Saturday, October 04, 2008

NicQuiltz has moved!!

I have a wonderful new website & a new blog to go with it!!

I hope you'll click the link to find me there...

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Originally uploaded by nicquiltz

Last weekend I was invited by Illawarra Quilters to host a picnic in the Wollongong Botanic Gardens and talk about my inspirations and creative process. The weather was perfect and a nice group of ladies came along - we had a lovely day.

After sitting by the pond having a chat with a bit of show & tell from my sketchbooks, we wandered around the gardens till I found an interesting spot to sit & draw. Some of the non-drawers were a bit hesitant with their pencils, but eventually even those who claimed not to be able to draw a stick figure had a go. I firmly believe that the only way to get any better at drawing is to do more of it.

After lunch we set off again with cameras in hand to record some of the gorgeous specimens in the gardens - there was plenty to catch our eyes and imaginations. We went our seperate ways mid-afternoon (me with a slight case of sunburn) after spending a very pleasant day together,

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Originally uploaded by nicquiltz

Here is this month's virtual sketch date effort. I've been browsing my Georgia O'Keefe book lately, so I was inspired to get up close & personal with this amazing flower. I'm no Georgia O'Keefe, but I'm pretty happy with this attempt all the same.

Friday, September 26, 2008

At the gallery

At the gallery
Originally uploaded by nicquiltz

Yesterday Janine, Adam & I took the train to the AGNSW to check out the Dobell Drawing Prize among other exhibits. We had a fabulous day - the gallery has recently been rearranged (perhaps in anticipation of the new Cezanne's arrival) so we had a lovely time discovering and rediscovering artworks from the permanent collection. I was allowed to photograph the works in the Dobell exhibition, although many of them were under glass and very difficult to get a decent shot without reflections and glare. The Gino Palmieri drawing pictured above was impossible, as it was almost completely black. However it's a great shot of the three of us reflected in the glass, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


self portrait as fauvist
Originally uploaded by nicquiltz

Another self-portrait, this time in the fauvist style of pure wild colours and high contrast. I thought this one would suit the theme of the Self Portrait Challenge which I've joined.

Lots of people have commented, both on the blog and in person, that the self-portraits I've been doing are something of a contrast with me in real life in terms of the serious, even sombre expression I have painted. I find this very interesting and wonder whether it is entirely due to my inept painting skills, or if it is in some way that my vision of myself is not the same as what others see.

In either case, it is a conundrum I'm determined to find a solution to, which is why the SPC held such attraction for me. It will be interesting to see if I am able to capture a more happy mood.

Monday, September 22, 2008

One perfect day

mt pleasant lookout
Originally uploaded by nicquiltz

last month I stopped on the way to my class at Berry to take some snaps from the Mt Pleasant lookout on the Kiama bends. Sometimes we take our surroundings for granted, but lately I've been struck by the beauty of the places I live and drive through.

I'll be heading to Berry again this coming Sunday (the 28th September) to teach one of my favourite classes - the Touchstones workshop. There are still a few places available if any of you would care for a lovely Sunday drive through the countryside followed by a fun class in improvisational piecing and colour play. Call Elizabeth at Berry Patchwork (02) 4464 3387 for details.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

On the path to who knows where

Garden Steps
Originally uploaded by nicquiltz

anything might happen and everything is possible. I'm so excited by my artistic journey and the amazing changes I'm noticing in my work, in the way I see the world, in my very thoughts. I can't wait to see where my path leads next!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Spring has Sprung

Originally uploaded by nicquiltz

It is a beautiful day here in Wollongong today, which seemed appropriate for this post. I've just been for a walk around the Botanic Gardens in preparation for a lecture I'm doing for Illawarra Quilters later this month. It was just glorious - I hope we have such lovely weather on the day.

There is still time to join in with this series of Contemporary Techniques classes - I'm at the Quilter's Garden (Albion Park) on the 1st Saturday of each month and Patchwork Plus (Miranda) on the 2nd Saturday. Please get in touch if you feel inclined to join us for a fun class.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Originally uploaded by nicquiltz

This is our new niece who was born over the weekend in Queensland - isn't she a cutie? We're all looking forward to a trip north in the near future to meet her in person. Hmmm, I'd better get cracking on that baby quilt...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My week in pictures 31/8/08

Lots happening in the NicQuiltz world this week.  Check out these awesome clouds I snapped on the way out of the house one morning.

My nephew Cooper had his 4th birthday, so we had a family celebration Friday night...

I headed down to Nowra yesterday for the opening of the Meroogal Women's Art Prize - I was thrilled to have a piece in this prestigious local exhibition for the first time.

