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! 

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading about your background Mags. The pieces that you have chosen to showcase are lovely and so identifiably yours.