a solo exhibition.

Grietje van der Veen, "Weeping Willow"

And DAMSS had a joint exhibition, as they usually work together:

DAMSS, series of portraits

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The Reps

Maggi Birchenough (UK)

I have always loved working with fabric and being able to change that fabric into something with thread and a needle, hand or machine. I began as an embroiderer when I was taught by my baby sitter. Although my mother used to sew clothes and knit she had little interest in anything more creative and left my stitching education to others. I don’t know if there is any sewing heritage from further back as I never knew my grandparents.
The embroidery was what actually led me to quilting as I discovered a quilt shop when I was visiting a local embroidery who back in the mid 80s. I was fascinated by the array of beautiful fabric, bought a book about quilt blocks and enough fabric to make a double bed quilt and that was that, I was on my quilting journey.
When I look back at that first quilt (I still have it and am still using it), I realise just how far I have come from those early days. Since then I have discovered dyeing, surface design and using my own photos to print directly onto fabric Using and manipulating my own photographs has always interested me and after taking an online class with Beth Wheeler back in 2008 my first venture into printing on fabric was accepted into the Sutton Hoo Exhibition in 2009.

Spring Promises

This was followed by my first entry into Festival of Quilts in 2009 being awarded a Judge’s Choice.

Parrot Tulip II

Recently I have been working in a far more abstract way and have been working on two series, one based on photographs of Belper Mill and the other on the spiral shape of roses. Rose #6 was entered into this year’s Festival of Quilts and achieved a Judge’s Choice award Wheels and Windows #8 was my entry into this year’s Quilt National - not successfully I might add.

Rose #6

For the first time this year I sent off pieces for the Anniversary Trunk Show, the Silent Auction and the Benefit Auction. My reward was having my Trunk Show piece being selected to become part of the permanent collection of the National Quilt Museum in PaducahKentucky

I really do believe that becoming a member of SAQA around five years ago has both inspired me and given me the confidence to move forward with my quilting. I have been volunteering for FOQ for the past 4 years, both stewarding and serving as a delivery point for the books and catalogues each year. By volunteering I have met many people from around the world. Offering to become corep when Elisabeth retires is my way of giving something back to SAQA for all that it has given to me over the years. I am looking forward to meeting many more of you and if anyone is going to the Fiberlandia conference in Portland next year, please stop me and say hello. If not then I’ll see you at Festival of Quilts 2015.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

SAQA get-together at OEQC in Veldhoven, Netherlands

Last Friday a few SAQA members gathered at the OEQC in Veldhoven and had dinner together.

from left to right:
newly signed up member Ruth, Ita, Shoshi, Grace, guest Elsy, guest Michelle, Heidi, Grietje, and Uta
Photo taken by supporting quilter Hans (Grace's husband of 50 years the night before - congratulations to the happy couple!)

Monday, October 27, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The United Kingdom

Sue Hotchkis

next to 'Pool'

I was born and raised in Hull but spent most of my adult life in Manchester. I had my first sewing machine at seven and haven’t stopped sewing since then. Due to my husband’s new job in 2007 we moved to Guernsey and for the same reason we may be moving to France in a couple of years. I have a degree in Embroidery from the Manchester Metropolitan University and also an MA in Textiles. In Manchester I taught Textiles on a foundation course and also ran an Access to Art course for adults. The move to Guernsey allowed me to give up working and provided the opportunity to focus on developing my own practice.

Drift - part of Wide Horizons IV

Blown - part of 'Metaphors on Aging'

The core theme of my work is texture and surface, strongly influenced by the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi.  I’m interested in the relationship between the natural elements and the man-made, such as that resulting from erosion and human use. I experiment with materials and use a variety of media, including photography, print and stitch. Working intuitively, responding to what develops, and reacting to accident and chance to create unique abstract wall hung pieces. I don’t consider myself solely as a quilter I prefer fibre artist if I have to have a name. Thankfully SAQA ‘s wide definition of an art quilt allows me to participate and I’m very grateful for that.

Fragment, detail

Griffonage, detail
The work is often pieced together with parts being added and removed until I'm happy with it. I often work on several pieces at one time moving from one to another each at different stages of development. The artwork evolves over time and can take anything from a week to several months.

