Saturday, October 4, 2014

This is SAQA Europe/Middle East: The United Kingdom

Olga Norris

I stitch without a frame and without a thimble.

I now live in Southern England, but I have always felt like a full European.  With a Scottish father and a Greek mother I used to travel by train from one country to the other every year from 1949 until the late 60s.  As a daughter, and a Greek girl I was involved with stitching from a very young age, but it did not become a serious pursuit until I retired from my career in publishing.
In the early 80s I lived for a couple of years in New Hampshire, USA, and it was there that I first encountered art quilts, but it was the combination of using IT with hand stitching which really got me going as a full time stitcher in this new century.

Using the computer is a vital component of my work.

My quilts are not really derived from traditional patchwork.  They are images which I have collaged digitally, then printed onto cloth, and then hand stitched.  I make more small pieces than large quilts, but I usually have a large piece in progress while being distracted by small designs.
The work reflects my emotions and expresses what is occupying my thoughts at the time – or what was in my mind when I developed the design.  The big work can take some years to complete, and that is why I make lots of small pieces.

Curiosity (2012, 185 x 125 cm)

The stitches I use tend to be either running or seed stitch, both of which I find to be expressive.  I use mostly cotton for the quilts, but I also use silk which I find interestingly versatile.  With heat transfer the silk becomes stiffly translucent, making a beautiful top layer as in the quilt Flow below.

Flow (2012, 104 x 81 cm)

Flow (detail)

Over the past couple of years I have been involved with traditional printmaking, which I use as a starting point for new work.  The smaller piece below was derived from a monoprint.

Reach out (2013, 28.5 x 55.5 cm)

On my blog I write about what I’m up to:

And to see more of my work visit my website:


  1. And now after following your blog for years, I know what you look like!
    I am interested in the tool (tablet?) you are using in the photo of you at the computer. I want to do a few things more using a photo programme, but get frustrated with the mouse even though it is wireless.

  2. Sandy, graphic pads are widely available, and I find mine such a boon. It is just like using a pencil or a fine paint brush, and I have been drawing with this using the Corel Painter program for many years now.
    I have had my main graphic pad along with my ergonomic keyboard since the last century, but I bought a pad with stylus for my laptop more recently from PC World - a Bamboo product. I use a PC, not an Apple computer, so I don't know about attachments for the latter.

  3. I really like the depth that you achieve in your work and the hand stitching creates such wonderful texture. Congratulations on being juried into QN