There was lots of client quilting too...

DSCF2104 by you.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ornamental Cabbage - August Virtual Sketch Date

Ornamental Cabbage, originally uploaded by nicquiltz.

I decided to join the fun on the Virtual Sketch Date blog after seeing some of the fabulous efforts from previous months. I began with a watercolour wash in soft grey blues for the ornamental cabbage, which was later torn up and collaged onto a soft watercolour background. Then I began to draw back into the collage with black and white charcoal pencils to achieve the tones and textures of the cabbage leaves. Some linear components were added to the background with coloured ink.

It was a fun exercise - I think I'll be back for another virtual sketch date next month.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Self Portrait, acrylic polymer paint on pattern board

I am captivated by portraiture lately, and self-portraits in particular are floating my boat right now.  It is a really fascinating process of analysis and introspection, and can provide amazing insight for the artist & the viewer alike as we tussle with the difference between what we see, what we want to see and what's going on behind the eyes.  

What do you think of this one I painted today?  I'll be interested to hear from those who know me (in real life) whether they think it's a decent likeness - the perception of others can be so different from how we see ourselves. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Life is short...

Pears #2 - Ink Pen & Wash

It is odd that I was only thinking this week about my time at my old job.  This morning I got a call from my distraught sister to say that my former boss, Michael Whetton, had passed away last night a few short weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.  We are very sad - this man gave all three of us (my dad, my sis & I) positions in his company, which in one way or another changed the course of each of our lives.  

My Dad began a new career with Freemans at the age of 49, a difficult thing to do in this society which values youth over wisdom.

I was offered a job at Freemans the following year, bringing me and my family back to Wollongong after nine years in Tamworth.  Within a short time I was Admin Manager and had many opportunities that wouldn't otherwise have come my way.  It is 5 years now since Michael sold his business and I left Freemans, but I stayed in touch through my family and occasional chance meetings.

In 1998 when Wollongong suffered from terrible storm damage and the insurance assessment business was under intense pressure, I asked my 17yo sister to come in and help out during the crisis.  Sarah slotted in like she was born to it, and within a year or so became indispensable as Michael's secretary/personal assistant/right hand.  Sar stayed in touch with Michael and continued to do his ironing each week (she likes to iron - bizarre) until 3 weeks ago.

Tonight (admittedly aided by a glass of red wine) my mind keeps going fondly back to those mornings in the office when I'd start early & bring the kids to work with me for an hour before school.  Michael delighted in ruining Adam's teacher's day by filling the 5yo boy with chocolate biscuits so he began the day on a sugar high :-)  

So tonight I'm saddened by the loss of this man, and reminded that life is short and fleeting - we must grab it with both hands and wring every precious morsel from each moment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Making Connections

Pears #1 - Pen & Ink Wash

Tonight I went to a committee meeting for the gallery I'm involved with, followed by dinner with my fellow committee members. I happened to mention that my son is about to start work experience at a local theatre and is interested in film-making.  I found out very quickly that one of my associates teaches digital media and another works for a film production company, and gained lots of insight and recommendations to pass on to Adam, as well as offers of work experience and mentoring opportunities.

It's amazing the connections you never expect to make.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A different perspective

Today is my Dad's birthday - we are having dinner with the family tonight at a local restaurant. I tend to talk about my Mum more than my Dad, probably because we spend more time together these days. But for several years Dad & I (and Sarah too) worked together at the same company. One of the things I enjoyed most about my time there was spending time with Dad in a non-family environment - you really have no choice but to have a grown-up relationship when you work together.

Dad and I don't always see eye to eye, in fact I think he often gets a kick out of disagreeing with me just for the lively discussion which inevitably follows. But I know I can rely on him to put things into perspective when it matters, and to help me see things from a different point of view.

Happy birthday Dad - I love you lots, even if I don't always show it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Winter Moon

This is the view from my front porch - early one chilly morning last month as I stood shivering in my pyjamas while I waited for the dogs.  I could see the pale winter moon through the bare branches as it set behind Mt Kembla, and the air was crisp and sharp as ice crystals.  The scene was so evocative of winter for me that I dashed inside & grabbed my camera.  

It was a pretty ordinary photograph (I was only just awake) but it inspired me to do this water colour as well as my winter image for my latest contemporary techniques series.  You just never know where or when inspiration will strike.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Unanticipated Joy

One of my favourite things about teaching is the absolute pleasure I get from seeing my students take my design concept, add their own life experience and personal aesthetic, and come up with a quilt that is truly their own.

