This has been quite a difficult assignment for me. My life story is miles too long and I don’t feel like boring everyone to tears. So I will abbreviate it into what may be interestingto some degree.
My first six years were lived in war torn The Hague, how my parents coped I stand in awe of. I didn’t enjoy the handcraft lessons in embroidery at school as they were after school and I wanted to play outside. The teachermade me do stem stitch over and over again till I was wild with frustration. My mother would not let me use her Singer hand wheeled sewing machine because it would not work for her after I used it. BUT I did discover cross stitch and loved that. I still have the first picture I completed at the age of eleven. Just after my thirteenth birthday we migrated to Australia in a dreadful old ship the “Skaubryn”. One of my older brothers had settled in Australia and persuaded my parents , then forty-six and forty-eight to come over with four of our six siblings. He had organised accommodation and employementfor my parents. We were settled on a sheep station , “Anlaby” the oldest merino stud in South Australia.
I fell in love with the overseer the first month we were there( precocious wretch that I was…)He taught me to ride a stock horse and shoot rabbits which were in large numbers. I would shoot and skin them, bowing the skins to dry and send off to the skin buyer in Adealide. My schooling was at Eudunda Area school and Kapunda High school but because 1956 was a wet year I was unable half the time to cross flooded creeks and was stranded one afternoon because the river Light was running a banker. A kind farming family gave me a bed for the night.
After my schooling I got a job at the Waite Institute as a lab technician in the CSIRO Division of soils . So analised soils for three years till the Anlaby over seerasked me to marry him. I was just twenty one by then and he was forty nine. We adored each other and went to manage a sheep property called Hughes Park. We had two sons and by the time my youngest son was in primary school I decided I wanted to do something other than be the spare station hand all the time. So I started Spinning the Merino wool we produced and knit jumpers at the start of 1967. It was the start of the Craft era. I also learned inkle weaving and had a 4 shaft loom for a while.
At Easter 1980 our youngest son was killed on his motor bike and to cope with the grieving process I took on machine knitting at Victor Harbour where TAFE ran a course. When I was shown knit-weaving I was thrilled because I could use my hand spun , hand dyed yarns. I used to win a few prizes in local shows and got a second in the big Melbourne Sheep and Wool show. We were living at Back valley then. We moved to Inman Valley and I was producing interesting jackets of knit woven fabric edged with inkle bands. In 1986 I was widowed and fell in a big , black hole.
I managed to buy a cottage near Hughes Park just before the stock market crash, and my eldest son who was in the Adelaide Mounted Police used to come up for weekends. But I was at a loss and it took some years in which I did no handwork, to recover my equilibrium. I sold my cottage and
re married in 1991 and moved to a house just outside of Willunga. I reconnected with friends from the country who had moved down to live at Port Willunga. We started a craft group and we still meet once a fortnight in each others homes. Meanwhile I attended a half a dozen Geelong Fibre Forums and started to do more creative ideasstill using my machine knitting but using bits and pieces in collages. I do enjoy collages and painting on bondaweband seeing what comes out when ironed onto cloth.
Last year I held a SALA event in my studio which had originally been a shed and a good friend converted it into the studio it is now. Three other artist were with me in this venture. I will continue with the mini quilts which I make into booklets for the present moment .
We are planning anotherSALA event this year, which are held all over the State during the month of August.