I am a painter, printmaker and designer of textiles. I own a small fabric company called Cloth that I set up almost 25 years ago, because it made sense at the time and still does now.
I live in NSW's Blue Mountains on Gundungurra and Darug land, where I work with a small team of people who love what they do, making textiles by hand, the old fashioned way.
I collaborate with others for the joy of making something together that we couldn’t make alone.
The pandemic has meant I've had to pivot from running my imperfect workshops, to creating a collaborative ephemeral art project that I'd love you to join.
I take commissions and I exhibit. My favourite place to be is working in my studio.
I’ve written a book and a manifesto to live by.
I live a simple life. It feels good.
It wasn’t long after I came to Australia that I started a business designing and hand-printing fabric. I wanted to make contemporary and natural fabric for people's homes, and I wanted to make it locally and sustainably. For me, continuing the tradition of hand-printed flatbed fabric production is more important than ever, in this increasingly digital world.
I started Cloth almost 25 years ago. Today my designs continue to be inspired by the Australian landscape and printed in small batches by hand in a tin shed in regional NSW.
In this crazy year, we are still in the process of renovating the ClothFabric site, to showcase my process and philosophy, over 25 years of designs and inspiration.
Fabrics are all online or in by appointment in my studio and workshop in Blackheath, NSW. We do take special orders at a minimum of 5 metres.
If you want to buy fabric by the metre, end rolls or short pieces or request a swatch, head to our ClothFabricShop website.
The work I make is inspired by the materials I use and the environment I'm in. The land, the sea, the plants and animals around me.
My art practice is where my textile designs begin, but the art I make is also very much its own thing.
Every art work I make begins with being curious, really looking, and then drawing loosely and a bit intuitively.
The aim is always to enjoy the experience of flow, and keep the work simple, and full of the pleasures of layering, colours and shapes.
Right now I'm in a show at Manly Art Gallery in partnership with Quarantine Station. The exhibition is called History Repeats, and it explores the similarities and differences in the quarantine experience back in the day and now in the COVID pandemic of 2020. Using a range of materials and techniques, I've made works that point to the rules and signs that we need to follow, the surveillance and inequity in the spaces we inhabit, and still lives of the things we turn to for safety and comfort in the Groundhog Days of lockdown. There's 40 artworks - one for each day of the traditional quarantine period.
Click on the link below to see or buy the work.
You can now purchase artworks here on my website by going to my Stock Room.
It's a bit like visiting my studio when it's just been tidied up. Some of the works are early pieces I've held onto for a long time, and some I've made quite recently.
You can browse through ready to hang artworks like my hand printed and stitched SweetSpot Loops, my hand-etched and painted Small Birds of Blackheath, ScrapWood artworks paited on found bits of wood. This is also where you'll find my multiprints hand printed on fabric, just waiting for you to decide whether to stretch them over a frame to make an artwork, or maybe stitch them into a cushion or use them as a panel for a skirt.
When it's hard to paint the clouds, we draw the mountains.
- The Imperfect Manifesto -
Making things makes me feel good, and making things out of the scraps that most people turf out to landfill makes me feel even better.
I save all my scraps, organise them into colour groups and curate ScrapCloth bundles of loveliness. These are ready to make into curtains or lampshades or cushions or anything else I can think of.
Since COVID-19 hit, ScrapCloth has become even more popular. It's calming and grounding to take some time to make something with your own hands. ScrapCloth bundles can be used along with other fabrics - like old pairs of jeans or existing curtains - to make something with good old-fashioned slow stitching. It's a lovely relaxing thing to do and something of a lost art.
The Imperfect Manifesto
It was a warm spring afternoon when we wrote this. Sitting around in our backyard with a glass of wine, we were talking about what mattered to us, what we felt about life. What began as a bit of picnic philosophy became a set of guiding principles. For me, these are words to live by.
The pandemic has pretty much put the mockers on my imperfect workshops for 2020, which is a real shame, but necessary.
LookDrawPrint, EveryoneCanDraw and the SweetSpot workshops were all hands-on experiences for the creatively curious, where I taught how to embrace chance and imperfection and focus on process.
I'm hoping to run some workshops in the second half of next year, but in the meantime, I've developed an alternative that works on the same principles. It's an impermanent art practice and it's for everyone. And it's free....
Every Seven Days is an impermanent art practice for everyone, designed to enhance our mental health, reduce stress, boost creativity and cognitive function, and strengthen our sense of connection with nature and community.
You don't have to be an artist or have any tech expertise to be involved. We've made a website totally dedicated to this project, where you can see the easy-to-follow guidelines, find out about this week's theme and read about the science behind it all. Everyone taking part posts an image of their weekly ephemeral artwork on Instagram, using the hashtag #everysevendays2020.
See what people all around the world are making every seven days.
Making things makes us feel good.
- The Imperfect Manifesto -
This is my first ever book.
It’s about my creative process over twenty years of designing and making ClothFabric. It's a labour of love that I worked on with a group of lovely and talented people.
ClothBound tracks the development of my work all the way from first images and notes made in my sketch books through to resolved designs and collections. In the book I tell those stories, champion the imperfect and offer up a modest philosophy of sorts. This is heart and soul of Cloth in 240ish pages, and I'm quite proud of it.
I enjoy collaborating with other artists and makers. Just lately I've been working with Blackheath artist Simon Reece on a series of ceramic pieces inspired by the Arthur Streeton exhibition at AGNSW. Clay cups and bowls and small plaques to hang on your wall, thrown and turned by Simon and painted by me to reflect the sea, the land and the plants of Australia. Only available from the Art Gallery of NSW.
Now that I don't have a permanent shop any more, I look forward to meeting my customers at one of our pop-ups.
We were planning to have one before Christmas, but the reality of 2020 means it's not to be.
If you want to be kept in the loop about future pop-ups and other events, subscribe to my mailing list and follow me on Instagram.
I live in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains on the Rough Track on 29 acres above the Grand Canyon. It's a place that inspires me every day.
I love sharing the experience with students in my onsite and residential workshops, anyone who comes to see a show in Rough Track Gallery, and guests staying in our two ironstone cabins.
If you'd like a retreat on the Rough Track, click on the link below to see the cabins website and make a booking.
When you get right down to it, the essential thing is to do what you do with your whole heart.
- The Imperfect Manifesto -
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Acknowledgement of Country
We acknowledge the Dharug and Gundungurra people, the Traditional Owners of the land where we live and work.
We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community.
We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.