Strata class work by Trish Copeland

Even though my classes are mostly technique-driven, students have the opportunity to bring something of themselves to the work.  It is fabulous to see them produce work which clearly expresses their own vision and taste.

Strata class work by Joan Murphy

Before I began teaching, I would never have guessed what joy it would bring me. 

Saturday, August 09, 2008

My week in pictures

Well, it's been another busy week in the NicQuiltz world.  I thought I'd give you a little photo essay of some highlights...

These are some of the books I used in my research presentation for Cultural Productions (aka Art History) class - some heavy reading there, both literally and figuratively speaking.

I did plenty of hours at the quilting machine, getting one rather large custom job off the waiting list.

I drove past this park several times this week on various errands, and have been enchanted by the romantic sight of the lights strung above the big top (sorry about the bad pic, I didn't have the tripod with me to take a decent low-light shot).

In better photography news, I had a portrait shown in the Wollongong City Gallery Portrait Prize - my first piece shown in a 'proper' gallery.

And lastly, some eye-candy of the stationery variety - I treated myself to this gorgeous diary from Kikki K today, plus a beautiful Lamy pen.  New lovely stationery is one of the truly Good Things in life.

There was plenty more including classes taught, excursions missed, sick children, sick me, school musicals and klutzy accidents - but you don't need to know about all that.  How was your week?

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Contemporary Techniques Series

My new series of Contemporary Techniques classes is starting this coming Saturday at The Quilters Garden at Albion Park.  This time we are making a larger wall hanging in four parts (employing the quilt-as-you-go technique) of the Four Seasons.  We will start with Winter (appropriate on a chilly day like today, don't you think?) and cover a wide variety of different surface design and embellishment techniques. 

There are a couple of places available in this class, so get in touch if you'd like to join us.  If you'd like me to visit your shop or guild, I'd love to hear from you too.  Email me at for more information.

Friday, July 25, 2008

In my Mailbox this week

arrived the latest issue of Australian Patchwork & Quilting (Vol 17 No 1) featuring my Frondescence quilt as a project on page 36.

A little further on (page 42)  is a Quilter's Profile on me!! 

They've done a lovely job and I'm very pleased with the way both the project and the profile look.  Thanks AP&Q!   You can find the magazine in Newsagent's now if you'd like to read all about me (blush ;-))).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Making Connections

"Nexus" Quilt Triptych 76 x 138cm

I've just finished this piece for the Meroogal Women's Art Prize - my artist's statement is copied below.

My response to the theme "Celebrating the everyday things women do" takes three parts - Nurture, Nourish and Nest.  Every day, we nurture our children and encourage their development; we nourish their bodies and minds; we build a nest, a warm, safe haven from the perils of the world at large.  In doing so, we form a nexus - a series of connections which bind our families to us.  These connections extend to the women who surround us - our sisters, mothers and friends - who make up networks of love and support, who give us strength.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Unexpected Pleasures

One of the courses I was required to take last semester was 2D Imaging for Artists.  I was not at all keen, as computer stuff just seemed too much like work to be fun in my art life, so I thought I'd just get through it and tick it off my list.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  

In addition to learning how to tweak photographs in Photoshop, I am now able to design my own business cards, exhibition invitations and such with a much more professional and confident approach.  And I must say that playing with digital photos is FUN.  We got to use the school's lovely digital SLR camera's (I soooo want one now) and then mess with the mundane images to create something far more exciting.

The image above is my final project for the course, called Reflection (clickable for a larger image).  My results arrived in yesterday's mail, and I was pleasantly surprised to get a Distinction - pretty good for a course I only intended to turn up for and never thought I'd enjoy.  You never know when life is going to serve you up one of those unexpected pleasures.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New Class Sample

At last - some new work to show you!  I've just finished this latest class sample for a new one-day workshop I'm calling Constructions (for want of a more catchy title).  Participants will learn three different improvisational piecing techniques, hopefully giving them a jumping-off point to start making their own contemporary or art quilts.  Fast learners & over-achievers will also make a start on some fun free-motion quilting.

I've been quilting up a storm over the past few days at home, as well as doing some class development work & fighting off a cold (ick).  Tomorrow I'm off to Sydney to present my quilts at the NSW Quilters Guild's Friday Showcase - maybe I'll see you there!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Outback at Dusk

Photograph courtesy of Bard Haerland

My second quilt in the Sydney Quilt Show was another in the Touchstones series, this time #3 - Outback at Dusk (named by DH Rob for the colour scheme).  This piece was commissioned by Janome Australia and made entirely on my lovely Janome 6600P sewing machine.  

