The intent behind my work is to take traditional quilting and textile techniques and transfer them for use in the paper arts and collage. I call it “Quilting with Paper.”
I’ve been a quilter for over 20 years and have always been drawn to vintage patterned fabric, structured design and most importantly – colour.
I discovered Japanese chiyogami paper on a trip to Toronto about 15 years ago. The patterns, the colours and the quality of the paper made me immediately smitten. What I didn’t recognize at the time was how similar they were to quilting fabrics!
I’d been playing with collage and mixed media for about 10 years and I started incorporating the chiyogami papers into my work. Through a slow evolution I developed a style all my own.
In my early experiments with the medium I would glue an entire sheet of chiyogami paper to a thick mount board then cut it into ½” wide strips. From there I’d rearrange them into striped and checkerboard patterns, then glue them to a canvas or wood panel. The final step was choosing a black and white image of a vintage bookplate image of a bird or butterfly, then add some ephemera and gold pen edging to finish it off.
My process evolved as I started researching traditional quilting piecework patterns, such as Log Cabin, Pinwheel and Hexagon. I made templates and started doing piecework patterns with the chiyogami paper. It’s a lot of very meticulous cutting and pasting (and I mean old school with scissors and glue) but the fun of it for me is choosing colours and patterns to create something fresh and new.
Mixing the old with the new is another thing that inspires me. I’m an avid collector of vintage postcards, old books and sheet music (the older the better- oxidized yellowed pages with different kinds of typeface is what excites me!)
I found an accordion postcard from 1938 of “20 views of Stanley Park” when I was in New York and I had the idea to mesh these nostalgic relics of days gone by with the beautiful chiyogami papers. I now incorporate the postcards and deconstructed book pages into my cards and collages and have made them into magnets, coasters and tea towels.