Friday, 30 July 2010

Suzy Quaife - Fibre Artist & Studio Tour

In todays 'Inspired By...' I have a wonderful interview with fabric & fibre artist - Suzy Quaife with full pictures of some of her beautiful quilts and amazing studio space and also interesting answers to what inspires her, how she creates each individually crafted piece and also her other favourite artists & bloggers!

Suzy currently lives on the far south coast of Australia at Millingandi,
New South Wales. She lives with with her partner of nearly 30 years on 8 gorgeous acres on Millingandi Creek only abut 3Kilometres from the sea but surrounded by pasture and dense bush. They also have an extensive flower garden with roses, lilies, cottage plants, salvias and fruit trees

So Suzy, What is your background as a fabric/fibre artist?

I actually have no formal training in the current work I do – I am what you call “self taught”.  My training is as a Naturopath/Homoeopath where I have practiced for the past 24 years but now am retiring into my new role as a Fabric and Fibre Artist.  I have always played with fabric and fibres through dressmaking, spinning, weaving and dyeing wool but it has been my love of crazy patchwork  over  the last 12 years that has led me to expand my ideas in a much more experimental  way with fabric and fibres.  I just adore rich and exotic fabrics and textures (especially from the East) and these are what I use as my main medium (along with dyed doilies, laces, trims, beads, etc.)

When did you begin blogging and do you feel it has helped your practice at all?

I have been blogging only for the past 5 months and it has opened up a world of meeting other exciting artists as well as being exposed to new and innovative ideas through conversation and videos etc.

Could you tell us abit about your work, what techniques you use and how you created the two pieces as featured above?

My work these days as I mentioned is always experimental and ever changing and now I am moving away from larger quilts to smaller items , e.g. wall hangings, collages, fibre art cards, purses, etc. As well as machine quilting I try to incorporate more hand stitching (see my current wall hanging – Dreaming of Dragonflies) and where possible I like to incorporate embellishments made on my felting machine using especially the mohair from our Angora goats as well as silk and soy rovings.
In fact, the purses shown here are made in the crazy patchwork style using the dyed mohair as embellishment along with silk yarn, dyed doilies, silks and rich velvets.
In the pink and maroon rose quilt I used a lot of soft pink dupion silk, varying shades of pink satins – new and old, maroon lace and the large bold roses I appliquéd from furnishing fabric.  The quilting is both machine and hand done.  The design of this crazy quilt is completely my own.

Once again, to me, there are never ending ways of using crazy quilting and I have applied this technique even to little needle books which have then been appliquéd, quilted, beaded, trimmed in layers upon layers.  The collage effect is what is so creative to me.

So what inspires your work?

I draw my inspiration from many things – it might be:
                A piece of gorgeous old fabric, old cotton handmade lace, a precious given silk scarf,
                A piece of vintage Indian braid, vintage textiles from Rajasthan, an exotic cushion cover.
         The numerous roses in our garden.  I only have to look out of my workroom for that.
         Some gorgeous old tin or brassware
                  A beautiful Pre-Raphaelite painting from the 1800s

    Some hand dyed silk from the rose petals or geranium flowers which I have picked
Photos from Suzy's beautiful flower garden.

Do you have any other favourite artists or bloggers you gain inspiration from?
Pre-raphaelite artists e.g. Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones. Others include; Crazy Quilter – Judith Baker Montano, also Magnolia Pearl – clothes designer of old velvets, brocades and lace, also Kaffe Fassett, the many artists of the Quilting Arts Magazine.
Bloggers inc. Carol Walker, Cecile Meraglia, Solange, Fibre Arts, Mixed Media Blog, India Flint

Can you give us the link to your online shop where people can purchase some of your beautiful pieces?
My work is available to buy on line Through Etsy –

& Finally, your studio space! What is it like?
I have my own studio/work space- it is a large room in our home with gorgeous view to the garden with climbing roses running along the verandas edge.

It has wall-to-wall shelving almost filled with stacks of fabric.  Shelving also for books, boxes of braids, trims, cottons and special threads, like floss, also boxes of special silks, boxes for pelons, cupboard full of wadding for quilts, a dresser with knitting yarn and thread used in fibre work plus stacks of quilting art magazines and other quilting magazines, containers of beads, glass jars full of ribbons, lace bits, motifs and dyed lace not to mention my CD collection which keeps the motivation moving along.  Full of light and inspiration – friends call it a shop!

I'd like to thank Suzy for taking time to answer my questions and for sharing her work and pictures of her stunning studio space with me! She is an inspirational fibre artist I hope you enjoyed this interview.

To follow Suzy's blog and see more of her beautiful work you can click here


  1. I regularly follow Suzy's blog, as she is profoundly inspirational with her presentations of color and texture. It is like eating sensual desserts to view her creations.

  2. Judy you are the kindest commenter (?) I have yet to meet. It is the people like you who fill me with inspiration to continue!
    I am sending you a bunch of roses from my heart!

  3. i have recently 'met' suzy in blogland and and know from our few communications, that the beauty of her handwork reflects the layered patches of beauty from her deep heart.
    what a wonderful interview and tribute to her!
    glad to meet you too!!