It won third place in the Art Quilt category (big embarrassing happy dance from me!!!) and features gorgeous hand-dyed fabrics from Dyed & Gone to Heaven, miles of free-motion quilting & bobbin embroidery.

Check out the other prize-winning quilts at The Quilters Guild of NSW website.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just when you all thought I was gone for good....

Photo Courtesy of Bard Haerland

I'm back!!!  I can't believe that it has been more than three months since I posted a message on this blog - time just flies by, doesn't it?  There are no real excuses for staying away so long, only my crazy life.  I'll make an effort to bring any of you who are still bothering to check in up to date with all that's been happening  - 2008 is turning out to be a really big amazing year in the NicQuiltz world.  Here's a little taste of some of the excitement...

I think I've posted a picture of my quilt (Touchstones #2 - Gingko Garden) before.  You may notice something new about it, though - a lovely ribbon from the 2008 Sydney Quilt Show.  I was thoroughly gobsmacked to be awarded the Down Under Quilts special prize for Best Use of Colour - wow, what a thrill!!!

I won't bore you with a long and tedious post listing all of my happenings - I'll break it down into smaller chunks and tease you with a little bit at a time.  Make sure you check back again soon!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Brown Eyed Girl

For last night's sketching session, I drew Emma using one of my favourite combo's - watercolour & ink. I'm very happy with this, although it is a somewhat distorted likeness. I can't help myself - when it comes to Em, it's all about the eyes.

No drawing tonight - I have a review still to write about last week's guest lecture (artist David Fairbairn) and I dare not leave it any longer or I'm going to fall behind. Tomorrow we're off to the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman exhibitions at AGNSW.
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Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm still here...

hope you are too! I've been struggling a bit of late with my workload, and this blog has obviously been put on the backburner. Then yesterday I got some news which threw me, and made me think, and do some self-assessment. My workload is all stuff I've asked for, wished for, worked for and hoped for. So I need to quit bitching about it and just get on with it.

Off to class now - above is picture of me in 2D imaging class, playing with the Photobooth program on the cool Apple computers they have - lots of fun!!
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Thursday, March 13, 2008


Adam had his 16th birthday this week - makes me feel about 105!!
We have been having nightly sketching sessions - Adam wants to improve his drawing skills, and I'm always happy to have some extra drawing practice. We draw eachother with different media - tonight it was coloured pencil and we changed colour randomly every few minutes.
I've been very busy with Art School and a multitude of other deadlines - I promise to resume regular blogging as soon as I am able.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Touchstones Classes

I've been too busy to blog in the past couple of weeks, gearing up for the new year of classes which are about to begin. For any of you who may be interested, Touchstones will be my first class to kick off at The Quilters Garden in Albion Park this Saturday and then at Patchwork Plus Miranda next Saturday. This will be a great fun class learning my style of improvisational strip piecing and colour blending. The quilt is made from 20 fat quarters plus a half metre of feature fabric (we will also learn how to print your own feature panels if you can't find just the right thing in the shops).
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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Quilter at Work

I put in a 12hr+ day at the quilting machine today, so I'm feeling tired but virtuous. It's good to get through some of the work that's waiting in the studio - each finished quilt makes me feel lighter. I've been making lists of all the projects I want to tackle this year, and I have a sneaking suspicion that 2008 is already accounted for - how can that be? We're only three days in...
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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Summer Roses

Late this afternoon I noticed that my rose bushes were heavy with gorgeously imperfect full-blown blooms, so I grabbed the secateurs and cut some to bring inside (something I rarely think to do). I tried to capture them with watercolours this evening.

I did not make any New Year's resolutions - they seem to be an exercise in setting oneself up for failure, and I don't need to do that to myself. However, I did set out to begin the year in the manner I intend to continue - along with all my usual hard work and creative and family commitments, I am making time to draw every day (even if it's only a few minutes).
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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!!

I hope you all had a happy and safe New Year's Eve - I did, though the new year has welcomed me with a yucky cold/flu today which I could do without.

Today is also our little dog Ruby's birthday - at the mature age of two you would think she may have started to lose her "puppyness" but no, she's as mad (and cute) as ever. I decided to do a little sketch of her in honour of the occasion (also because I haven't allowed myself much time for drawing lately and I don't want to get too rusty). She was posing nicely on the rug, but as soon as I sat down with my pencil, Ruby insisted on curling up on my lap so I had to draw her from that odd position. All those fluffy curls were a bit of a challenge, and it's not easy to draw a white dog, but I think it turned out OK.

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