Verdigris, detail

I have exhibited nationally and international and have undertaken private commissions.  Most recently my work was included in FiberArt International 2013, ArtQuilt Elements 2014, and Fantastic Fibers 2014 among others. Currently  I have work in ‘ From Lausanne to Beijing’  The 8th  International Fiber Art Biennale in China,  The World of Threads Festival in Canada and  in SAQA‘s ‘Metaphors on Ageing’ and ‘Wide Horizons IV’.
We travel quite a bit between the UK,  Guernsey and France and also fit in other holidays so making can be interrupted by this and so I often have bouts of intense sewing followed by not very much. I also love cats, chocolate and red wine. 
I’m on Twitter @SueHotchkis   I’ve also started on Instragram and Pinterest
I have a facebook artist page
See more of my work on my website

Friday, October 24, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The United Kingdom

Frieda Oxenham

My Life in Art.

I was born in The Netherlands but have now lived in the UK (including some years in Ireland) since 1979. I started quilting about 25 years ago now, when I signed up for a City and Guilds Embroidery course to keep me occupied after a house move to Scotland. Textile art very quickly became a lifelong obsession and I’m probably best know for my use of colour and my love of embellishments. 

Going around in circles

I am an award winning textile and mixed media artist whose work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Many of my quilts have won prizes including winning the Scottish Quilt Championship in 1998 and the European Quilt Championship in 2006 as well as several prizes in US Quilt Shows, two for the best Hand Workmanship. 

A Woman's Work

I have also entered the world of mixed media and my Artist Trading Card (ATC) Enduring, Unending won Best of Show in the House of Cards exhibition, Columbus, Ohio, 2005. I worked as a member of the Alpha Stamps Design Team for 4 years from 2007-2010. My art has been published in a wide variety of magazines and books both here in the U.K. and abroad. 


I'm improving as a photographer by uploading one picture every day to the Blipfoto site ( and my interest in graveyards has led me to start a separate blog about my local one in West Linton. In 2012 I successfully completed my self set task of making one Journal Quilt every week in the 52 Journals Project.  


They were exhibited in a very successful show in Peebles just recently. I'm a full-time studio artist. You can see all my art and some of my life on my blog:

Thread Tangle

(c) Frieda Oxenham

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Grand Gallery of Europe/Middle East's Contributions to the SAQA Benefit Auction 2014

Elisabeth Nacenta de la Croix (Switzerland)

In 2013 I  followed a Masterclass during one year and developed my selected theme "Water reflection".
I still have many different ideas related with this theme I want to express. "Lake Reflection" is one of them.
Living   by a lake  gives daily inspiration...

The background is fused appliqué as well as the reflections added at the end. 

"Water reflection"
This quilt will be up for auction in section 4 of the Benefit Auction, beginning on Oct. 27th  - directly at the IQF in Houston. Bidding procedure details for IQF see below.
Help support SAQA, and at the same time build your art quilt collection by bidding often!

IQF – Houston In-Person Bidding at the SAQA Booth
Oct 29
5pm - 10pm
Oct 30
10am - 7pm
Oct 31
10am - 7pm
Nov 1
10am - 7pm
Nov 2
10am - 4pm

In-person bidding winners may take their quilt immediately.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Grand Gallery of Europe/Middle East's Contributions to the SAQA Benefit Auction 2014 part

Monique Gilbert (B)

This is my auction piece for this year.  On top of my little quilt I laid some pieces of lace and different threads. Then I covered everything with multicolor tulle and did more quilting to secure. An orange Gingo leaf is appliquéd on top.

This quilt will be up for auction in section 4 of the Benefit Auction, beginning on Oct. 27th  - directly at the IQF in Houston. Bidding procedure details for IQF see below.
Help support SAQA, and at the same time build your art quilt collection by bidding often!

IQF – Houston In-Person Bidding at the SAQA Booth
Oct 29
5pm - 10pm
Oct 30
10am - 7pm
Oct 31
10am - 7pm
Nov 1
10am - 7pm
Nov 2
10am - 4pm
In-person bidding winners may take their quilt immediately.

Friday, October 17, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The United Kingdom

Sue Payne 

My interest in textile art began whilst studying ‘A’ Level art at school where I submitted a textile piece as part of my final examinations. Bringing up 2 daughters and a career in banking meant that I had to put my art to one side for a few years. I left work in the year 2000 and took a 4 year City and Guilds distant learning qualification in Embroidery and Design


I primarily use raw, natural fabrics – mainly cotton calico, though sometimes silk and other undyed cotton – which I dye, print or paint before adding hand stitch. Using mainly running stitch, I think of the needle as a paint brush – going where the inspiration takes me to give a ‘painterly’ effect.

