The who, what , why, where and when..........
I call myself a dyer and quiltmaker, rather than plain quilter or perhaps art quilter or even quilt artist, because it is the actual making, the craft and the handling of the cloth that gives me such immense pleasure.
I have no formal training in art, but I once received a medal from the Swedish Academy of Music (I was a cellist then), and I have a PhD in plant sciences from the University of Nottingham in the UK. Certainly not a conventional training in the visual arts, but extremely useful, as both disciplines really open ones mind to the importance of pattern, line, rhythm and balance.
I make two types of quilted items: some are made from cloth I dye myself and assemble and piece quite freely, and I also make more traditional quilts which I piece together from commercial or found or vintage fabrics. My collection of found and inherited cloth is growing alarmingly! Old linen sheeting and damask are especially beautiful to work with.
As my first name implies, I come from a Swedish family, but I have lived in the UK for a very long time. I have always sewn, as we all did in my family - stitched, knitted, and wove - and I can't any longer recall when I made my first patchwork piece. I now sew and work with textiles most days, simply because I can't think of anything else I would rather do. Long before anyone else in the house wakes up, I am usually at work in my sewing room. These quiet early morning hours are incredibly important for me, for without them I can't see I would ever get anything creative done.
I am not one of the lucky ones with a large studio with plenty of wall space, so no design wall where I live. I simply use a bedroom as my sewing room, and with three+ sewing machines, irons and other paraphernalia, my workspace is cramped and often chaotic. Since I love working in a large format - most of my quilts are bed size - I just spread out into other parts of the house, as and when I need to.
We have a brick shed in the garden, right below a huge old oak tree, and that is where I do my dyeing, well away from any food stuff. Again, this is also a shared space, but it seems to work fairly well (running water and a fridge for dye stuff), in spite of me having to carry all waste water across the garden back to the house.
I find it really difficult to be specific when people, who see my work, ask what it is that inspires me, and where do I get my ideas from. I suppose trees and landscapes are important influences, even if I don't do pictorial pieces as such. And I find people and the dynamics of relationships endlessly fascinating. But mostly it is the cloth itself that drives what finally emerges from my work room - it is the infinite variety of patterns, textures, lustre and drape that invite me to explore and compose. As far as ideas go, there are more of those queing up in my head than I will ever have time to deal with. Life is finite.
The quilted picture here is a fair representation of me,
originally drawn as a single line portrait by my son Martin.
Grandchildren confirm it looks just like Granny.