Roofscape, in Wide Horizons IV

Skyscape I and II

These quilts are not wholly pre-planned and just evolve as I stitch. I find this a more exciting way in which to work  - as well as being very therapeutic – as the inspiration flows through to my needle. The lines and shapes emerge as I stitch onto the background and the work comes to life!
I also enjoy making more structured works which are designed in advance. I use pre-dyed fabrics and use discharge methods to remove the colour rather than add paint.


Here I use a combination of hand and machine stitch – by using a sewing machine, I obtain a more structured effect but although I feel a great deal of satisfaction in achieving the finished work. I have to admit that my first love is hand- stitch.
I am inspired by my surroundings and the natural landscape – obviously, living on an island, the sea plays an important part. The changing weather patterns and seasons also influence my work and will, I hope, give me inspiration for many years to come.

Coach house exhibition in Guernsey

I am a member of The Guernsey Contemporary Textile Artists – a group of 8 textile artists based in Guernsey. We are exhibiting in the Coach-house Gallery,  Guernsey until mid- November 2014. The exhibition is entitled ‘The Art of the Needle II’.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The United Kingdom

Gillian Cooper

I started out adulthood as an accountant, but after 10 years I discovered textiles at an evening class and knew I had found what I wanted to do with life.  I left the accountancy profession, went to Goldsmiths College, London to study textiles and 15 years, three kids and a move to rural Scotland later, here I am! 

I have been drawn to art quilts almost since the start of my textile career.  My own work is on the edge of art quilts and installations, but I have found SAQA to be very welcoming of all types of textile-based artwork.  At the moment, I am continuing to work on my series of figures based on ancient goddesses, called ‘Unsung Muses’.  I am fascinated by ancient goddess sculptures and how important they must have been to their creators and their societies, but now that meaning and importance is lost.  They become interesting objects to look at through glass cases in museums. 

Unsung muses, figures

People from the past lose definition and merge together. With the world changing so fast, it is difficult to understand someone from 50 years ago, let alone 4,000, particularly with the changing role of women. However, these people are our past, they are part of us; their lives led the way for us coming into being in our full 21st century understanding.

Takes these sculptures as a starting point of the simple human form, only just recognisable, obviously precious and old, my figures and related works are many things: an attempt to connect with our history; an exploration of the human shape; a search for the defining elements of being human.  Running alongside these thoughts is the idea of time passing, washing away the precision of memories with the waves of time.

This is one way of explaining what I do.  However, at another level, I just like to play with bits of fabric and thread, particularly pieces I have dyed, printed or coloured myself!

Facing the Past

Loops of Time


I have a website ( and have been blogging for a number of years at  I’ve also been dipping a toe into twitter, pinterest and instagram as @gilliantextiles

Thursday, October 9, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The United Kingdom

Linda Seward

I was born in New Jersey, but have lived in London for more than half my life. I have been doing needlework since I was about 5 years old (embroidery, needlepoint, knitting, crochet), and learned to sew clothing when I was 10 years old, but making quilts was not a family tradition, so I didn't start making quilts until I was in my 20's. I worked as the Needlework & Crafts Editor for Dover Books and edited books by all the well-known quilters of that time, which is how I learned to quilt. I had an instinctive affinity for quilting, and knew that once I started making quilts, I would no longer be interested in sewing my own clothes, and I was right. The joy of stitching fabrics together to create a design took over my life and I found I just didn't want to do anything else (although I do pick up my knitting needles and a crochet hook from time to time).

Mountains and Meadows

I began writing books in 1980. Most of my books are about quilting, but I have also written about crochet, knitting and babies. I have a new book on puppies coming out very soon. My latest quilt book came out in 2014 after a 3-year period of intensive work. Entitled The Ultimate Guide to Art Quilting, it is a step-by-step guide to all the new techniques in quilting that have developed since my earlier step-by-step book: The Complete Book of Patchwork, Quilting & Applique.

Poppy Fields at Sunset

I enjoy all forms of quilting, from traditional patchwork to raw edge applique to art quilts that feature dyeing, slashing, discharge and monoprinting. I enjoyed studying and trying out all the new techniques for my book, and am very grateful to the generous quilters who shared their expertise with me, either by teaching me one-on-one, or by reading and checking the pages for me.

Seward Beads

I make quilts for my own enjoyment. There is nothing I like better than settling down at my Bernina sewing machine or in a comfortable chair with friends and sewing. It frees my mind, makes me feel creative and relaxed, and I have something wonderful to show for all the time I have invested in it. There are some days in my life that go by in a flash and I wonder what I did with my time--with quilting there is a tangible result that is interesting to look at, possibly beautiful (at least to me!) and serves a purpose: either as something to hang on the wall or snuggle beneath.

Orange Leaves - detail
Orange Leaves